Vinyl Sales Soared 22% in First Half of 2022, Per RIAA Mid-Year Report

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U.S. recorded-music revenue climbed 9%, streaming revenues are up 10% and vinyl sales soared a whopping 22% in the first half of 2022, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America’s mid-year report released on Wednesday.

Total revenue climbed 9% to $7.7 billion at estimated retail value; total streaming revenues rose 10% to $6.5 billion, and paid streaming-service subscriptions are up to 90 million, with their revenues rising 10% to $5 billion and comprising almost two-thirds of the first half total. However, the report notes, at wholesale value, revenues grew 8% to $4.9 billion.

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Streaming represented 84% of total revenue, with physical next at 10%, digital downloads at 3% and synch at 2%.

But the most exciting statistic for many is the continuing rise in vinyl sales, which have been climbing consistently since 2006. The number of units shipped rose 15.7% over the same period last year — from 18.8 million to 21.8 million — and dollar value is up from $460.5 million to $570.2 million. CD sales continued their slow downward slide, going from 18.4 million to 17.7 million and $204.3 million to $199.7 million.

While vinyl sales rose a jaw-dropping 97% in the same period last year, that number was dramatically skewed by the pandemic, which forced the closure of most record stores for many months, although mail-orders thrived during that period.

Although physical product claims just 10% of total revenue, the continuing rise of vinyl carries much stronger impact: While the number of CDs and vinyl units shipped is comparable, vinyl brings in much more revenue (and costs more to manufacture).

“Today’s report is good news for artists, songwriters, streaming services, and fans — everyone with a stake in music’s future,” said RIAA chief Mitch Glazer. “We truly are seeing the power of recorded music’s rising tide to lift all boats across the music family.

“Indeed, artists share of music revenues have risen faster than labels’ and a recent UK study found that label investment in artists has doubled over the last five years while A&R spending on new talent has grown two and a half times faster than company revenues. Songwriters and publishers have seen tremendous growth as U.S. collectives like ASCAP and BMI reported record payments reflecting an increase in the writer/publisher share of music revenues of 50% since the CD era. Digital services also have had unprecedented success as earnings at just one major service rose 22% last year pushing it to over 400 million active listeners worldwide. And 2022 is already shaping up as one of the strongest years ever for live music — roaring back after the long struggle against the pandemic.”

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