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CDs and vinyl outperform digital downloads in the music business

In the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) “Year-End Revenue Report,” their revenue in 2018 spiked up 12 percent to their highest amounts in over a decade, to $9.8 billion, which was up by one billion from 2017 ($8.8 billion). In a pie chart, statistics revealed that streaming did constitute three-quarters of the market’s revenue, with digital downloads (such as iTunes) at 11 percent and physical units accounting for 12 percent. At the same time, the total subscription revenues went up to $7.4 billion in 2018, from $5.7 billion in 2017.

Four years ago, in 2015, digital retailers and streaming services had an equal share of approximately one-third of the market’s revenue, but ever since, streaming is people’s method of choice for listening to their favorite artists and bands.

In 2017, Sony went back to printing vinyl after an absence of nearly three decades. This was due to the surging demand for the retro music format.

In his interview with Digital Journal in August of 2018, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Glenn Hughes (of Deep Purple fame), affectionately known as “The Voice of Rock,” stated that the resurgence of vinyl is “wonderful” and it has an element of nostalgia to it. “Vinyl is part of my early youth, as a pre-teen. Everybody likes to go back and have that moment in time. I absolutely adore vinyl,” he said.

Veteran English pop star Engelbert Humperdinck also told Digital Journal that vinyl is lovely. “I miss the big albums and the fact that you can hang the album covers on the walls, and I miss the clarity of them,” Humperdinck said.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Phil Collen, the guitarist of Def Leppard, also stated that he didn’t think vinyl would become popular again. “Vinyl is more popular than CDs, and that’s a weird thing. Vinyl is becoming a billion dollar industry. It’s a bit strange. I did not expect that. People want something tangible, that they can hold in their hands,” he told Digital Journal.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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