Latest in Entertainment

Image credit: Andrey Danilovich via Getty Images

CDs and vinyl are outselling digital music downloads

Streaming is as popular as ever, with limited tier services showing surprising growth.
4317 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Andrey Danilovich via Getty Images

Digital music downloads began to outsell physical media since 2012. It took four more years for digital music revenue to surpass those from physical media as well. Then streaming happened, and last year generated more money in the US than all the other formats. Now, digital downloads are coming in dead last, with fewer sales than CDs, vinyl or other physical media, according to the latest annual report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Even though shipments of physical media dropped 4 percent to $1.5 billion, digital download revenues fell 25 percent to $1.3 billion in 2017, putting CDs and vinyl back on top of non-streaming music formats. Streaming continues to rule the roost, however, accounting for almost two-thirds of the total US music industry revenues in 2017, which represents most of the growth in the sector. One promising new streaming category is the "limited tier" service, like Amazon's unlimited Prime streaming to a single Echo speaker. This group, which also includes Pandora Plus, accounts for 14 percent of the whole subscription market, up from 11 percent the previous year.

Don't let record execs tell you otherwise; they're doing pretty well. The US music industry is going strong with revenues up $1.1 billion (wholesale) and $2 billion (retail) since 2015. Digital downloads brought in 15 percent of total music industry revenue, with physical media accounting for 17 percent. Records are still cool — the RIAA calls vinyl "a bright spot among physical formats," with revenues from the format up 10 percent to $395 million.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
4317 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Wirecutter's best deals - Jabra Elite 85h Bluetooth headphones drop to $200

Wirecutter's best deals - Jabra Elite 85h Bluetooth headphones drop to $200

View
Homeland Security doesn’t want Americans' airport face scans after all

Homeland Security doesn’t want Americans' airport face scans after all

View
Qualcomm pushes for cheaper Snapdragon PCs with its 7c and 8c chips

Qualcomm pushes for cheaper Snapdragon PCs with its 7c and 8c chips

View
Microsoft's redesigned Office mobile apps read text out loud

Microsoft's redesigned Office mobile apps read text out loud

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr