via Billboard
by Ed Christman

Streaming overtakes sales for the first time as the leading driver of revenue for the U.S. recorded music business.

It looks like happy days are here again: U.S. recorded music sales were up 11.4 percent in 2016. The industry brought in $7.65 billion in revenue, according to the RIAA, up from $6.87 million in 2015. Although the music business showed signs of a recovery at the half-year mark, the 2016 year-end results show more significant growth, led by streaming revenue.
This is the first time since 1998 that the U.S. industry has experienced a double digit increase in overall revenue. Back then, the industry enjoyed revenue of $13.7 billion.
Unsurprisingly, streaming is pulling the business back to health, as revenue grew 68.5 percent to $3.93 billion, up from $2.33 billion in 2015. In fact, streaming grew so much last year, that it now accounts for more revenue than downloads, CDs and vinyl combined. Together, these formats brought in $3.51 billion. Paid music subscriptions doubled in the U.S., according to the RIAA — up to 22.6 million, from 10.8 million in 2015.
Even with this robust growth, recorded music brings in just over half the $14.6 billion it generated at its 1999 peak.

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