2022 US music revenue: Vinyl outsells CDs in units for the first time since 1987

Record player

Updated on May 16, 2023

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released its annual report of US music industry revenue for 2022. While 2021 reflected post-COVID returns to “normalcy,” 2022 seemed to be a more typical year, while still reflecting ongoing trends.

Below is a chart summarizing US music industry revenue for 2022. The full report is available here.

2022 RIAA US music revenue
Overall 2022 US music revenue. (RIAA)

Digital formats

While streaming is now the dominant music format, it still found room for revenue growth. Streaming revenue increased to 84% of total revenue, with a record total of $13.3 billion.

Meanwhile, digital downloads, i.e. buying MP3s from iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, etc., declined by 20% from 2021, coming in at $495 million. Digital purchases now make up 3% of total music sales, significantly down from its all-time high of 43% in 2012.

Physical formats

Meanwhile in physical media, vinyl records continue their nostalgia-driven comeback from being relegated to Goodwill fodder (or at least how I’ve viewed records). The big news for everyone’s favorite retro format: for the first time since 1987, vinyl records outsold CDs in terms of units, not just dollar amounts. While vinyl revenue grew 17% to $1.2 billion, CD revenue fell by 18%, to $483 million.

Still, physical media overall only makes up 11% of all music sales, a similar percentage as in 2021.

My personal music usage

My music listening habits haven’t changed since 2021. I currently have an Apple Music subscription, and use that combined with my existing MP3 collection (for a few songs Apple Music doesn’t have) and listening to podcasts. It’s working OK, though I also mainly use Apple devices at home, and don’t feel inclined to go back to Spotify.


I’m guessing any future sales growth in music will be driven by vinyl record fans and/or people paying for Spotify and Apple Music subscriptions. CDs and MP3s, meanwhile, will probably see more sales declines. That probably isn’t good news for musicians, who earn more from music sales versus streaming services. PBS’ “Two Cents” YouTube series in 2020 had an episode about ways to support musicians:

How do you listen to music? Do you still buy CDs, MP3s, and/or vinyl?

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay


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Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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