Global recorded music industry celebrates biggest year of growth ever – report

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), last year the global recorded music industry celebrated its biggest year of growth since official reporting began.

Subscription streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music were seen as driving the 18.5 percent growth in the global recorded music market.

This is the seventh consecutive year of growth and a notable increase from the 7.2% increase in 2020.

According to the IFPI in its annual Global Music Report, revenue in 2021 was US$25.9 billion (£19.6 billion).

Last year saw the return of global superstar Adele, who released her fourth studio album 30, as well as blockbuster releases from the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish.

The UK music market in particular saw a 13.2% increase in sales – up from 3.8% growth in 2020.


Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have been credited with the rise (Andrew Matthews/PA)

In a press conference announcing the report, IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said there was “no doubt” that paid subscription streaming was the driving force behind the growth as it was a positive increase in all countries.

Dennis Kooker, President of Global Digital Business & US Sales at Sony Music Entertainment, said: “This has been absolutely at the core of what we have seen as the industry’s growth story over the past seven years.

“I also think that 2021 has been unique, we come from a kind of post-Covid environment that has had a negative impact on other aspects of the music business.

“So we’re seeing a recovery in some of those parts of the business. And you see the physical business is growing over 16% and part of that is a story about vinyl and physical growth but it’s also a rebound from last year.”

The industry body said there were 523 million paid subscription account users by the end of 2021, which helped boost streaming revenue by 21.9% to US$12.3 billion (£9.3 billion).

Total streaming figures, including ad-supported streaming, rose 24.3% to US$16.9 billion (£12.8 billion), or 65.0% of total global recorded music revenue.

Growth was also supported by physical formats such as CD and vinyl, which posted a 16.1% increase, coinciding with the reopening of record shops and other retailers following the global lifting of lockdowns.

Performance rights – money earned when a song is played publicly – also saw a four per cent rise as the music industry begins to recover from the pandemic.

Moore added, “Around the world, record labels are making commitments at a very local level to support music cultures and help fuel the development of burgeoning music ecosystems – by championing local music and creating opportunities to reach global audiences.

“As more markets mature, they join and contribute to the rich, globally connected world of music.

“As a result, today’s music market is the most competitive in living memory. Fans are enjoying music more than ever and in so many different and new ways. This creates enormous opportunities for artists.

“Those who choose to partner with a record label do so to benefit from the support of agile, highly responsive global teams of experts dedicated to helping them achieve creative and commercial success and build their long-term careers .

“As technology and the online environment evolve and expand, so do the creative ways to share musical experiences.

“From the Metaverse to in-game content, record labels have invested in the people and technology to deliver new, highly interactive experiences – complementing the evolving opportunities for artists to connect with their fans.” Global recorded music industry celebrates biggest year of growth ever – report

Fry Electronics Team

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