Vinyl Could Outsell CDs in 2019
The Recording Industry Association of America’s numbers from 2018 showed big gains for streaming and vinyl sales and a steep dropoff in paid digital downloads and CD sales, and those trends are continuing so far in 2019.
According to the RIAA’s mid-year report, 8.6 million vinyl records made their way into consumers’ hands in the first half of 2019, totaling $224.1 million and accounting for 4% of overall revenue. CDs, meanwhile, shifted 18.6 million units to bring in $247.9 million. While the quantity of CDs sold will still beat out vinyl due to their lower price and higher availability, vinyl is likely to outsell CDs in total revenue by year’s end if current trends hold, the first time that will have happened since 1986. Cassette tapes have seen a boost too, jumping from 99,400 units sold in 2017 to 118,200 in 2018, still just a blip on the overall revenue radar.
Meanwhile, streaming revenue grew 26% in the first half of 2019 to $4.3 billion, $3.3 billion of which is from paid subscriptions. Paid subscriptions alone accounted for 62% of overall industry revenue from recorded music. Digital downloads continued to drop, down 18% year over year.
Overall industry growth trends are expected to continue in 2019 as well. Total revenue reached $9.8 billion in 2018, compared to the $8.8 billion generated in 2017.
Read the RIAA’s full mid-year report here.