Streaming drives a growth spurt in the US music industry

Music streaming is starting to look like real money.

A doubling of paid subscriptions to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music drove overall US revenue from recorded music to $7.7 billion in 2016 — an 11.4 percent increase that marked the industry’s biggest gain since 1998.

For the first time ever, streaming platforms accounted for the majority of the US music industry’s revenue, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, which released the annual figures on Thursday.

Fresh evidence of streaming’s momentum came this week, when tracks from Drake’s new album “More Life” were played 385 million times in its debut week.

Still, the RIAA noted the industry’s revenue last year was less than half of its $14.6 billion peak in 1999 — the year Napster changed the business not for better but forever.

The RIAA’s breakdown by category attributed 51.4 percent of last year’s revenue to streaming services, 24.1 percent to digital downloads and ringtones, and 21.8 percent to physical products like CDs and vinyl.

The remaining 2.7 percent came from licenses for music used in film, commercials, television shows and other visual media.

Overall streaming revenue surged 68 percent, to $3.9 billion. Paid subscriptions to Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and others led the way with an annual increase of 114 percent, to $2.5 billion.

The surge came as the overall number of paid subscriptions more than doubled to 22.6 million last year.

Streaming radio services like Pandora and SiriusXM, meanwhile, amounted to a business about a third the size of subscription services last year, rising 10 percent to $884 million.

Ad-supported on-demand services grew 26 percent — with major contributions from YouTube, Vevo and ad-supported Spotify — adding another $469 million to the streaming total.

Streaming’s stellar year managed to offset significant declines in the industry’s two other categories: digital downloads, where revenue fell 22…

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