RIAA reveals impact of Covid-19 on US music market

RIAA reveals impact of Covid-19 on US music market

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has revealed that growth in paid subscription streaming more than offset revenue declines in other areas of the US recorded music market for the half-year period.

The trade body’s mid-year report also details the impact of Covid-19 on the world’s biggest music market.

Among the key findings, total first-half 2020 revenues from recorded music in the US increased by 5.6% year-on-year to $5.7 billion (£4.44bn).

Premium streaming continued to drive the growth as the number of paid subscriptions increased by 24% to more than 72 million on average, growing subscription streaming revenues for first-half 2020 by 14% versus first-half 2019.

At the same time, with advertising markets slowing across the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, growth in ad-supported streaming revenues slowed dramatically. Physical sales were also affected by the pandemic and fell 29.2% year-on-year in units. Vinyl unit sales were up by 2.3% year-on-year to 8.8 million. 

RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said: “These are historically difficult times: the live music sector is shut down; studio recording is limited; and millions of Americans are out of work across the broader economy. While we’re pleased that the years of hard work and resources we’ve invested in streaming are driving growth in paid subscriptions, today’s report demonstrates just how much work remains to achieve a sustainably healthy music ecosystem for both music creators and fans.

“We must continue working to help sustain live music and venues, support gig workers and session musicians, and ensure fair pay for music on all digital platforms. Despite all the challenges from the pandemic, one thing clearly hasn’t changed – fans still love music.”

Throughout 2020, RIAA and its members have worked for measures supporting those parts of the music community most deeply affected by the pandemic, such as the landmark CARES Act, the RESTART and SOS Acts (to keep local venues alive), and legislation to solve the “mixed earner” issue that limits the reach of unemployment assistance for independent artists and session performers.

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