Last year Australian record labels posted the best result since 2004
Let’s be honest, 2019 feels like a distant memory at this point. But there is a good news story that offers some light during darker times.
At the beginning of each year, ARIA releases wholesale figures for the recorded music industry and it turns out that 2019 was a very good one for Australia’s record labels.
The 2019 wholesale figures, which show a 5.5% annual increase from 2018 and marks a fifth consecutive year of growth, indicates the record biz generated over $555 million in revenue.
The results reflect the strength of the music industry before the COVID-19 crisis and are the best numbers that the industry has seen since 2004, according to ARIA.
“But just because these waters are uncharted,” he wrote, “it does not mean we cannot navigate our way out. Our industry is no stranger to disruption. Now, we need to transform again. We are only one month into this crisis, but we are following the trends and adapting.”
Last year’s results stand in stark contrast to the previous decade when local recorded music revenues were in steep decline, during a period of digital disruption and peak piracy.
In 2010, the industry stood at $384 million, with physical sales making up 73% of the Australian music market. Today, the Australian recorded music industry is a digital-first business.
“2019 was a strong year for the Australian recording industry as we saw the fifth consecutive year of growth,” said Rosen. “2020 will be a year like no other due to the impact of COVID-19, but Australian artists and the music industry have faced numerous challenges over the years and have consistently adapted and innovated.”
Streaming revenue now accounts for over 80% of the Australian music market, a result that reflects 18% year-on-year growth in 2019, and includes revenue from major subscription services like Apple Music and Spotify.
Income from digital downloads, across both albums and tracks, declined by 34%, while physical sales also suffered an overall decline of 21%.
Revenues from vinyl in Australia sees modest growth at 2.5% and now makes up 38% of physical album revenue in Australia, up from 29% in 2018.
The last period of five consecutive years of growth on record was between ’95 and ’99.