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Global music gross sales hit a brand new file in 2021 due to the fast progress of streaming – The European Sting – Essential Information & Insights on European Politics, Economic system, International Affairs, Enterprise & Know-how


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This article is delivered to you due to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The international music trade is on a roll, posting file revenues for 2021, up by 20%.
  • Growth was pushed by a surge in streaming which now accounts for 65% of gross sales.
  • Sales of CDs and vinyl information grew for the primary time in 20 years, with vinyl gross sales rising by over 50%.

Harry Styles’s newest track, ‘As It Was’, has set a brand new Guinness World Record for the most streamed monitor by a male artist on Spotify in 24 hours. Yet the music trade is something however ‘as it was’, with streaming, relatively than CDs or vinyl information, behind latest file progress.

Global music revenues rose nearly 20% final yr, pushed by a surge in streaming which accounted for 65% of the trade’s revenues, in response to the annual report of IFPI, the group that represents the recorded music trade worldwide.

Total streaming revenues rose by 24.3% to achieve $16.9 billion. That determine contains advertising-funded streaming and $12.3 billion paid by 523 million subscribers to audio and video streaming providers, up from 443 million in 2020.

What is the World Economic Forum doing to measure the worth in media?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has modified the way in which content material is produced, distributed and consumed for media firms, manufacturers and people.

The media trade right now is characterised by so-called “destination” and “ecosystem” media. The former are content material locations for customers, whereas the latter use content material as a strategic asset in a much bigger portfolio of services. They provide comparatively low-price media providers as drivers to monetize different elements of their enterprise, similar to e-commerce, transactions, stay experiences, affiliate gross sales or branded media.

Media manufacturing and distribution creates financial worth alongside its sectoral manufacturing chains. It additionally does so via these ecosystems, more and more owned and managed by “supercompetitors”. How ought to society measure and worth their impression?

This undertaking, Value in Media, has spent a yr how particular person customers worth vacation spot media. It has analyzed enterprise mannequin methods within the media trade, studied the extent to which these methods align with folks’s preferences round fee and information administration, and mentioned areas for the trade to concentrate on in enhancing its worth proposition to society.

Building on this analysis, the undertaking is now in a second section that makes an attempt to measure the worth that ecosystem media generate in society. It will look particularly at:

  • A price-benefit evaluation of ecosystem economics in media
  • Developing a framework for brand new indicators of worth similar to high quality, innovation and shopper welfare
  • Identifying metrics that higher signify the worth of media to society, together with its contribution to associated actions similar to retail, e-commerce and shopper industries
Infographic of global recorded music revenues.
While vinyl has made a comeback, it’s streaming that has given the music trade its greatest increase. Image: IFPI

Total worldwide music trade income set a brand new file at nearly $26 billion. The United States, Japan and the United Kingdom have been the highest three greatest music markets and The Weeknd’s ‘Save Your Tears’ was probably the most streamed single with 2.15 billion streams.

Vinyl makes a comeback

Revenues from all codecs besides digital downloads grew final yr. Sales of CDs and vinyl information grew for the primary time in 20 years, up over 16% to $5 billion. Vinyl information have been significantly well-liked, rising gross sales by 51.3% (up from 25.9% progress in 2020).

The greatest promoting artist in bodily codecs was Adele whose album ’30’ offered 4.68 million CDs and 862,000 vinyl information – in each circumstances double the volumes achieved by her nearest rivals: ABBA’s Voyage (2 million CDs) and Harry Styles’s Fine Line (397,000 vinyl LPs).

Infographic of global recorded music industry revenues from 1999-2021.
The altering fortunes of the worldwide music trade. Image: IFPI

Sales progress throughout all codecs was highest within the Middle East and North Africa, up 35% on 2020, whereas Latin America (31.2%), the US and Canada (22%), Asia (16.1%) and Europe (15.4%) all registered double-digit will increase.

Korean boy band BTS topped the IFPI Global Recording Artist Chart, which measures music consumption throughout all codecs in all international locations. Taylor Swift got here in at quantity two adopted by Adele, