Regular readers of Metal Insider know that last year was a good one for the beleaguered music industry, with the first annual increase in units sold since 2004. Now there’s more good news for the industry, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It turns out that 2011 also had its first increase in actual revenue in seven years. The 0.2% increase isn’t that much, but that puts revenue at just above $7 billion.
According to a report in the New York Post, the increase was fueled by subscription services, like Spotify. Rdio and MOG. While the number of subscribers to digital services is still moderately low (1.8 million), that’s up 19% from 2010, and generated $241 million. Sales of digital albums were up 25% from 2010, topping $1 billion. Regardless of what side you’re on in the subscription services or where you stand on paying for music, this should be seen as a positive sign. Many of the labels that are still standing don’t have the bloat that they had in their heyday, and while it would be naive to assume that most of the labels’ revenue is going to the artists, it still means that they’re likely being compensated better than they were in 201.