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2020 tested our nation.

The COVID-19 pandemic inflicted awful loss. It challenged us to work together — and to hold onto hope.

The music community came together to face this challenge as a family — standing shoulder to shoulder in fighting for meaningful aid and relief for performers, crews, and venues. We jointly created the website. And led the charge with music-powered livestreams and community education.

This work is far from over. Artists, songwriters, road crews…

2020 was no ordinary year.

It was a year of historically painful personal losses and disconnection. But it also marked yet another chapter in the story of music’s power and wonder — and the unstoppable creative vitality of the people who make it.

In 2020 we grieved epochal losses of giants from every corner of our industry — from Charley Pride to Chynna, Eddie Van Halen to John Prine, Bonnie Pointer to Little Richard, and many, many more.

We have endured — and continue to endure — a cruel virus that has seared through communities worldwide.

Lives have been lost, leaving isolation, grief, and emptiness…

With today’s release of the RIAA’s full-year 2019 revenue report for U.S. recorded music, two things are abundantly clear:

  • Paid subscription streaming is driving the return to growth; and
  • Achieving long-term sustainable success still requires good public policies.

Driven by paid streaming, U.S. recorded music revenues grew by 13 percent to $11.1 billion in 2019, at estimated retail value. Total revenues from streaming grew 20% to $8.8 billion, accounting for nearly 80% of all recorded music revenues.

Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO, RIAA

The headline out of RIAA’s latest data on the music ecosystem is clear (and to anyone who’s ever had to separate teenagers and their earbuds, no great surprise) — the streaming economy continues to accelerate, strengthen, and mature. Everywhere you look, our industry’s embrace of new technologies, approaches, and platforms is paying off for artists, fans, and everyone who loves great music.

Music revenues grew 18%, to $5.4 billion in the first half of 2019. Paid streaming services added more than 1 million new subscriptions a month, taking us past 60 million total paid subscriptions. Thanks to that breakneck growth…

Brandi Carlile. Travis Scott. Dua Lipa. Drake. Luke Combs. Kacey Musgraves. Khalid. J Balvin. Dan + Shay. Willie Nelson. Cardi B. Rosanne Cash. Carrie Underwood. Lil Wayne. Ariana Grande. Boz Scaggs. 21 Pilots. Camila Cabello. BTS. Hayley Kiyoko.

These were just some of the groundbreaking artists who partnered with their labels on new music released last year — and the list goes on and on. That tremendous output from the artist community fueled a historic milestone of 50 million subscriptions to music services, which in turn helped drive U.S. music’s third consecutive year of double-digit growth. Details are available in our 2018 year-end revenue report out today.

Musicians and the dedicated label teams that support them are driving incredible engagement in today’s music world, where fans have greater access than ever to the music they want to hear…

Music is timeless, although it’s sometimes tempting to think otherwise. Art evolves. Genres change. New artists break on the scene and bring us new music. And so it is today. Certainly, fans can enjoy artists’ music in ways never before imagined. These new forms of distribution are exciting and have driven consumption of music to historic levels.

But at its core, it’s still all about the music. In fact, at a time when more music is being created and shared around the globe than ever before, the role of the record label remains central — from the way record labels…

Remarks at the 2018 MIDEM Music Conference

Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA

Over the past fifty years, the music business has gone from vinyl records to cassettes to 8-tracks to CDs to downloads to streams, and somehow back again to vinyl. Go figure.

Throughout that time, I have had the privilege of representing the U.S. recording industry in the struggle for smart, fair music policy from our government.

Just what IS music policy? It’s when government decides that broadcasters don’t have to pay for the recordings they play on their radio stations. It’s when government decides that songwriter royalty rates will be decided by a court…

It was a jubilant spring day for the music community on April 25th as the United States House of Representatives voted 415–0 in favor of the Music Modernization Act (HR 5447), a series of legislative reforms (including the CLASSICS Act) that will lead to a more fair and equitable music market for creators. Some colorful context? Of the 812 bills passed by the House during the 115th Congress, only one other was approved unanimously (the Taxpayer First Act, 414–0, if you are curious). A few notable CLASSICS happenings below.

On To The Senate…

The Music Modernization Act package has been introduced in the U.S…

As both the House and Senate versions of the CLASSICS Act gain more cosponsors (more on that below), momentum continues to grow for this important legislation that fixes an historic injustice by requiring digital radio services like SiriusXM to pay legacy artists for their pre-1972 recordings as a matter of federal law. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte recently announced his committee will be marking up music licensing reform legislation the week of April 9th, with CLASSICS expected to be part of that package. We look back at some of the key moments of the campaign throughout the last few weeks…

MusicFIRST Highlights CLASSICS Momentum With New Co-Sponsors

The American recorded music business grew in 2017, for the second consecutive year, as music fans continued to subscribe to streaming services, which counted more than 35 million U.S. subscriptions and drove a 16.5% increase in retail sales to $8.7 billion.

My colleague Josh Friedlander walks through all the data in more detail here.

Subscriptions Drive Music’s Recovery

Music is a digital business, with more than 80% of overall revenue stemming from an array of digital platforms and services.

Streaming music services delivered $5.7 billion in revenue. Paid music subscriptions generated the lion’s share of that amount — surpassing $4 billion for the first…


The RIAA is about music — everything from fostering its creative and financial vitality to honoring artists who achieve success.

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