Friday, June 21, 2024

Pop: Gold Records a Thing of the Past as Streaming Is Now 51% of All Sales, Passing CDs and Downloads


CDs? What are they?

Digital downloads? So 2010.

For the first time ever, streaming music has eclipsed both of those ways to get music. Streaming from Spotify, Apple, Pandora, even Tidal now accounts for 51% of all music sales according to the RIAA.

The gold record? A thing of the past. There is nothing to frame for the walls of rock stars. Maybe you get a digital wall now, too. In a virtual mansion.

The good news, they say, is that revenue was up for the industry by almost a billion dollars. It’s been flat or down for the last several years.

There are 22.6 million paid streaming subscriptions. (This means everyone else is listening to ads.)

But the bads news is for the artists. Royalties on streaming sales are much lower than downloads or CDs. The artist is suffering. The execs are not. So the Industry is happy.

Actual CDs sold– the total money value was down 20% from 2015 to 2016. Digital permanent downloads were the same or worse– Singles, which everyone thought was driving the business, are down more than albums. So there.

As I was opening a CD yesterday I was thinking, someone still makes these plastic boxes? Not for long, kids.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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