Report shows that U.S. consumers preferred old school music formats last year

Report shows that U.S. consumers preferred old school music formats last year
A fresh report from the Recording Industry Association of America (via BGR) reveals that last year, more money was spent on vinyl records and CDs in the U.S. than on digital downloads from iTunes and others. Music in physical formats accounted for U.S. sales of $1.15 billion last year, down 22.8% from 2017. Downloaded songs generated a little over $1 billion in revenue in 2018, split almost 50-50 between singles and albums. That was a 26% decline from the previous year.

Meanwhile, revenue from streaming music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal hit $7.4 billion in 2018, up 30% year-over-year. Streaming accounted for 75% of the revenue collected from selling music in the states last year. Physical formats had a 12% share of music industry revenue in 2018 compared to the 11% for digital downloads. Streaming services have seen a huge jump in revenue over the years, rising from the $2.3 billion received in 2015. 

The world's most popular music streaming service, Spotify, has yet to turn a profit since launching in October 2008. The company is trying to move the large number of subscribers it has listening free on its ad-supported tier to a monthly subscription. The numbers explain why. While revenue for ad-supported music streaming in the U.S. rose 15% to $760 million in 2018, paid subscriptions accounted for $4.7 billion in gross, a 33% jump from 2017.  Overall, there are 50.2 million Americans paying a monthly subscription fee to a music streaming platform. Over one million new paying subscribers were added during each month in 2018.

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5 Comments

1. miketer

Posts: 493; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Vinyl is just a darn hype. Many of us have used it, been through it. The amount of headaches that comes with this format is not worth it. I still prefer CDs to high res, still, I do buy some classics from HDtracks. Call what may, that I'm tone deaf or not a connoisseur of sound or whatever, CDs are fine for me. Ah, forgot to mention, the only album where I could feel the difference in high res was 'Tea for the Tillerman' and it was worth every penny I spent on.

2. libra89

Posts: 2221; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm not surprised to hear this. I would say that half of my friends are subscribed to a streaming service. I can only think of one friend who actually does the digital download thing with music. Aside from those groups, the rest use Spotify for free or Pandora for free.

3. BuffaloSouce

Posts: 1175; Member since: May 01, 2017

I would like to know the ranges of age. I think it's more older people going for vinyl and cd over streaming because it's a dying format and they're not knowledgeable on streaming service.

4. frozz

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 10, 2017

streaming of anything with replay value makes no sense why would people do it ? Everytime you stream you are using your Data which is money and those data bytes could be used for other things. illegal download aside, I rather do a one off buy of the song whereby i can replay unlimited times. (not those stupid lockdown format for only an app kind) . like the saying goes a copy on my hands is better than in yours. I control my stuffs not dictated by you. Imagine if spotify cease operation or netflix for that matter.

5. libra89

Posts: 2221; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

That's a fair point but what happens when an artist you listen to releases new music? Do you always buy the singles every time and then just buy the additional songs every album? That adds up quickly, especially if you have several artists that you enjoy. I'm unaware of these limit things you mean, I have never had it before. I have replayed everything "unlimited times". Don't forget that people do download albums and playlists from streaming services as well. They are usually good for 30 days. It's not tough to remember to refresh the content once a month.

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