The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released its figures regarding revenue streams for the first half of 2018 and the results are revelatory for those dinosaurs (like me) who still have their heads stuck in a previous era of the music business.

Fully 75% of all revenues generated by the “sale” of recorded music were derived from streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.). 12% were from digital downloads (iTunes), and only 10% from sales of physical media (CDs and Vinyl).

The above statistics, however, only tell a very skewed version of what’s actually happening in the music business.

What isn’t obvious is that a healthy majority of that 75% streaming revenue is driven by people listening to hip hop and rap (Post Malone, Drake, Cardi B form a healthy chunk of that 75% on their own).

More “traditional” pop artists such as Taylor Swift, Adele, Eminem* and Ed Sheeran, and Josh Groban**, some of them also very successful streaming artists, make up a large chunk of their revenues from digital downloads and physical sales. What does that mean, generally speaking? To me it implies that the next generation of music listeners prefer hip hop and rap and that it is older audiences (30+) who are actually buying their music rather than simply listening to what they like based on a paid service that provides them an avenue to listen to any music from classical to death metal and all points in between.

Thus far Grace’s music can most easily be identified with a more traditional style (indie folk-pop/alternative rock). This definition isn’t a death sentence as artists such as her former touring partners Imagine Dragons, and 21 Pilots have carved out a huge niche in the streaming world, becoming massively popular streamers, but they have done so by incorporating elements of hip hop and rap in order to land solid hit singles to lure listeners to their more eclectic song catalog.

Will Grace go the same route (not saying that’s a bad thing at all), and make a portion of her music more accessible to this next generation by hooking them with a style of music with which they are more familiar before winning them over with the types of songs her current fan base is most accustomed to?

It will be interesting to hear how her new single(s) address this issue, or if they simply continue in the indie folk-pop/alternative rock sound she explored with “Just the Beginning”.

There’s a lot riding on this new single, and I can’t wait to hear what’s in store.

*Eminem’s physical sales and digital downloads vs. streaming ratio lean more toward traditional sales channels than the norm, but with a healthy amount of streaming nearly 4:1 of streaming vs. physical+downloads or 74% streaming.

**Josh Groban fans…are old. His ratio of physical sales vs. streaming is ridiculous. Only 1.08% of sales from his number one album this week derived from streaming.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: