A new year-end report has been published by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) which provides data on how different mediums of music listening performed (involving data from 2020 and 2021). The report covers streaming, as well as CD and vinyl sales.
Per the report, CD sales grew from $483.3 million across 31.6 million sales in 2020 to $584.2 million across 46.6 million sales in 2021. Vinyl also grew, from $643.9 million across 23.7 million sales in 2020 to $1.037 billion across 39.7 sales in 2021. Overall, physical music drew in $1.655 billion in 2021, up from $1.163 billion in 2020.
In an op-ed on Music Business Worldwide, Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier of the RIAA said, “By format, streaming remains the most popular – representing 83% of total revenues – but vinyl and CDs both made big gains, with vinyl passing $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 35 years and CD sales jumping up 21% in a single year.”
He continued, “When different formats and technologies thrive, it creates new pathways for diverse styles and voices, from classical to jazz to reggae to punk.”
While streaming has really changed the game in terms of how music is listened to and discovered, it is also really cool to see physical forms of media still going strong! Along with CDs and vinyl, the cassette has also made somewhat of a comeback, as it is a popular form of “vintage listening.”
That said, streaming can do wonders for bands. While many music fans already know about and love Nirvana for example, the band’s song “Something In The Way” is being discovered by younger audiences today thanks to that of The Batman and being able to stream the track (and the streaming numbers for the song are intense).
And of course, we’re curious to ask – but what is your preferred way of listening to music? Do you check out a single when it comes out and then go buy the record on your preferred format? Do you like to stream a whole record before going out to buy it on another platform? Or, do you like to just stream music in general?
Sound off in the comments!
Words by: Michael Pementel