The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said today that paid music streaming accounted for over $6 billion in revenues in the first half of 2021, or about 84 percent of revenues overall.
“New data released today shows just how deeply Americans continue to value and engage with recorded music — listening to more than 840 billion on-demand streams in the first half of the year, a record for any six month period in history and one with substantial room for continued both on audio streaming and on audiovisual platforms like TikTok and Twitch,” RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier writes in his mid-year appraisal of the market. “Streaming continues to grow in countless ways, expanding its reach as the dominant form of listening today with nearly $6 billion in recorded music revenues so far this year, 84% of the total. Paid subscriptions continued a multi-year trend of strong growth, increasing 13% over the first half of 2020 to a record 82 million.”
Those are some big numbers. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a recording artist who is happy about the revenues that they derive from streaming. I’ve heard figures as low as 7/100th of a cent per stream.
But the RIAA says that streaming beyond traditional music services—via emerging platforms like short-form video, fitness apps, and a host of chat and social apps—starting to deliver meaningful revenues. And even vinyl, which accounts for a tiny slice of the market, has delivered what Glazier calls a “new post-Napster half-year high of $467 million” and growth of 48 percent year-over-year (YOY) after a flat first half of 2020.