◎RIAA表示，對於像是Apple Music或Spotify的付費方案每月付費的訂閱是最大的賺錢來源，達到46.6億美元，增長33%。這個數字未計入「有限方案」的訂閱，例如Pandora Plus是其會員每月支付費用以移除廣告；或是Amazon Prime其會員只有部分有含括音樂串流。去年音樂產業從這些有限付費會員中再多獲得了7.471億美元的收入，增長了26％。來自廣告支持的串流媒體收入，如在Spotify上的免費聆聽或是在YouTube或Vevo上觀看的音樂影片，增長了15%達到7.595億美元。（網路廣播是串流媒體銷售的第二大來源，為9.528億美元。）
How the mighty have fallen. Digital downloads, typified by the 99 cent iTunes tracks that ruled the music industry as recently as four years ago, now make less money for US labels than CDs and vinyl records.
Downloads represented just 11 percent of US labels' revenue last year, a music industry trade group said Thursday. Physical sales -- the term for music formats you can actually hold, which are mostly CDs and vinyl at this point -- booked 12 percent. Instead, streaming music has been asphyxiating demand for downloads. Streaming sales were 75 percent of revenue last year, according to year-end data from the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA.
It wasn't that long ago that digital downloads and streaming stood on equal footing. In 2015, downloads and streaming each accounted for about 34 percent of the music industry's sales. But as streaming has shot up in popularity, the music industry's overall fortunes have soared: Total sales have increased 40 percent in those three years that streaming has overtaken downloads.
It underscores the meteoric popularity of streaming, which has spurred a larger, cultural shift in consumers' relationship with their music. Rather than buying music outright, like we did in the era of CDs and downloads, people are increasingly paying monthly fees for all-you-can-access tunes on services like Spotify or Apple Music or listening free by sitting through advertising on sites like YouTube. Though the shift caused an outcry among some labels and artists, the growth of subscriptions has fueled the music industry's best sales growth in years.
Overall last year, retail revenues from recorded music in the US grew about 12 percent, to $9.85 billion.
Subscriptions, like the monthly fees for Apple Music or Spotify's paid tier, were the biggest moneymaker, at $4.66 billion, up 33 percent, the RIAA said.
That number doesn't count "limited tier" subscriptions, like Pandora Plus, where members pay a monthly fee to remove advertising, or Amazon Prime, where members have some music streaming included. The industry banked another $747.1 million dollars last year from those limited paid memberships, up 26 percent.
Money from ad-supported streaming, like free listening on Spotify or music videos you watch on YouTube or Vevo, grew 15 percent to $759.5 million. (Online radio was the second biggest source of streaming sales, at $952.8 million.)
Meanwhile, download sales dropped 26 percent to $1.04 billion.
Physical sales slid less, falling 23 percent to $1.15 billion. Vinyl, continuing its trend, was the lone format slowing the decline -- vinyl record sales were up 7.9 percent, at $419.2 million.