A Tech Forward Music Business Fuels Streaming Boom
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, plus continued modest drops in digital downloads and new physical sales, streaming now generates 80% of music business revenues and has fundamentally reshaped how fans find, share, and listen to the songs and artists they love.
Music continues to be a key driver of Internet culture, and engagement around music and artists powers much of the popularity of many social media and technology platforms. On social media, musicians are among the most-followed users worldwide.
It’s great news for the music business and for the US economy overall. Music contributes $143 billion to the nation’s GDP every year, supporting more than 157,000 music-related businesses and nearly 2 million jobs. A healthy music economy fuels a healthy American economy.
Our mid-year report tells a great story and highlights how the music industry’s embrace of new platforms and technologies has fueled a huge amount of growth and excitement — and a gusher of great new options for fans everywhere.
This continued growth lets record companies do more than ever to discover, promote, and protect great artists. Worldwide, labels now spend nearly $6 billion a year to find talent, enable artists to record, cut through the noise, and be heard.
Finding and developing new talent is the lifeblood of the business, with 20% of a major label’s roster of artists signed fresh each year. 7 in 10 unsigned artists want a label deal to help them make it in an increasingly complicated and high-tech business.
Labels have worked for years to build powerful new tools, infrastructure, and teams to help artists navigate the global streaming ecosystem and protect and promote their work. Whether it’s fighting to shut down industrial piracy and stream-ripping operations or standing up to Big Tech platforms that have avoided accountability to exploit artists and grossly underpay for music.
And more than anything, it’s a reminder of what we can accomplish when the whole music community — and our music service partners — work together. Collaboration and cooperation work. We’ve proven that by establishing the right to be paid for streaming in the early days of the internet, to the technical and data collaboration that made modern music services possible, to even more recent problem solving like the Music Modernization Act that finally won justice for artists who recorded before 1972.
Let’s keep it going.