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 Darko

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

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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