IFPI Global Music Report: Global recorded music grew 18.5% in 2021

The global recorded music market grew by 18.5% in 2021, driven by growth in paid subscription streaming, according to IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), the organisation that represents the recorded music industry worldwide. Figures released today in IFPI’s ‘Global Music Report’ show total revenues for 2021 were US$25.9 billion.

Paid subscription streaming revenues increased by 21.9% US$12.3 billion.  There were 523 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2021.

Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew by 24.3% to reach US$16.9 billion, or 65.0% of total global recorded music revenues. In addition to streaming revenues, growth was supported by gains in other areas, including physical formats (+16.1%) and performance rights (+4.0%).

Opening a press conference in London to unveil the report, IFPI Chief Executive, Frances Moore expressed concern regarding events in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis, saying: “IFPI stands with our colleagues across the music community in our support for urgent humanitarian relief for refugees and our call for an end to the violence.”

Commenting on the ‘Global Music Report’, Moore 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. Those who choose to partner with a record company, 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 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.”

Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO, India & South Asia, Universal Music Group, who represented the country on the panel launching the report, said that India’s recorded music market has doubled in size since 2016. “Streaming makes up for more than 85% of the Indian market,” he said adding that India is the 17th largest market worldwide. Furthermore, internet penetration at just 42%, presently makes for a substantial growth opportunity.

“India suddenly, in the last 18 to 24 months, has become a very key market,” said Sanyal in the report. “We are seeing very strong growth. Why? Because internet penetration is ridiculously high, and we’ve got the world’s cheapest data. If you look at it from that perspective – a healthy market, massive growth, cheap data, huge penetration, there’s no way to go but up.” As Sanyal explains, the music industry has been working strategically to build a music sector outside of the Bollywood system: “When we started signing non-film records a few years ago, it was a tiny market. It has now become a very large, serious playing field and as a result, the artist pool is increasing, the singer-songwriter pool is increasing.”

He described his approach to the growing Indian market as ‘hyperlocalisation’, with a ‘multi-label, layered system’ that caters to the incredibly diverse music ecosystem. “It’s about different labels talking differently, with their own socials, channels and audiences. As record labels, we have to understand the people, we have to listen to what they want, what they’re seeing, and what they’re feeling, and then work across these multiple verticals,” he said.

He says, “We must have a data and analytics team in order to understand the pulse of every Indian state, language and dialect. To be authentic to the native mindset is so important. “Ultimately we want to shape culture through the power of artistry. How do you shape culture? You have to dive deep into the culture, understand what the culture is talking about. You have to listen. That’s what we’re doing in India”

Recorded music revenues grew in every region around the world in 2021:

  • Asia grew by 16.1%, with its largest market, Japan, seeing growth of 9.3%. Excluding Japan the region experienced a 24.6% climb in revenues. In a continuing trend, Asia also accounted for a significant share of the global physical revenues (49.6%).
  • Australasia experienced growth of 4.1%. Australia (+3.4%) remained a top 10 market globally and New Zealand saw a rise in streaming revenues push the overall market to growth of 8.2%.
  • Revenues in Europe, the second-largest recorded music region in the world, grew by 15.4%, a steep increase on the prior year’s growth rate of 3.2%. The region’s biggest markets all saw double digit percentage growth: UK (+13.2%), Germany (+12.6%) and France (+11.8%).
  • Latin America saw growth of 31.2% – one of the highest growth rates globally. Streaming accounted for 85.9% of the market, one of the highest proportions in any region.
  • Middle East and North Africa – split out as a separate region in the Global Music Report for the first time – experienced growth of 35.0%; the fastest regional growth rate globally. Streaming was a particularly strong driver in the region, with a 95.3% share of the market.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa – also split out for the first time in IFPI’s reporting – saw revenue growth of 9.6% in 2021, largely driven by streaming. Ad-supported was particularly strong in this region, with revenues from this format growing by 56.4%.
  • The US & Canada region grew by 22.0% in 2021, outpacing the global growth rate. The US market alone grew by 22.6% and Canadian recorded music revenues grew by 12.6%.

The IFPI’s Global Music Report – State of the Industry is available here

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