Streaming services led by Apple Music account for 75 percent of the U.S. recording industry’s revenue

“How the mighty have fallen,” Joan E. Solsman reports for CNET. “Digital downloads, typified by the 99 cent iTunes tracks that ruled the music industry as recently as four years ago, now make less money for US labels than CDs and vinyl records.”

“Downloads represented just 11 percent of US labels’ revenue last year, a music industry trade group said Thursday. Physical sales — the term for music formats you can actually hold, which are mostly CDs and vinyl at this point — booked 12 percent,” Solsman reports. “Instead, streaming music has been asphyxiating demand for downloads. Streaming sales were 75 percent of revenue last year, according to year-end data from the Recording Industry Association of America.”

“Rather than buying music outright, like we did in the era of CDs and downloads, people are increasingly paying monthly fees for all-you-can-access tunes on services,” Solsman reports. “Overall last year, retail revenues from recorded music in the US grew about 12 percent, to $9.85 billion. Subscriptions, like the monthly fees for Apple Music or Spotify’s paid tier, were the biggest moneymaker, at $4.66 billion, up 33 percent, the RIAA said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple saves the music industry yet again.

Apple Music now leads Spotify in the U.S., the No. 1 recorded music market – December 31, 2018


  1. I don’t know who’s been saved – maybe the record companies? – but many musicians I’ve heard about (including well-known ones) say it just isn’t worth recording music any more.

  2. MacDailyNews Take: Apple saves the music industry yet again.

    APPLE used the Music Industry for its own personal gains they started by chopping up the Artist albums into bits with no regard for the whole point of the Journey or concept of an artist’s album. It was for their own financial gain.

    Albums have become obsolete in Apples mind it’s all about the hit tune.

    Their attitude goes totally against the creative Artist trying to dig deeper with a journey of creative music, Apple has made the industry into nothing but another meal ticket for themselves.

    Apple gets the money for what? Chopping up and serving bits of music out of context to the whole album. But not satisfied with F**king over the Artist Album and selling it in pieces for pennies. Apple now shrinks the hard work of Artists into worthless micro payments per stream making even less of a payment to the creator who has no say in how his work is delivered and used or the remittance he should get

    The income is only gross for Apple and all artists are royalty screwed over thanks solely to Apple who is no better than a supermarket abusing its power to screw over everyone by selling others creative works how they see fit in order to get more people on their platform.

    All artists know this is the real truth. But all will continue to claim they ‘love music’ just like a politician the actions say different.

    1. I and everyone else is not obligated to sit through an artist’s album all the way through everytime we want to hear just one song just to hear some album concept they may have lamely incorporated. Despite those effarts there may still only be one or two tracks worth a damn.

      The music is what it means to the individual user and how they see fit to hear it. Sometimes reinterpreting the artist’s original intent into something else more personal.

    2. You must be new here:

      Perhaps the flawed “album” model is an artificial construct that was designed to grab more money by prepackaging the average (or worse) with a hit or two (at best)? We think that the health of the “album” shouldn’t be worried about by anyone other than those who profited from it. The industry can be “concerned” all they like and for as long as they wish, but at some point they should probably wake up and realize that the rip-off “album” paradigm they invented and nursed along for all these years has long since died. Have the funeral already and let’s get on with it. — MacDailyNews, January 5, 2005

      [Noel Gallagher is] another has-been lamenting the passing of the forced bundle (“album”), an artificial construct that the music industry foisted on people as “art,” but was really a scheme to get paid 10X more per each decent track. The music industry began with singles, not forced bundles deceptively called “albums,” and it’ll end that way, too, thanks to Steve Jobs*.

      *Standard disclaimer: Yes, some music albums are art. The vast majority are not. Apple continues to sell music in album form for those who desire to buy full albums. — MacDailyNews, August 5, 2015

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.