2014 seems to be the watershed year in the recorded music business in the US. According to the recently published sales figures (shipment value) of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the revenue of US $1.87bn from music streaming (SoundExchange distributions as well as subscription & ad-supported streaming) accounted for 41.4 percent of the digital music sales. Whereas music streaming revenue increased by 30 percent in 2014, digital album sales declined for the first time by 6.7 percent to US $1.16bn and digital singles’ sales by 10.2 percent to US $1.41bn. Additionally, the CD has become a by-product with a market share of just 27.4 percent (US $1.86bn). CD sales again decreased by 12.7 percent in 2014. All in all, digital music sales accounted for 66.5 percent of the US $6.78bn overall recorded music sales (except synchronization royalties). The total recorded music revenue slightly decreased by 0.4 percent compared to 2013.
In the following long-term analysis of the recorded music market in the US, the digitization process in past fourteen years is also highlighted as well as the tremendous change in the digital music market segment.