Music Sales Flat in 2014

The US retail music business was essentially flat in 2014 as increased streaming revenue helped offset the continued decline of CD sales, according to a report released this week by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As sales of digital downloads and streaming revenue continue to climb, the balance between physical and digital music sales is shifting, as physical shipments only accounted for 32 percent of all music revenue last year, down from 35 percent in 2013. Permanent digital downloads accounted for 37 percent of music sales last year, while streaming revenue accounted for 27 percent, up from just 21 percent in 2013.

While CD sales continue to slide, they still make up the bulk of physical sales of music, though other mediums are gaining. Last year, CD sales accounted for $1.85 billion of total music revenue, representing a 12.7 percent decline from the previous year. Vinyl continues to surge in popularity, meanwhile, with sales totaling $315 million in 2014. That’s an increase of 49 percent over 2013’s LP sales. As for digital music services, the numbers were up across the board last year. Revenue from paid streaming subscription services surged 25 percent to $799 million, while revenue from ad-supported streaming services grew 34 percent to $295 million. Revenue from Internet radio services like Pandora and SiriusXM also increased, jumping 31 percent to $773 million.