U.S. Music Industry - Statistics & Facts

As form of art and cultural activity, music is a major part of the daily life of many people. The demand for music consumption has created a billion-dollar global music industry, which encompasses music production and distribution, major record companies – Warner Chappell, Universal, and Sony/ATV being the largest music publishers in the world – live concerts, along with other music-related activities. In the U.S., the music industry was estimated to generate about 17.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Forecasts show a slight growth in the coming years; by 2021, it is expected that the music industry revenue in the U.S. will total over 22.6 billion U.S. dollars. In the last few years, LP/vinyl albums saw an unprecedented rise in popularity in the U.S., as sales of LPs grew about 10 percent from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, sales of other music formats – albums, digital albums, CD and digital track sales – have been constantly declining since 2012.


This is only one of the ways music consumption has changed in the United States. Single and album downloads, which were the preferred types of digital music in the U.S. up until 2012, are slowly being replaced by subscription and streaming services. In 2016, subscription and streaming services generated more than quadruple the revenue of sales of single downloads. Forecasts show that streaming is expected to take over the market, as digital music revenue from streaming in the U.S. is projected to increase from about 2.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to more than 5.1 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. During the same period, digital music revenue from downloads is estimated to decline from 1.8 billion U.S. dollars to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars. Along with streaming services, online radio is gaining popularity in the U.S., as Americans spent an average of 879 minutes weekly listening to online radio in 2017. Pandora and iHeartRadio are two examples of online radios among the leading online music services in the United States.

Aside from listening to music on streaming services, many Americans also enjoy live performances by their favorite musicians. About 33 percent of Americans stated that they had attended a music festival in 2016, while 59 percent said they watched a live concert with a main headliner during 2016. That year, between sponsorship and ticket sales, the live music industry in the U.S. amassed over 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in revenues. Forecasts for this market are optimistic, as revenue from both sources is projected to increase in the coming years. In 2016, country music star, Luke Bryan, had the most successful music tour in North America, with more than 1.42 million tickets sold.

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