According to the latest RIAA report for 2017, streaming music services lead, like Spotify and Apple music. Within that category, surprising results were achieved by the so-called limited tier paid subscriptions, like those available through Amazon and Pandora. Although still losing ground, physical media like vinyl records and CD's climbed on the sales ladder. The big loser is digital downloads, which might come as a surprise due to the steady climb it had over the last decade. Overall, the Music Industry recorded growth for a second straight year with $8.7 billion, which is its best result since 2008.

Streaming and vinyl are winning

As the numbers show, the rise of streaming services continues. They overtook sales in the music industry in 2016 and in 2017 they increased by over $5.7 billion, a whopping 43 percent, which is almost two-thirds of all music revenue. The reasons for such a rise, among others, might be attributed to industry moves like Microsoft enabling a Spotify app on its Xbox One machines. The aforementioned limited tier paid subscriptions rose by 11 percent compared to 2016 and currently hold 14 percent of the whole subscription market -- along with the rise of vinyl records.

The upsurge in vinyl record sales, $395 billion, even persuaded industry giants like Sony to start pressing vinyl records again after a break of almost 30 years.

The reasons behind such an upsurge are often attributed to two factors -- the sound quality, particularly preferred by music aficionados, and "art experience" that comes with cover art and included liner notes.

Downloads and CD's are losing

Surprisingly, the biggest losers seem to be digital downloads. For the first time since 2011, downloads have fallen behind physical music media.

As the RIAA pointed out, this is the third year this category has posted a loss in double digits. It seems that wide online availability of these downloads is not helping. As the RIAA data shows, the revenue from digital downloads in 2017 fell by 25 percent, to $1.3 billion. The music industry is certainly crippled in this respect by the pirate copies of music files, including even those that can be found on the Dark Web.

CD sales are also continuing to decline. Their shipments fell by 6 percent in 2017, down to $1.1 billion. While many are proclaiming a speedy death of this medium, there is always a possibility that scarcity of some titles will drive up the prices of secondhand CD's, which is something that in the end can benefit the music industry.

While the recovery of the music industry seems to be continuing, RIAA Chairman Cary Sherman is optimistic, stating that "there’s still much work to be done to make this growth sustainable in the long term.”