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Five Years of Consistent Revenue Growth for the U.S. Recorded Music Industry

Once again, tales of the demise of the music industry appear to have been exaggerated.

Revenue figures for recorded music in the U.S. show strong growth in 2017, both at wholesale value (12.6% to $5.9 billion) and at estimated retail value (16.5% to $8.7 billion).

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), “total revenues from streaming platforms were up 43% to $5.7 billion and in 2017 made up 65% of total industry revenues” – with the streaming category including “premium subscription services, streaming radio services […] and ad-supported on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo and ad-supported Spotify)”.

These encouraging numbers are confirming the positive trend we highlighted in previous blog posts (here and here) and in a research paper: music revenues have actually increased for the past four (now five) years in a row, when looking at the wholesale value of music (defined here as the “better metric of the revenues that are going to music labels for sales and listening” by Josh Friedlander Sr. VP Strategic Data Analysis for the RIAA).

These numbers are therefore at odds with the claims of a “value gap” at the center of some of the most controversial provisions of the European copyright reform – as are the figures from the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), demonstrating as well a healthy rise in revenue with digital streaming services enabling massive value growth.

As we concluded previously, it seems that the cost savings of digital distribution are passed on to consumers and labels alike, and labels are seeing increasing growth as a result.

Intellectual Property

The Internet enables the free exchange of ideas and content that, in turn, promote creativity, commerce, and innovation. However, a balanced approach to copyright, trademarks, and patents is critical to this creative and entrepreneurial spirit the Internet has fostered. Consequently, it is our belief that the intellectual property system should encourage innovation, while not impeding new business models and open-source developments.

European Union

DisCo is dedicated to examining technology and policy at a global scale.  Developments in the European Union play a considerable role in shaping both European and global technology markets.  EU regulations related to copyright, competition, privacy, innovation, and trade all affect the international development of technology and tech markets.