The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has published a report for the first six months of 2020 reflecting the state of the US music industry. While there are many expected and natural facts in this report, one fact is that gramophone records have outperformed CD sales!
According to the report, for the first time since the 80’s vinyl discs are sold better than CDs. Sales of vinyl albums increased by 4% compared to the first half of 2019 – to 232 million dollars. They accounted for 62% of revenues from physical media sales in the first six months of this year. Total sales of physical media with audio records for the first half of 2020 fell to 376 million dollars – a 23% drop compared to the same period in 2019.
Despite the fact that gramophone records are experiencing a boom and CDs are still being bought, even in smaller quantities, physical media accounts for only 4% of total industry revenues. The reasons for this are both natural and mediated by the coronavirus pandemic: people have begun to go to music stores less, musicians have stopped touring (and therefore do not sell CDs at their concerts), millions of people in the U.S. lose their jobs, and they have no extra money to buy CDs or records.
A natural consequence of this is the growing demand for streaming services. For example, Spotify added 12 million Premium subscribers in six months, and in the U.S. as a whole the number of subscribers of paid streaming services for the first six months of 2020 increased by 24% compared to the first half of 2019 – to more than 72 million. The volume of revenue from online music broadcasting increased by 12% compared to last year and amounted to 4.8 billion dollars.