Australia’s recorded music market had a clean bill of health prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, newly published data reveals.

The national record business powered to a fifth successive year of gains in 2019, according to ARIA wholesale data, with streaming music platforms again the sunny spot.

Revenue grew in 2019 to $555 million, up 5.5 per cent from the year before, with streaming services generating a whopping $445 million, an additional $70 million on the previous-year figure.

You’d have to wind the clock back 15 years to find a better result for the industry.

ARIA’s market data includes revenue from subscription platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music and other non-subscription on-demand streaming services.

Vinyl continued to spin a neat tune, but the format’s rate of growth is slowing. In 2019, the space for vinyl albums was about $22 million, some $500,000 ahead of the year before, or 2.5 percent. Back in 2010, the entire market for vinyl album was valued at less than $1 million.

Australia’s recording industry by the numbers from 2010-2019 (supplied by ARIA)

With the exception of streaming and vinyl albums, every format reported declines during the year-long period.

Digital downloads fell sharply, from $68 million to $45 million.

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The CD, once the industry’s cash cow, is facing an ignominious fate as consumers drift en masse toward app-based music hubs.

The business for CDs fell in value from $53 million in 2018 to $36 million last year. It’s hard to imagine that, just ten years earlier, CDs were a business worth a quarter billion dollars.

In 2019, the business for vinyl albums was almost two-thirds that of the once-mighty CD.

Australia’s recording industry by the numbers (supplied by ARIA)

The results are academic, considering the difficulties the industry is facing today. But the data should be a reminder that music has real value and that an industry that appeared to be facing a long, painful death just a decade earlier, can defy the naysayers.

This year will be “like no other due to the impact of COVID-19,” explains ARIA CEO Dan Rosen in a statement, “but Australian artists and the music industry have faced numerous challenges over the years and have consistently adapted and innovated.”

With the continued support of consumers, the music community and government,” Rosen continues, “we will get through this together.”