Paid subscriptions to streaming services are driving the growth in revenue, according to a new report.
2021 was a serious year for music, according to a new Global Music Report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The global recorded music market grew by 18.5 per cent in 2021 and is now worth an eyewatering $25.9 billion.
The exponential growth last year has been largely put down to a huge increase in paid subscription streaming on platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. 523 million users of paid subscription accounts were recorded at the end of 2021 – an increase of 21.9 per cent, or $12.3 billion, from the previous year.
Although streaming was the driving force behind the growth, revenues were up in every format except digital downloads. Even CD sales increased for the first time this millennium, and the vinyl resurgence continued with 51 per cent growth, largely down to albums from Adele, Abba, and Ed Sheeran.
As Covid-19 restrictions are eased around the world, performance rights also grew by 4 per cent. Traditionally, live show revenues are one of the biggest earners for artists, so this signals a positive change for the future of the industry.
Commenting on the findings of the new report, IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said: “Around the world, record companies are engaging at a very local level, to support music cultures and bring on the development of emerging music ecosystems – championing local music and creating the opportunities for it to reach a global audience. As more markets mature, they join with and contribute to the rich, globally interconnected music world.
“Consequently,” he continued, “today’s music market is the most competitive in memory. Fans are enjoying more music than ever and in so many different and new ways. This creates enormous opportunities for artists.”
Revenues in the US led the way with a 22 per cent music market growth, while Japan came in second and the UK in third. Australia was the world’s slowest-growing market at just 3.4 per cent as it continues to wrangle with strict Covid-19 lockdown rules.
The report has highlighted an increasing appetite for global music – artists from Latin America, Africa and Asia feature heavily in the year’s top 100 artists. Recorded music revenues grew in every region around the world in 2021.
K-pop group BTS were the biggest sellers for the second year in a row after topping the US Billboard chart three times. The band are in the running for their first Grammy at next month’s ceremony in Los Angeles for their song Butter.
Taylor Swift retained her position as the year’s second best-seller, with Adele in third as her album 30 was the most popular record of 2021, selling 4.7 million copies.
African artists like WizKid, Ckay and Burna Boy also had a great year as the Afrobeats genre continues to gain enormous popularity worldwide.
Moore concluded: “As technologies and the online environment continue to evolve and expand, so too do the creative opportunities to share music experiences.
“From the metaverse to in-game content, record companies have invested in the people and the technologies to deliver new, highly interactive experiences – adding to the evolving ways for artists to make connections with their fans.”