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RIAA 2020 Mid-Year Report: Recorded-Music Revenues In The U.S. Grew More Than 5 Percent During The First Half Of 2020 Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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RIAA 2020 Mid-Year Report: Recorded-Music Revenues In The U.S. Grew More Than 5 Percent During The First Half Of 2020 Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

A new study from the RIAA shows that revenues from recorded music in the U.S. grew to $5.7 billion in the first half of the year, a boost largely driven by strong streaming numbers.

GRAMMYs/Sep 10, 2020 - 10:55 pm

A new mid-year report from The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) shows that revenues from recorded music in the U.S. grew to $5.7 billion, up from $5.4 billion as Billboard reports, in the first half of 2020; the change marks an increase of 5.6 percent.

Paid streaming subscriptions, which increased by 24 percent to more than 72 million on average, a growth of 14 percent in the first half of 2020 when compared to the first half of 2019, largely drove the aforementioned revenue growth.

Streaming music revenues—returns from subscription services like paid versions of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and others; digital and customized radio services, including revenues distributed by SoundExchange like Pandora, SiriusXM and other internet radio; and ad-supported on-demand streaming services like YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify—grew 12 percent to $4.8 billion in the first half of 2020. 

Paid subscription revenues grew 14 percent to $3.8 billion, and further increased their share as the largest contributor, accounting for 67 percent of total revenues in the first half of 2020, according to the RIAA report. 

Digital downloads, a market that continues to shrink in the streaming age, fell from 8 percent to 6 percent for the category's share of total revenues in the first half of 2020. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the U.S. and international music business as well as the global advertising markets, "growth in ad-supported streaming revenues slowed dramatically," the RIAA writes.

As well, revenues from physical products decreased by 23 percent year-over-year to $376 million in the first half 2020, Variety reports. The RIAA report indicates a "significant impact from music retail and venue shutdown measures around COVID-19, as Q1 2020 declines were significantly less than Q2 compared with their respective periods the year prior." 

Revenues from vinyl albums increased in this year's first quarter, but later decreased in the second quarter, resulting in a net overall increase of 4 percent for the first half of 2020, the report reports. Vinyl album revenues, which reached $232 million, accounted for 62 percent of total physical revenues, marking the first time vinyl exceeded physical CDs for such a period since the '80s, as well as 4 percent of total recorded-music revenues.

Read the RIAA's 2020 mid-year report in full.

RIAA Report: Latin Music Is Growing Faster Than The Overall U.S. Music Market

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ArtsWatch: Antigua's Piracy Gamble

WTO ruling raises the stakes in Caribbean nation's stand-off with U.S.

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

In recent news ...

Permission Slip Granted: Antigua Allowed $21 Million In Infringement Earnings
On Jan. 28 the World Trade Organization advanced the long-running trade dispute between the U.S. and the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, authorizing suspension of intellectual property obligations as retaliatory sanctions for the U.S. refusal to permit its consumers to use gambling websites based on the islands. Colorful coverage included Associated Press emphasizing the notion of a "copyright haven," Reuters highlighting U.S. warnings against "government-authorized piracy," and The Hill quoting an Antiguan attorney's threats that putting their plan into effect would establish a precedent for other countries. All this publicity likely serves Antigua's negotiating strategy to extract substantial assistance from the U.S., but International Intellectual Property Alliance counsel Steve Metalitz argued, "We are of the firm view that suspending intellectual property rights is not the right solution, and that state-sanctioned theft is an affront to any society. Should Antigua determine to move forward in this manner, it would certainly interfere with the ability to reach a negotiated resolution, and would harm the interests of Antiguans." The WTO dispute began in March 2003, so even though things are speeding up, there could be a long wait before its final resolution.

