Speed Reads

Musical Money

The U.S. music industry made more money from online streaming than CD sales last year

The U.S. recording industry has earned about $7 billion a year over the last several years, down from a peak of $14.6 billion in 1999 (thanks in good part to Britney and the Backstreet Boys) — but how it has made that money has shifted quite a bit. In 2014, the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) indicated in a report issued Wednesday, streaming music services made more money for the industry than physical CD sales, a first.


CD sales continued their slide, both physical CDs ($1.85 billion, down 12.6 percent from 2013) and digital downloads ($2.6 billion, down 8.5 percent). But Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, and other streaming services largely made up the different, with revenue growing 29 percent, to $1.87 billion. The only thing growing faster than streaming revenue? Vinyl records, whose sales jumped 50 percent last year. You can find more numbers, and some nice graphs, in the RIAA report.