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Streaming Music Revenue Surpasses CD Sales Revenue for First Time Ever in 2014


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Who said there’s no money in music streaming?

Metal Insider tells us that the RIAA just released their report for music revenue in 2014, and that report has some revelatory news: streaming income has now surpassed CD sales in total revenue, with the industry paying out $1.87 billion in streaming revenue vs. $1.85 billion generated in CD sales. Further, paid subscriptions to streaming services have more than tripled in the U.S. since 2011, growing 26% since 2013 to a total of 7.7 million subscribers.

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A couple of asterisks worth noting:

1) “Streaming revenue” doesn’t only mean streaming services like Spotify, but also includes revenue paid out by digital streaming platforms like satellite radio, internet radio, TV music channels, etc. Still, streaming services are way up (as noted above), as is the streaming revenue sector as a whole.

2) Physical media still generates more revenue than total streaming revenue, even though streaming has eclipsed CD sales. Vinyl, singles, DVD audio, music videos, etc, make up the rest of the physical sector.

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Elsewhere, digital downloads continued their downward trend, dropping 8.7% from 2013, and total industry revenue was down too, although just one-half of a percentage point.

What’s the takeaway here? We can only expect these trends to continue. If you’re still railing against streaming as the culprit of a failing industry… what are you doing?? Get on board. There’s clearly real money to be made.

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