Significant growth of digital performance royalties, music subscriptions, and download sales pushed U.S. record industry revenues into positive territory in 2011 for the first time since 2004, the RIAA reports.
SoundExchange distributed $292 million in digital performance royalties (the fees webcasters and satellite radio pay to play copyright recordings) to labels and performers last year, an increase of 17% over 2010.
Music subscription services (e.g. Spotify) paid the industry $241 million in 2011, 13% more than in 2010.
And digital downloads accounted for $2.6 billion, up 17% from the prior year. For the first time ever in a a single year, digital album sales topped 100 million digital albums. In fact, the 9.2% overall digital sales growth offset the decline in physical decrease of 7.7%.
"Overall, digital formats comprised slightly above 50% of total music shipments in the United States, as digital became more than half the market for the first time ever," the RIAA press release reads. "No longer just a niche, digital music has shown it can be a model - or perhaps more accurately a variety of models - for the music industry going forward." Read it here.