Ad-supported streaming revenue also saw a sharp increase, rising 23.6 percent to $195.4 million. SoundExchange distributions for performance royalties from digital radio broadcasters -- paid to labels and artists for master recording plays -- grew slightly, by 4.2 percent, to $403.4 million.
Some more good news for labels and artists: per-stream rates for streaming services are rising. When we take RIAA’s half-year revenue numbers for on-demand streams with Nielsen Music’s on-demand streaming count (which saw total audio and video streams grow to 208.86 billion, up significantly from 2015’s half-year total of 131.61 billion streams), the average blended, per-stream, on-demand rate (whether the stream is audio or video, or on an ad-supported or paid subscription service) has risen to $0.005786 per stream in the first half of 2016, up from from $0.004838 in the first half of 2015. (Note: This doesn’t include publishing royalties.)
Within digital download sales, album and single sales both fell with digital album downloads totaling $500.1 million from 48.2 million albums, while track sales totaled $519.5 million from 432 million track downloads. That totals $1.012 billion, which is down 17.1 percent from the prior year total of $1.23 billion, when 56.4 million copies of albums generated $564.7 million and 554.5 million track downloads garnered $665.2 million. That means that as album download sales fell, the labels have been raising list prices, with the average list price coming in at $10.38 for a download album versus an average list price of $10.01 in the first half of last year. Download single tracks held stead at a $1.20 list price. More niche digital download configurations, like ringtones and kiosks, saw revenues fall to $27.2 million from $34.9 million.
Physical revenue totaled $671.9 million, down 14.3 percent from the $783.9 million that retailers -- both brick-and-mortar and online -- generated in the first half of 2015. CD album sales fell to 38.9 million units, accounting for $443.9 million ($11.41 average list price), down from 43.8 million and $531 million ($12.12 average list price).
Vinyl, the darling of indie retailers and indie labels, might finally be peaking. While Nielsen Music data -- which measures scans at the cash register for sales to consumers - shows vinyl album units up this year, the RIAA’s count -- which tracks album shipments to retailers -- sees the format backsliding, to 8.4 million units from 9.2 million in the prior year. (Vinyl's $207.1 million in revenue is still more than the $195.4 million in revenue generated by ad-supported on-demand streaming.)