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Reports of the CD’s death are greatly exaggerated

  • Streaming is a bulldozer. Vinyl sales remain strong. Downloads continue their cliff dive. CDs? Ask yer Dad. That’s the story from the RIAA for the first half of 2019 in the US of A:

    Digital download revenue is down 18% on Q1-Q2 2018. Americans now spend as much on digital downloads (9%) as they do on physical media. And of the 9% revenue brought in by physical media, 4% comes from vinyl sales. That leaves the CD at 5%. Cassettes remain a rounding error.

    There are 327 million people living in the United States but in Germany, we find 83 million people and a very different format revenue story.

    The BVMI‘s reporting for the German music industry for the first half of 2019 shows that digital downloads sit at 6.6% – none too dissimilar to the USA – but that streaming has penetrated only 56.4% of the German market. That’s a long way back from the USA’s 80%.

    The most interesting difference to the USA comes via revenue generated by physical media. Whilst vinyl sales in Germany cut a similar percentage of the revenue pie (4.4%), CD sales are considerably more robust at 28.2% of total revenue. That’s almost six times the US figure.

    In Germany, CDs are a long way from dead and still comfortably eclipse vinyl as the physical format of choice.

    Read the full RIAA report here and a summary BVMI report in English here.

    Further information: RIAA | BVMI

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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