Apple Music boosts streaming music revenue to record $13.3 billion in 2022; vinyl outpaces CDs for first since 1987

Home » Apple Music boosts streaming music revenue to record $13.3 billion in 2022; vinyl outpaces CDs for first since 1987
Apple Music vs Spotify: Who pays artists more?


New data this week from the Recording Industry Association of America highlights that streaming continues to grow and dominate more of the music industry revenue. Interestingly, the data also highlights the continued resurgence of vinyl. In fact, in 2022, the RIAA says that vinyl records outsold CDs in units for the first time in decades…

In total, the RIAA says that music revenue in the United States grew by 6% in 2022, to a new record high of $15.9 billion. This marks the sixth year in a row of growth for the industry. In total, streaming accounted for 84% of that revenue, followed by physical sales at 11%, digital downloads at 3%, and synchronization royalties at 2%.

Here’s the breakdown of that streaming and physical revenue:

  • Physical products: $1.7 billion (up 4% year-over-year)
    • CDs: $483 million (down 18% year-over-year)
    • Vinyl: $1.2 billion (up 17% year-over-year)
  • Streaming: $13.3 billion (up 7% year-over-year)
    • Paid subscription services: $10.2 billion (up 8% year-over-year)
    • Limited-tier subscriptions (services limited by things like mobile access, catalog availability, etc): $1.1 billion (up 18% year-over-year)
    • Ad-supported streaming: $108 billion (up 6% year-over-year)

According to the RIAA, the average number of streaming subscriptions for the year grew 10% to 92 million, compared with an average of 84 million for 2021. “These figures exclude limited-tier services, and count multi-user plans as a single subscription,” the RIAA adds.

For digital downloads (such as those via iTunes):

Revenues from digitally downloaded music continued to decline in 2022, down 20% to $495 million. Both digital album sales and individual track sales were down 20% to $242 and $214 million respectively. Downloads accounted for just 3% of U.S. recorded music revenues in 2022, down from a peak of 43% of revenues in 2012.

And for physical formats:

Revenues from physical music formats continued to grow after their remarkable resurgence in 2021. Total physical revenues of $1.7 billion were up 4% versus the prior year. Revenues from vinyl records grew 17% to $1.2 billion – the sixteenth consecutive year of growth – and accounted for 71% of physical format revenues. For the first time since 1987, vinyl albums outsold CDs in units (41 million vs 33 million). After a 2021 rebound versus the Covid impacted 2020, revenues from CDs fell 18% to $483 million in 2022.

9to5Mac’s Take

I always find this data from the RIAA interesting. It’s not at all surprising that streaming continues to grow. One thing I do want to watch through the rest of this year is how big of an impact Apple Music’s recent price increase will have on total streaming revenue for the industry.

Neither the RIAA nor Apple itself breaks down how many subscribers each individual service has. For Apple Music, the last official update was way back in June 2019, when the service hit 60 million paying subscribers.

Finally, I really hope that we also see streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify increase the royalty rates they pay to artists this year. As touring costs continue to rise, putting a strain on even the world’s biggest bands, increasing streaming royalties could go a long way toward helping artists.

Apple, of course, is already significantly better than Spotify in paying artists at least somewhat fair royalty rates.

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