Report: Indie record labels around the world are officially growing faster than the big three majors
The third WINTEL report from the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) shows that the global independent recording sector is increasingly becoming a formidable force.
The report was compiled from data from indie trade associations from 33 countries, including Australia via the Australian Independent Records Labels Association (AIR).
It shows that indies increased their global market share from 39.6% in 2016 to 39.9% in 2017.
WINTEL’s calculations are based on copyright ownership, rather than distribution, which previously got diluted as it gave major labels a share of the recorded action.
Its research found that the indies’ global revenues grew from US$6.2 billion n 2016 to $6.9 billion in 2017, a year-on-year growth of 10.9%.
In comparison, WINTEL says, revenue growth by major labels was 9.7% in the same period.
Revenue for self-releasing artists’ is now $101 million from $94 million the year before.
Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN said, “As 2018 draws to a close, we are delighted to publish the third edition of the annual WINTEL report, which highlights the global independent market share increasing to an astounding 39.9% in 2017 – a figure that outstrips both the major labels and overall music sector.
“There are numerous interesting outcomes from this survey but one thing that really stood out for me is the fact that 76% of artists are choosing to renew their contracts with their labels, which shows that the indies are forging great bonds with those they represent.”
Wenham continued: “It has been another turbulent 12 months for our industry on a lot of levels but we have emerged with the prospect of powerful new legislation to protect our businesses, fantastic growth in some unexpected territories and increasing support from music fans who have continued to enjoy and engage with the amazing music coming out of the worldwide independent community.”
The expansion of the independent sector is primarily due to the digital landscape– especially the growth of streaming.
As the global number of subscribers now sits at 176 million (64 million in 2016), streaming revenue for indie labels grew 46% in 2017.
In this period, 47% said their cash flow grew considerably, especially given that streaming allows them to break into new territories which five years ago would have been seen as inconceivable to enter.
It also has created a consumer culture of music discovery and sharing – beneficial when indies are seen as the biggest supporters of new music.
More indies are reporting that they are making more money from outside their home borders.
The advent of downloads had already created a lesser need for physical structure and diminished lead times.
This has been built on with ma growth in domestic content, expanded label services and a culture of being able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing landscape.
Two interesting figures from the new research found that 76% of artists signed to indies chose to renew their contracts.
42% of people who worked in indies have been there since the company began.