U.S. Recorded Music Industry Revenue Hit a Record $8.35 Billion During H1 2023, Report Shows — Despite a Vinyl Sales-Volume Decline

u.s. recorded music industry h1 2023 financials riaa
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u.s. recorded music industry h1 2023 financials riaa
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According to a H1 2023 report from the RIAA, there were an average of 95.8 million paid streaming subscriptions in the U.S. during the year’s initial half. Photo Credit: Recording Industry Association of America

The U.S. recorded music industry achieved over 9% year-over-year (YoY) growth during 2023’s initial half, generating a cool $8.35 billion at estimated retail value, according to newly released data.

These and other noteworthy consumption figures came to light in an H1 2023 performance breakdown from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Worth clarifying at the outset is that the aforementioned retail value refers to “the value of shipments at recommended or estimated list price” – not necessarily the price that physical products like vinyl and CDs actually fetched.

Expanding upon the point, the trade organization indicated that revenue attributable to physical sales had come in at $881.8 million during Q1 and Q2 – despite a 7.8% YoY slip in total units moved. Behind the latter, CD sales suffered a 17.2% YoY decrease in terms of units shipped while revenue nevertheless climbed 14.3% YoY to $236 million, the resource shows.

Similarly, vinyl’s sales by units declined 1.8% YoY during 2023’s first six months, per the document, as revenue climbed 1.3% YoY to hit $632.4 million. Rounding out the physical side, the RIAA pinpointed a 6.3% YoY revenue boost for the music video category ($5.5 million) and a 96.7% YoY spike for “other physical” like cassettes ($7.9 million)

Shifting to streaming, the U.S. recorded music industry is said to have raked in over $7.02 billion (up 10.3% YoY) from listeners, including on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal – or 84% of total H1 2023 revenue. Within the sum, the RIAA identified $4.97 billion from paid subscriptions (up 12.4% YoY, with a 6.4% YoY increase for subscriptions at 95.8 million).

Next, on-demand ad-supported streaming accounted for $870.1 million of the total, per the breakdown, for 0.6% YoY growth.

“Limited-tier” paid subscriptions, or packages with interactivity limitations based on device or catalog, brought in $524.4 million (up 1.8% YoY), against $497.8 million in SoundExchange distributions (up 7.1% YoY) and $159.1 million in streaming revenue from sources not covered by the above-mentioned categories (up 56.8% YoY).

Rounding out the stateside recorded music industry’s H1 2023 showing, digital downloads revenue fell by an even 12% YoY to $224.8 million, including YoY revenue slips for singles (down 14% to $97.4 million), albums (down 11.7% to $107.3 million), ringtones (down 2.9% to $6 million), and other digital-download sources (down 3.3% to $14 million), according to the report.

Lastly, the RIAA attributed $222.7 million to “synchronization royalties,” for a 25.1% YoY hike – though the precise income contained in the inherently multifaceted category has long been a subject of discussion.