Music streaming breaks $1bn sales barrier for first time
Revenues from streaming songs on the internet has passed $1bn for the first time, new figures have shown.
Digital downloads of songs continued to fall out of favour in the first half of the year, while free and paid music-streaming revenue kept growing, even without much of a bump from the launch of Apple Music.
That's according to mid-year sales figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Monday. They show overall music industry revenue fell a half percentage point to $3.2bn.
Revenue from paid subscriptions to services like Spotify and Rhapsody grew 25pc to $478m, while revenue from free services like Pandora grew 22pc to $550m. Streaming revenue as a whole surpassed $1bn in the first half of the year for the first time.
Download sales revenue fell 4pc to $1.3bn, while physical disc sales dropped 17pc to $748m.
Apple Music, the tech company's online music subscription service, launched on the last day statistics were recorded.
Cary Sherman, RIAA chief executive, said in a statement that while streaming music revenues continued to grow healthily, he criticised the rates being paid to labels and artists for streaming music, saying they "do not always equal fair market rates".
Certain rates for Internet radio are set by government bodies.
The rise of digital streaming has helped the industry maintain annual revenues of around $7bn since 2010, offsetting the decline in revenue from digital downloads of single tracks that began in 2013. But the level is far below the industry peak in 1999 of $14.6bn, when compact discs were dominant