Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Music Streaming Cuts into Industry Profit

The Recording Industry Association of America said U.S. consumers are starting to migrate from buying music online to streaming their favorite tracks as revenues from music streaming services rose to 28 percent while digital downloads dropped 12 percent.

Total earnings from streaming services increased from the previous year's US$673 million to US$859 million in the last six months. The category included on-demand services such as Vevo and YouTube, streaming radio such as Pandora and Sirius XM and subscription services such as Spotify and Apple's Beats Music.

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Meanwhile, income from digital downloads like the albums and singles available on Apple's iTunes decreased by 12 percent to US$1.3 billion in the first half of the year.

Altogether, the gross value of digitally distributed forms of music was US$2.2 billion, almost the same as in the previous year.

The information illustrates the paradigm shift in the music industry. Decades of doing business based on per-album or per-song deals are being overtaken by the availability of music that is being sold like a utility, according to CNET's Joan Solsman.

Users can either sit through ads or pay a subscription fee to digitally receive access to a vast stream of songs.

RIAA data suggests that streaming services comprise the majority of the music industry's total sales. Streaming added 27 percent of the industry's revenues in the first half compared to 20 percent of the previous year.

Back in 2007, the income received from this service amounted to only three percent, just nine percent of today's value.

Music sold on physical media such as CDs and DVDs continued to drop. Revenues from this source came to US$898 billion in the first half of the year or 14 percent lower year-on-year.

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