Music industry makes more money, thanks to streaming

The music industry is facing headwinds from online piracy and other illegal services, but is still growing in revenue.

In 2017, revenues from recorded music in the United States increased by 16.5% – at estimated retail value to $8.7 billion.

This continues from growth in the previous year. At wholesale, revenues grew 12.6% to $5.9 billion.

These increases came primarily from growth in paid music subscriptions to services like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, which grew by over 50%.

This is the first time since 1999 that US music revenues grew materially for two years in a row.

At $8.7 billion, the industry has taken a decade to return to the same overall revenue level as 2008.

It is still 40% below peak levels, however, as the growth from streaming has been offset by continued declines in physical and digital unit sales.

Industry revenue

Music industry revenues


Streaming platforms accounted for almost 66% of total US music industry revenues in 2017.

Total revenue from streaming platforms was up 43% to $5.7 billion.



Digital and physical products

Revenue from digital downloads fell 25%, to $1.3 billion. For the first time since 2011, revenue from physical products exceeded digital downloads.

Shipments of physical products decreased by 4% to $1.5 billion in 2017, a lower rate of decline than in recent years.


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Music industry makes more money, thanks to streaming