Permission Slip Revoked: Chorus Of Complaints Over 'Jailbreaking' Rule Change
The latest round of Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemptions to the statutory prohibition on circumventing digital security became effective Oct. 28, 2012 and included a "90-day transitional period" for jailbreaking mobile handsets that expired on Jan. 26. This led digital rights advocates, including tech journalists, to trumpet the theme "Just a Few Hours Left to Unlock Your Phone!" PC World moaned, "As of Saturday ... [y]ou just can't unlock your phone yourself — at least, not legally. That decision was made not by voters, the courts, or even Congress. It was made by one man." This kind of oversimplification enjoys some popular support, partially because copyright law can be difficult and frustrating. The voters elect Congress, which passed the DMCA requiring the Librarian of Congress to identify exemptions to the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions every three years. Many stakeholders, including the public, trade organizations, and digital rights advocates, are invited by the Library of Congress to suggest exemptions, and then the Register of Copyrights is tasked with producing recommendations based on this wide scope of considerations. The latest mobile phone interoperability rules are complicated but clearly influenced by the Vernor v. Autodesk court case that was decided in 2010 after the previous DMCA rules were finalized, tilting judicial opinion towards treating software use as a license rather than more comprehensive ownership. So this chorus of complaints should not be considered reliably accurate.

Promoting Spotify To The U.S. House Of Representatives
On Jan. 31 the RIAA responded to reporting by Politico that revealed the U.S. House of Representatives is currently blocking music service Spotify on its computer networks because of Spotify's peer-to-peer infrastructure. Writing to the House's Chief Administrative Officer, RIAA Chairman/CEO Cary Sherman encouraged using the Why Music Matters list of legal sites as a resource and said, "We appreciate your need to ensure that the House network is secure, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop a new policy that ensures that users of the House network will be able to gain access to these new legal services. All members of the music community who create, invest in, promote, market and distribute music appreciate your efforts to fix this problem."

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

RIAA: Paid Subscriptions Pass $4 Billion In 2017 Music Revenue

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RIAA: Paid Subscriptions Pass $4 Billion In 2017 Music Revenue

Streaming music paid subscriptions became "the largest recorded music format by value" in 2017, according to industry statistics

GRAMMYs/Mar 23, 2018 - 02:39 am

On March 22 the RIAA released its 2017 year-end music industry revenue report, including the good news that digital premium subscriptions surpassed $4 billion for the first time. In a "Music On The Move" essay on Medium, RIAA Chairman/CEO Cary Sherman celebrated this and other news of growth while warning that continued change is needed to sustain this and return the recording industry to its revenue levels before internet piracy.

Sherman also hailed breakthrough songs and artists who achieved platinum levels of sales success as a sign growth helps emerging artists, most notably Khalid for both his album American Teen LP and his song "Location," which were nominated for the 60th GRAMMY Awards. Other breakthrough platinum-level songs and artists include Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" and Julia Michaels' "Issues."

Overall, the U.S. music industry revenues grew 16.5 percent at retail to $8.7 billion, the first time this century the industry has experienced two consecutive strong years of growth. Paid subscriptions ended 2017 with more than 35 million customers, up from 22 million the year before. Streaming revenues overall now account for 65 percent of total industry revenue.

As much as this is good news, it is also evidence of a changing landscape in which physical sales and paid downloads are in decline.

Calling attention to "reform legislation advancing," Sherman also endorsed the CLASSICS Act and called for copyright modernization. The music industry was cut in half by internet piracy in the early 2000s and now years of strong growth have returned it to 60 percent of its previous size. A modernized legislative approach should help digital's ability to give music creators their fair share.

With the good news coming out of 2017, time will tell if 2018 can make it three strong years in a row for the music industry.

Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? "Talk To GRAMMYs"

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ArtsWatch: Mega Coming In 2013

Kim Dotcom announces plans for cloud storage service with upgraded immune system

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

In recent news ...

Megaupload's Second Coming
In a Nov. 1 interview with Reuters, the notorious Kim Dotcom announced plans for a January launch of Mega, a new cloud storage website. Arrested earlier this year in New Zealand for his Megaupload site's pirated content, Dotcom has maintained he was singled out as a target while following standard industry practices of taking down infringing material once notified. The limited details released so far regarding Mega include an emphasis on user-based encryption, purportedly to prevent the service from being held responsible for users' decisions. Dotcom also told Reuters, "The new Mega avoids any dealings with U.S. hosters, U.S. domains and U.S. backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown." Since the new Me.ga is hosted in Gabon, one has to wonder whether its proprietor's name, Dotcom, is becoming out-of-date. Will next year also see the launch of Kim Dotga?

