The recently released Recording Industry Association of America mid-year report confirmed what we already knew — physical and digital sales are on the decline, with music streaming on the up and up. However, the statistics released in the report regarding the decline of physical platforms were far more alarming than first thought.
According to the report, when comparing the first half of 2018 with the first half of 2017, vinyl revenue rose by 12.6%, while CD revenue fell by a whopping 41.5%.
CD sales still sit in the millions, but due to the continual decline of demand, the shipment of physical products overall has dropped 25% — noted by the RIAA as a higher rate of decline than previous years.
CDs slowly pushed the classic vinyl record from mainstream circulation, but the vintage physical format has certainly enacted it’s revenge over the last ten years. And ultimately, vinyl could very well be the life raft that keeps physical music sales afloat in the vast digital sea.
Digital streaming continues it’s growth, with a 28% over-year growth noted in the report, and paid streaming emerging as a leader within the sector.
Although the death of the physical format is disheartening to many, RIAA president Mitch Glazier said in the report “What continues to sustain all of us is an unrelenting focus on the music.”
He also noted that the “growth achieved so far is in spite of our music licensing system, not because of it,” pointing to the passage of the Music Modernization Act this week as a step toward ensuring fair market rates for artists on all platforms. It’s not a cure-all fix for the many other music licensing issues present in the digital age — but it’s a start.