Physical sales top downloads in the US, with vinyl leading the way

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  • The RIAA released its annual report, which indicates streaming is dominating the US recorded music market.
  • Physical sales top downloads in the US, with vinyl leading the way image
  • The Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) has published a summary of 2017 sales of recorded music in the US. For the first time since 2011, physical sales beat the digital download market. Overall revenues for physical and digital increased 16.5% to $8.7 billion, yet the industry has just now returned to its 2008 revenue level, 40% off peak numbers. Streaming now makes up 65% of total recorded music revenues, with paid subscriptions to services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal now topping 35 million, compared with 22.7 million in 2016. More than 300 billion songs were streamed on ad-supported streaming services (YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify), but unreported streams on YouTube means that number is much higher in actuality. Downloads fell 25%, while the physical market only lost 4%, "a lower rate of decline than recent years," according to the report. Among physical formats, vinyl is rising the fastest—in 2017, revenues from LP and EP sales rose 10%. Billboard notes its the 12th straight year of increases for vinyl sales, which now make up 8.5% of all album sales in the US.