The Recording Industry Association of America just released its 2011 sales figures yesterday (PDF here), and there was a surprising bit of good news in them.
Total U.S. music sales actually grew for the first time since 2004. They were up 0.2%, just topping $7 billion.
The reason: digital sales were up 9.2% during the year, and physical sales (mostly CDs) dropped only 7.7%, which is smaller than in recent years.
Digital made up more than half of revenues for the first time ever.
There were some other interesting notes as well:
- Subscription service revenue is growing. The take from services like Spotify and Rhapsody was up almost 14% to $241 million. Total subscribers grew from 1.5 million to 1.8 million.
- Album downloads are growing like crazy — unit sales (105 million) and revenue ($1 billion) were both up over 20%.
- CDs are still the biggest seller by far, with more than 240 million sold for more than $3.1 billion.
- People spent more than $100 million on vinyl records last year. Unit sales and revenues were both up over 30%.
Here’s the full set of stats:
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