US recorded music industry revenues hit $17.1 billion in 2023

Credit: Martha Asencio-Rhine/ZUMA/Alamy

The US recorded music industry generated $17.1 billion in 2023.

That’s according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which published its 2023 Year End report today (March 26).

The RIAA report shows that on a retail basis, recorded music revenues in the US (money spent on streaming subscriptions, as well as physical and digital music), grew 8% YoY, marking the eighth consecutive year of growth for the world’s largest recorded music market.

On a wholesale basis – i.e. the money that makes its way back to record labels, distributors and ultimately artists – the US recorded music industry generated $11 billion in 2023 (see below).

According to the RIAA data, that was up by 7% and marked a record high for wholesale revenues.

Breaking down RIAA’s data reveals that retail revenues from paid subscription services including the likes of Spotify Premium and Apple Music grew 9% to $11.2 billion in 2023, and accounted for 78% of streaming revenues, and nearly two-thirds of total revenues.

In July 2023, Spotify increased its flagship subscription prices in 53 markets, including the US, typically by around 10%.

In addition to Spotify, price rises were implemented by other streaming services such as  Apple Music (October 2022), Amazon Music (January 2023), and YouTube Music/Premium (August 2023).

RIAA reports that revenues from limited tier subscriptions (services limited by factors such as mobile access, catalog availability, product features, or device restrictions) fell 4% YoY to $1 billion. Services like Amazon Prime, Pandora Plus, music licenses for streaming fitness services, and other subscriptions are included in this category.

Total streaming revenues (including paid subscriptions, ad-supported services, digital and customized radio, social media platforms, digital fitness apps and others) grew 8% to $14.4 billion in 2023.

These services collectively accounted for 84% of total revenues in the US for the second year in a row.

RIAA also reports that the average number of subscriptions for 2023 grew 5.7% to 96.8 million, compared with an average of 91.6 million for 2022 (see below). These figures exclude limited-tier services, and count multi-user plans as a single subscription.

Meanwhile, RIAA reports that music revenues from ad-supported on-demand services (such as YouTube, the ad-supported version of Spotify, Facebook, and others) grew at “a slower pace than previous recent years”.

Ad-supported revenues grew 2% to $1.9 billion. Ad-supported services contributed 11% of total 2023 recorded music revenues.

Elsewhere in the market, revenues from physical music formats reached $1.9 billion in 2023, up 11% versus the prior year (2022).

Revenues from vinyl records grew 10% to $1.4 billion, marking the 17th consecutive year of growth for the vinyl format in the US.

Vinyl accounted for 71% of physical format revenues in the US last year, according to the RIAA.

Additionally, RIAA points out that for the second time since 1987, vinyl albums outsold CDs in units (43 million vs 37 million) in the US last year, even as revenues from CDs also showed growth, up 11% YoY to $537 million in 2023.

Elsewhere, Digital and customized radio music revenues grew 8% to $1.3 billion in 2023.

RIAA notes that this category includes SoundExchange distributions for revenues from services like SiriusXM and Internet radio stations, as well as payments directly paid by similar services, included in this report as “other ad-supported streaming”.

SoundExchange distributions grew 5% to $1.0 billion, while other ad-supported streaming revenues of $318 million were up 22%.

“As new services continue to get fully licensed at rates reflecting music’s incredible value, revenue for artists and songwriters will only continue to grow.”

Mitch Glazier, RIAA

“Recorded music keeps reaching new heights as labels’ ‘all of the above’ commitment to meet fans everywhere they want to be continued to pay off for the entire music community,’ said RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Glazier.

He added: “Licensing of social networks, fitness apps, and short form video are adding new value […] and physical sales once again boomed, with vinyl records delivering yet another double-digit increase,”

“For artists, songwriters, and fans, this strong and sustained growth signals a time of incredible opportunity – with new formats, styles, and sounds rising up across innovative platforms and emerging ways to listen.

“As new services continue to get fully licensed at rates reflecting music’s incredible value, revenue for artists and songwriters will only continue to grow.”

Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts