Recorded music revenues in the biggest music market in the world – that being the US, of course – grew 6% to $15.9 billion last year, according to new stats published by the Recording Industry Association Of America yesterday.
That figure is the sector’s retail revenues for 2022. Wholesale revenues – so the monies that actually make it into the record industry – were up 5% to $10 billion.
All that growth is, of course, powered by streaming, which now accounts for 84% of the US market’s recorded music revenues. As elsewhere, most of that comes from paid-for streaming services, which brought in 77% of streaming income and nearly two-thirds of total revenues.
In terms of streaming market growth last year, total streaming income was up 7% to $13.3 billion. Revenues from premium streaming were up 8% to $10.2 billion, while ad-supported streams brought in $1.8 billion, a 6% increase.
The RIAA also separates out what it calls ‘limited tier subscriptions’ in its annual stats report, which includes things like the music element of Amazon Prime and the music industry’s deals with the fitness platforms. That category saw growth of 18% to $1.1 billion.
But don’t be thinking that it was only in the streaming domain that recorded music revenues were growing last year. Oh no.
The vinyl revival continues in the US as in the UK, of course. But, on that side of the Atlantic, ongoing vinyl growth is sufficiently impressive that – despite CD sales sliding again – physical product revenues overall were up 4% to £1.7 billion.
So, that’s all good, isn’t it? Well, it’s good for the record labels. But is it good for the wider music community?
Oh yes, reckons the RIAA, very much aware of the ongoing debate around how streaming monies are shared out between record labels, music publishers, the digital platforms, and the all important artists and songwriters. An argument is often made, of course, that it’s the labels that are benefiting the most.
In a blog post accompanying yesterday’s stats pack, Mitch Glazier cites a BPI study in the UK and Will Page’s annual review of the wider music rights sector to argue that artists and songwriters are definitely also benefiting a plenty from all this growth.
“Artists’ share of music revenues have risen faster than labels’”, he claims, “and a recent UK study found that label investment in artists has doubled over the last five years, while A&R spending on new talent has grown two and a half times faster than company revenues”.
“Songwriters and publishers have seen tremendous growth as US collectives like ASCAP and BMI reported record payments reflecting an increase in the writer/publisher share of music revenues of 50% since the CD era”, he adds.
Those mainly loss making digital services are doing well too, he reckons, musing that “the digital services also have had unprecedented success as earnings at just one major service rose 22% last year pushing it to over 400 million active listeners worldwide”.
“And 2022 is already shaping up as one of the strongest years ever for live music”, he then says, “roaring back after the long struggle against the pandemic”.
So, there you go. Will anyone outside of the RIAA membership be convinced by any of that? Of course not. But hey, here are some lovely stats for you all to enjoy.
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