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Appeared on: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Streaming Music Outsells Physical Media: RIAA

Revenues from streaming music services surpassed that of sales of physical media for the first time ever in 2015, according to data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

RIAA's mid-year report (2015) shows that for the first half of 2015, strong growth in revenues from streaming services offset declines in digital downloads and overall wholesale revenues increased 0.8% to $2.3 billion on a year-over-year basis. At retail, the overall value decreased 0.5% to $3.2 billion.

First half (1H) revenues from music streaming services surpassed $1 billion for the first time, growing 23% in 2015 to $1.03 billion – up from $834 million for 1H 2014. This category includes revenues from subscription services (such as Rhapsody and paid versions of Spotify, among others), streaming radio service revenues that are distributed by SoundExchange (like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio), and other non-subscription on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify).

Total value of shipments in physical formats was $748 million, down 17% versus 1H 2014. CDs made up 66% of total physical shipments by value. Vinyl was up 52% by value for the first half of the year, and accounted for 30% of physical shipments by value.

The data for the first half of 2015 shows a continued healthy diversification of overall revenues, with physical products, digital downloads and streaming each comprising between 24 and 40% of overall revenues.

Total sales were up 0.8 percent year-over-year to US$2.3 billion. All told, streaming music accounted for 32 percent of revenues, while physical media including CDs and vinyl accounted for 24 percent of revenues. "Permanent downloads" from iTunes, Google Play, , Amazon, and other online stores accounted for 40 percent of sales, still the largest segment.

The report does not include data from Apple Music, which aunched on June 30th. The service should provide an additional driver for paid subscriptions in the second half of the year.

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