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US music industry streams double-digit revenue growth

Paid subscriptions of streaming services like Spotify and Tidal soared to 50 million in the United States for the first time, the Recording Industry Association of America said
Paid subscriptions of streaming services like Spotify and Tidal soared to 50 million in the United States for the first time, the Recording Industry Association of America said AFP/File
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New York (AFP)

The US music industry posted its third straight year of double-digit growth in 2018 thanks to continued surges in streaming, an industry tracker said Thursday.

Revenues from recorded music jumped 12 percent to $9.8 billion in estimated retail value, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, with 75 percent of revenues coming from streaming.

The RIAA said paid subscriptions of streaming services like Spotify and Tidal soared to 50 million in the United States for the first time, while total 2018 subscription revenues jumped 32 percent to $5.4 billion.

Revenues from ad-supported on-demand streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify's free version posted significantly slower earnings growth rates among streaming formats, rising 15 percent annually to $760 million.

Digital download revenues, meanwhile, fell for the sixth consecutive year, while income from CD sales dropped under the $1 billion mark for the first time since 1986.

But retro darling vinyl saw revenues hit their highest level since 1988, totaling $419 million -- an eight percent jump from the previous year.

"Make no mistake, many challenges continue to confront our community," said Mitch Glazier, RIAA's chairman and CEO. "As noteworthy as it is for the business to approach $10 billion in revenues again, that only returns US music to its 2007 levels."

"But there is reason for buoyed optimism among those who help create music," he said.

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