RIAA records $15 billion in U.S. recorded music sales for 2021

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has officially published its year-end revenue report on recorded music sales in 2021.

Last year, the recording industry generated a whopping $15 billion in sales, largely driven by a 24% surge in digital streaming revenue since 2020, plus a favorable uptick in the consumption of vinyl records. While the current industry clocks in 40% smaller than it was in 1999 with inflation adjustments, 2021 still proved to be the highest-grossing year in recorded music—beating out its $12 billion mark in 2020. The $15 billion breakthrough can be attributed to a steep rise in paid DSP subscriptions, the emergence of TikTok, an increased demand for ad-supported streaming, and a billion dollar year for vinyl sales.

Download revenues declined approximately 11% since 2020, and while CD sales experienced a 20% hike, neither of the two landed close to their pre-pandemic figures. However, vinyl sales comprised a significant trend, with the most recent milestone in the vinyl sector dating back to 1986, where sales exceeded $1 billion. This drastic jump, concurrent with digital streaming’s highest-grossing year thus far, has accounted for a lucrative and groundbreaking year in 2021.

Read the RIAA’s complete year-end revenue report below.


Featured Image: Andrija Kova

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