DIY Musicians Earned $873M From Recorded Music Last Year, As Industry Grew 11.4%

Global recorded music industry revenue grew by 11.4% in 2019 topping $21.5 billion, an increase of $2.15 billion over 2018, according to a new MIDiA report.

“That growth was bigger than 2018 in both absolute and relative terms. Whichever way you look at it, growth accelerated,” said Mark Mulligan of MIDiA, “and – crucially – this growth was achieved even though streaming revenue growth slowed.”

D.I.Y. Is Music’s Fastest Growing Segment

Of the overall $2.15 billion, 4.1% or $873 million went to what the survey calls “Artists direct” or DIY artists without a record label deal.

Artists without labels were the fastest-growing segment of the market, growing 32.1% in 2019. In 2015, this category was just 1.7% of the overall recorded music market.

The major record labels accounted for 67.5% of the total – down a half a point from 2018. The remaining 32.5% came from independent labels.

Disruption Ahead

“The continued boom in recorded music revenues is accompanied by a growing complexity to the underlying business, with increased diversification of business models and artist/label relationships. Over the next few years continued revenue growth will be both accompanied and driven by business model innovation and disruption.”

More Key Takeaways

  • Big year for Universal: Universal Music Group was the big winner among the majors, growing both faster than the other two majors and the total market to reach 30% market share. Universal also added more revenue in 2019 ($729 million) than Warner Music and Sony Music combined ($650 million).
  • Race for 2nd heats up: In 2015 Warner Music’s recorded music revenue was just 67% of Sony Music’s, and at the end of 2019 that share had increased to 93%. Just $279 million separated Warner and Sony at the end of 2019. Based on 2019 growth rates, Warner would be level with Sony by the end of 2022. 
  • Still stream powered: Streaming was again the key source of growth, up 24% year-on-year to reach $11.9 billion, representing 56% of all label revenues. But growth is slowing; streaming revenue grew by $2.3 billion, which was $64 million less than in 2018. The reason that the total market was able to grow as fast as it did in spite of this is because downloads and physical fell by $0.4 billion less than in 2018. So, ironically, it was the improved performance of legacy formats that enabled streaming’s performance to be good enough to drive 11.4% growth.

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