Music Sales Were Down in 2014 But Streaming and Vinyl are Up
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently announced their sales figures for 2014 and while the overall numbers for music sales dropped a litttle from the previous year, streaming audio and vinyl sales continued an upward trajectory.
According to the report, the overall value of the U.S. music industry falls in at $6.97 billion, down 0.47 percent from 2013. Digital formats surpassed previous years, clocking in at $4.5 billion in 2014, accounting for 64 percent of industry revenues while physical music sales dropped 7.1 percent to $2.27 billion.
RIAA chairman Cary Sherman posted a statement about the findings on the organization's website. "The music business continues to undergo a staggering transformation," he said. "Record companies are now digital music firms, earning more than two-thirds of their revenues from a variety of digital formats. Streaming services collectively are generating meaningful revenue: nearly $2 billion in 2014, a 29 percent increase over 2013."
Sherman said it's now up to the industry to adapt to the change in consumer habits. "Streaming music has been the subject of a healthy debate, which is appropriate," the report continues. "These are new models – how their value to the artist and label accrues is different than buying a CD or a download. But the reality is that the consumer has spoken and this is what fans want. The entire music community must come together to help make these services work for fans, artists and the music industry."
One bright spot continues to be the rise of vinyl sales, which jumped to just over $320 million, up nearly 50 percent frrom 2013. "The music business is not without its challenges," Sherman said. "But the foundations of a continued comeback are strong. Music is more relevant to commerce and culture than ever before. It is fundamentals like these that continue to give us great hope."