Copyright Alert System To Re-inspect Infringement Detection
On Oct. 30 the Center for Copyright Information responded with several pledges to accusations that its Copyright Alert System was tainted. Internet service providers have agreed to participate in CAS and provide subscribers with warnings and educational materials if they are detected infringing copyrighted content. CCI partnered with MarkMonitor to provide detection and contracted digital security consultants Stroz Friedberg to evaluate MarkMonitor. Critics voiced suspicions as reports surfaced that Stroz Friedberg previously provided the RIAA with lobbying services, and accused CCI of having failed to remain independent and impartial. CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser committed to a fresh evaluation of MarkMonitor and to make Stroz Friedberg's existing evaluation public. "We are ... sensitive to any appearance that Stroz lacks independence ... We are working to build a system consumers can trust," she said.

France's Three-Strikes Agency Trimmed, Not Chopped
Billboard.biz and the Copyright and Technology blog took a favorable close look at the section of last month's report by the French government that concerned HADOPI, the agency in charge of France's three-strikes antipiracy program. The report revealed the agency's budget will be reduced by 23 percent, a moderate reduction compared to August reports that it would be greatly reduced. HADOPI will be adding a handful of additional personnel and expanding its purview to include video games while trying to reduce costs. If the goal was to punish infringers, this graduated response program seems like a multimillion-dollar waste, but its goal is to reduce infringement while promoting France's digital music marketplace. Preliminary data has encouraged observers to hope that U.S. downloaders, who will be targeted by the Copyright Alert System, will respond as favorably as French downloaders have. It seems the warning and education model was more than 90 percent effective the first time warnings were sent, and in the cases where follow-ups were necessary, these second strikes have also become more than 90 percent effective. The job of cracking down on committed content pirates will call for a different approach, but for now, and for hopes of greater revenue from licensed digital content, French is the language of love.

After Years Of Pressure, Google Commits To Anticounterfeiting Partnership
On Oct. 31 Google and Rosetta Stone announced the settlement of the language software developer's long-standing suit against the search engine for trademark infringement and declared their intention to collaborate on anticounterfeiting efforts. The parties' press release announced, "By working together, Google and Rosetta Stone hope to improve detection methods, and better protect from abuse brands like Rosetta Stone, advertising platforms like Google AdWords, and ultimately consumers on the Internet. At the end of the day, both companies would rather cooperate than litigate, and we believe this agreement is an important step toward eliminating piracy and trademark abuse on the Internet."

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

Click on the "ArtsWatch" tag for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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Earl Scruggs Dies

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Earl Scruggs Dies
GRAMMY-winning bluegrass musician and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Earl Scruggs died March 28 in Nashville. He was 88. A member of the famous bluegrass band the Bluegrass Boys for more than 20 years of his career, Scruggs was known for his pioneering modern banjo sound, elevating the banjo from a part of the rhythm section to a lead instrument. Scruggs won his first GRAMMY Award in 1968 with guitarist Lester Flatt for Best Country Performance, Duo Or Group — Vocal Or Instrumental for "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." A new recording of the song earned him a third GRAMMY in 2001 for Best Country Instrumental Performance. Scruggs' final GRAMMY of his career came in 2004 for Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Earl's Breakdown" from his final album, 2003's Three Pickers. In 2008 he was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. (3/28)   

U.S. Recorded Music Sales Up Slightly In 2011
U.S. recorded music sales were up 0.2 percent in 2011 due to the growth in digital and synchronization revenue, according to figures released by the RIAA. Digital download revenue increased 17.3 percent to $2.62 billion, while revenue from music streaming subscriptions and performance and synchronization royalties increased 12.2 percent to $79.2 million. Revenue from subscription services totaled $241 million, with total paying subscribers reaching 1.8 million in 2011, up from 1.5 million in 2010. Despite the overall gains, physical shipments were down 7.7 percent to $3.66 billion. (3/28)

NARM To Honor Perry
GRAMMY-nominated artist Katy Perry will be honored as NARM's Artist of the Year at the Music Biz 2012 Awards Dinner Party on May 10 in Los Angeles. Previous honorees include GRAMMY winners Coldplay, Green Day and Taylor Swift. Additionally, Epitaph Records founder and Bad Religion songwriter/guitarist Brett Gurewitz will be honored with NARM's 2012 Independent Spirit Award and the RIAA will receive the Presidential Award. (3/28)