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Music industry revenue hits all-time high

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum 4 headphones on a pillow.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

The RIAA just put out the music industry’s midyear revenue report, and it’s a stark illustration of the haves / have-not divide that’s been accelerating in the streaming era. Actually, scratch that: it’s a terrific illustration of how good it is for the haves: retail revenue is up 9.3 percent to an all-time first half high of $8.4 billion, while wholesale revenue is up 8.3 percent to 5.3 billion. (You can read a good explanation of retail versus wholesale here; the industry focuses on retail since that’s where consumer streaming services get counted.)

Streaming revenue was up 10.3 percent from last year — at $7 billion, it accounts for 84 percent of music revenue in the United States. Importantly, the RIAA explicitly notes…

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