Overall music retail value slipped 0.5% to $3.17 billion, with total digital sales improving 6.3% to $2.32 billion and physical sales of music continuing to suffer -- down 17% to $748 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Much of the industry’s growth came from streaming music services -- up 23% to $1.03 billion versus $834 million in the first six months of 2014. U.S. paid subscriptions were at 8.1 million. Looking at the six-month average of 2015, it was 7.9 million a year ago; and 5.5 million in 2013.
But one key digital area -- individual digital track sales -- suffered, declining 9% to $688 million. At the same time digital album sales rose slightly, up 4% to $571 million.
Permanent digital music downloads now represent a 40% share of the music business, with total streaming at 32%; physical sales at 24%; synchronization at 3%; and ringtones/ringbacks, at 1%.
The streaming music service category includes subscription music services like Rhapsody and paid versions of Spotify; “SoundExchange” distributions -- like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio; and other ad-supported streaming services.
In terms of percentage of music shipments, digital is now at a 76% share, while physical units are at 24%.