News April 20, 2018

Study: Global recorded music revenues now $17.4b, annual growth rate of 8.5%, indie sector now $4.8 billion

Staff Writer
Study: Global recorded music revenues now $17.4b, annual growth rate of 8.5%, indie sector now $4.8 billion

2017 was a stellar year for the recorded music business, according to figures by Midia Research.

The global recorded music industry grew by US$1.4 billion to be now worth $17.4 billion in 2017 in trade values.

This follows its $1 billion growth in 2016.

Current figures means that the biz has almost reached 2008 levels ($17.7 billion).

With Midia Research estimating growth at 8.5% a year, the losses of much of the last ten years of decline are now extinguished.

The figures also showed that the independent sector is growing – and so too is that sector made up of artists who release their music directly to fans on platforms.

The recorded music biz’s growth was fuelled by streaming: its growth by 39% year-on-year meant that streaming grew a remarkable $2.1 billion to a current total of $7.4 billion.

Streaming now represents 43% of all revenues.

Its rapid escalation more than compensates for the $783 million (or minus 10%) loss as physical and download formats continued to decline.

Universal Music remains the largest record label in the world, with a 29.7% revenue share amount to $5.1 billion.

Sony Music was second with a 22.1% share equating to $3.6 billion.

Warner Music, on third, had the largest growth to a 18% share, and reaching $3.1 billion.

Independent artists and labels collectively generated $4.8 billion, and now account for 27.6% of the global market.

But Midia founder Mark Mulligan is at pains to point out that these figures ate based on distribution revenues, not on ownership as indie groups as AIM or AIR do.

Mulligan said, “Much additional independent sector growth was absorbed by revenue that flowed through digital distribution companies owned by major record labels that were thus reported in major label accounts.”

An interesting aspect of the figures is that artists who decide not to release their music through labels, majors or indies, are finding success.

These are the artists who released their music directly to fans via platforms such as Believe Digital’s Tunecore, CD Baby and Bandcamp.

These grew 27.2% year on year, from $371 million in 2016 to $472 million in 2017.

They represented 2.7% in revenue: not enough to suggest that labels are in danger of becoming obsolete, but enough to show that the do-it-yourself route is being seen as a viable option in the current digital landscape where all rules are being broken and career moves are more diversified than ever.

Said Mulligan: “Up until now, this section of the market has been left out of measures of the global recorded music market.

“With nearly half a billion dollars of revenue in 2017 and growing far faster than the traditional companies, this sector is simply too large to ignore anymore.”

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