Australia’s indie labels grossed $183M last financial year
The Australian independent recorded music sector is worth $183 million, based on figures released this morning for the 2019 fiscal year.
The numbers are up from $153 million in 2014/15 financial year.
The indie sector lost market share to the major labels in this period, but is still rating a healthy 31%, which gives it the clout when negotiating for a more level playing field.
The figures are from a Deloitte Access Economics study, commissioned by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR).
In 2018—19, the typical indie label represented 24 artists and sold over 2.5 million albums.
The streaming era continues to change the landscape for indies, with 73% of their sales from digital, compared to 2014-15 where the majority (68%) were physical.
“The rise of streaming has also promoted a shift towards releasing new singles/EPs as opposed to whole albums,” the report states.
Digital sales now make up 56% of turnover for labels and distributors, up by 15%.
Physical sales have fallen by 34% points, even despite the vinyl renaissance.
In terms of digital revenue, downloads dropped from 52% four years ago to 20% today.
Streaming shot up by 45% points to now account for 80% of total digital revenue.
With Australians enjoying a global reputation as early tech adopters, it’s not surprising that most local labels and distributors grabbed opportunities that streaming presented.
These include using platforms as a quicker and cheaper way to get to global consumers and finding more niche markets for more styles of music as Australia becomes more multi-cultural,
Indie labels are also becoming more entrepreneurial in their approach to releasing music.
The most popular genres for Aussie indies and distributors remain alternative and indie (19%) and rock and pop (16%). Electronic and dance music is on the rise, up 4%.
The vast majority of releases are new music, with re-releases accounting for less than 5%.
The impact of the local indie recorded music scene on the live sector and exports market is investigated in the report, which also acknowledges the challenges ahead.
AIR’s GM, Maria Amato, summed up, “Notwithstanding the challenges that Covid-19 has placed on us all, the Australian independent recorded music sector will strive to build itself from the ground up to overcome the many challenges of limited resources to find opportunities for growth.
“We wish all the many artists, labels and distributors operating in this space all the very best for continued success doing what they love on their own terms.”