Streaming Music Sales Tops CDs in 2014 by $20 Million

Revenues from streaming music services grew 29 percent to $1.87 billion in 2014

The sale of streaming music topped the sale of CDs for the first time ever in 2014, the Recording Industry Association of America revealed in a new report released this week.

In a year that the music industry saw a minor sales decline to $6.97 billion — down less than 0.5 percent from 2013’s total, $7 million — revenues from streaming music services grew 29 percent
to $1.87 billion in 2014, and accounted for 27 percent of total industry revenues.

While CDs still account for the highest percentage of sales in the physical market, with 82 percent, they’re steadily declining in value. Sales decreased 12.7 percent in 2014, with a total of $1.85 billion.

CDs comprised 27 percent of the overall market at estimated retail value, the RIAA said.

Still, overall physical sales, including vinyl, topped streaming with a 32 percent of the market share. Digital downloads reigned supreme, owning 37 percent of the market, while ringtones accounted for 1 percent and synchronization accounted for 3 percent.

If the growth of streaming sales over the last five years continues, than it appears streaming services — including Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora, SiriusXM, YouTube and Vevo — will top CDs in 2015.

Streaming services accounted for just 5 percent of the market in 2009, and accounted for 21 percent in 2013. If the growth continues at a similar rate, revenue from streaming services should breach 30 percent of the market share.