Recorded Music Revenue Survived 2020

2020 wasn’t fun for anyone, the music world included. That said, the Year-End 2020 RIAA Revenue Statistics are out, and the news isn’t so bad for recorded music revenues. While live music suffered in the extreme last year, recorded music revenues in the U.S. grew 9.2% to $12.15 billion worth of estimated retail value. That makes 2020 the 5th consecutive year of growth for the industry. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

What were the growth areas in 2020?

  • Digital distribution continued to grow, making up 90% of shipments in 2020
  • Streaming revenue increased 13.4% in 2020, while digital downloads tumbled 18%
  • The most valuable growth segment was paid streaming subscriptions, up in number by 25% and up in revenue by 14.6%

What’s up with physical media?

  • Physical media continue to decline in the mass consumer market, shipping 17.4% fewer units in 2020, and a 0.5% dip in revenue. Physical media made up just 9% of total revenues in 2020
  • Vinyl is a bright spot in a small segment, now comprising the majority of physical media revenue for the first time since 1986. Vinyl shipped 23.6% more units in 2020, for revenue growth of about 29%

In 2021, as the music industry tries to heal from the loss of live performance revenue, hopefully we can see this growth in consumer demand and resulting revenue as a cause for hope. People love music, and they are increasingly willing to pay for access to great records. You can check out the full report here.