Categories: News

Australia’s Recorded Music Biz Posts ‘Healthy’ Growth In 2022

Published by
Lars Brandle

What a difference a year makes.

This time in 2022, Australia’s recorded music industry was pegged as the lowest performing market, with 4.4% growth in revenue, according to data published by the IFPI.

Today it’s closer to 8%, and in line with the global growth average.

Australia’s recorded music market grew by 8.1% in 2022, and remained a top 10 market globally, according to the IFPI’s newly-published Global Music Report 2023.

Growth is good, particularly when it’s climbing towards double digits.

“I don’t think the four percent last year was a real problem,” says IFPI CEO Frances Moore, focusing on the Australian marketing during a briefing late Tuesday (March 21) for the trade body’s annual report.

“It very often depends on what the releases are.” In 2021, “it was the lowest performing market globally, true. But it was still up. We’re seeing a healthy development of the market in Australia.”

Warner Music Group’s Simon Robson has his own theory.

“It may be COVID-related in the sense that Australia really battened down the hatches,” explains Robson, WMG’s president, international, Recorded Music. Robson has just returned from Australia, and is admittedly still shaking off jetlag.

“What I’ve noticed when I was there, so many artists are visiting Australia and the live scene is really burgeoning. And I think that really increases the interest in music again, which wasn’t there before.”

With the likes of Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fred Again visiting these parts at once in recent weeks, and others that came before, “that has helped give that bounce back.”

On a global basis, the global recorded music market grew by 9% in 2022, to US$26.2 billion, with paid subscription streaming the hero.

The result marks the eighth consecutive year of growth for a global business, that, not so long ago, appeared to be terminal decline.

Subscription streaming platforms contributed US$12.7 billion, up 10.3%, with total streaming revenue — including both paid subscription and advertising-supported — accounting for US$17.5 billion, up by 11.5%. Based on those numbers, streaming now generates two-thirds of global recorded music revenues.

As the cloud of COVID lifted, Australia’s recorded music market lifted its game.

Indeed, all 62 markets were up, just the second time this phenomenon has occurred, with some posting “massive increases,” noted Adam Granite, executive VP, market development, Universal Music Group.

According to ARIA, Australia’s recorded music industry enjoyed a 16-year high in calendar 2022.

Wholesale revenue during that period reached $609.6 million, up 7.4% from $567.8 million in 2021, the trade association reports today, for the fourth consecutive year of growth (local currency values are stated at independently-sourced exchange rates, which explains the discrepancies between ARIA and IFPI data).

Like elsewhere, subscription streaming platforms are in the driver’s seat in Australia, posting $410.7 million, up 8.9%.

Subscription brands now generate 67.4% of the local industry, a result that mirrors the global average. 

Wax continues to heat up with Aussie consumers. Vinyl albums grew by about 23% to $36.9 million, a market that’s nearly double that of digital downloads, down 17.7% to $19.2 million.

Now is not the time for a grand celebration. “There is, however, work to be done in ensuring new Australian artists are being discovered and their stories heard,” comments ARIA chief executive officer, Annabelle Herd.

“The continued growth of subscription services is a great indicator that more Australians are listening to more music than ever, but it also highlights the significant role these platforms play in driving discoverability, given they account for substantially more than half of overall consumption.”

The absence of an Australian album in the ARIA Albums Chart last week alone, notes Herd, “proves the need to develop an urgent strategy with all players involved in the Australian music ecosystem to ensure that the growing number of Australian music lovers can connect with Australian artists.”

Read more here and download the IFPI’s data here

Lars Brandle

Lars Brandle has reported at the frontline of the international music industry for over 20 years. A former musician, Lars joined the American music trade “bible” Billboard in 2000 and went on to serve as Global News Editor, based in London. Now Billboard’s Australia correspondent and senior writer with The Brag Media, Lars has appeared on CNN, the BBC and ABC, American Public Media and South Africa's EastCoast Radio, and he has spoken at Midem in Cannes, Music Matters in Singapore, Amsterdam Dance Event, London's City Showcase and at industry gatherings on both sides of the Tasman. His works have been published by Reuters, Media Week, Spin, and The Hollywood Reporter, and he has featured as a pundit in the Australian Financial Review, Business Review Weekly and Britain’s The Independent.

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