RIAA says music subscription income is up 25% in the U.S., but digital downloads continues to shrink

Streaming has taken over the music industry, and it has become the go-to option for the majority of people in the United States to listen to the music they want to listen to.

Take, for example, data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from earlier this year. At the time, the RIAA said that streaming accounts for 80% of the music market in the United States, up from 7% in 2010. So obviously streaming is where the primary focus for the industry at large is, too.

The latest study from the RIAA indicates that the major pillars of streaming are still solid. According to the data, music streaming grew a total of 13 percent in the U.S. in 2019. As far as retail value is concerned, that’s a jump up from $9.8 billion to $11.1 billion.

Those numbers mean that streaming accounts for 79% of the total revenue pie.

Meanwhile, for revenue, it’s an even bigger jump. According to the data, music streaming saw a 25% year-over-year growth in revenue from music subscription services. So while Spotify has a lot of free users, it’s safe to say that the paid options out there are doing very, very well for themselves, too.

Streaming service subscriptions now account for 61% of all revenue from recorded music in the U.S. That’s a giant number that’s sure to only get larger in the months and years ahead.

The actual number of paid subscriptions rose 29%, with 60.4 million in 2019, versus 46.9 million the year before. That’s a more than five-fold increase in music subscribers from just four years before, when the total number of people ponying up on a monthly basis was a mere 10.8 million.

Meanwhile, not every area is gaining ground. Unsurprisingly, physical sales is down, again. It now accounts for just 10% of the marketplace. Digital downloads, which used to be a major focal point for the music industry, is now sitting at just 8% of the market. Between 2018 and 2019, that’s a drop of 18% for digital downloads.

This is all good news for music streaming services like Apple Music, of course. And, indeed, despite being a newcomer to the market as a whole, the services has over 60 million paid subscribers.

Which music streaming service are you subscribed to? And if you’re subscribed, do you still buy digital downloads from time to time?