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Two out of every five music purchases in 2017 came from the independent sector



According to the WINTEL 2018 report, global revenues generated by just the independent record labels was $6.9 billion in 2017, which accounted for 39.9% of the global market share.

Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN said:

“As 2018 draws to a close, we are delighted to publish the third edition of the annual WINTEL report, which highlights the global independent market share increasing to an astounding 39.9% in 2017 a figure that outstrips both the major labels and overall music sector.”

The new report commissioned by Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) analysed the global economic and cultural impact of the independent music sector. It mapped out the global market share of the independent sector at copyright, rather than the distribution level. As stated by WIN, the results from 33 countries were put together to represent a comprehensive assessment of the global independent record label sector.


As mentioned in the report, streaming revenues for independent companies grew by 46% in 2017 to $3.1 billion, which now accounts for just under 44% of the sector’s overall income, compared to 33% in 2016. The 2018 survey shows that 76% of artists signed to independent labels choose to renew their contracts at the end of the term, 42% of staff at independent companies have remained there since launch, and the average age of independent labels are 14.9-years-old.

“There are numerous interesting outcomes from this survey but one thing that really stood out for me is the fact that 76% of artists are choosing to renew their contracts with their labels, which shows that the indies are forging great bonds with those they represent,” said Wenham.


According to Wenham, it has been another turbulent twelve months for our industry on a lot of levels.

“But we have emerged with the prospect of powerful new legislation to protect our businesses, fantastic growth in some unexpected territories and increasing support from music fans who have continued to enjoy and engage with the amazing music coming out of the worldwide independent community,” added Wenham.

The figures in the report also hint at another encouraging trend for independent labels: that their investment in artists’ long-term development, and in the album format, is an advantage rather than a risk in the streaming era. While major labels expend considerable marketing resources to break individual tracks, indies are investing for the long term: and are developing sustainable businesses as a result.

Martin Mills, Founder of the Beggars Group and current Chairman of WIN, added:

“With two out of every five ‘purchases’ of music going to the independent sector, now may be a good time to draw breath and celebrate this incredible achievement. In an era in which diversity of all kinds is prized, yet consolidation is the norm, for a cultural sector such as music to achieve such remarkable diversity of both art and business models is truly extraordinary, and due in no small part to our ability to be strong together through our collective organisations.”


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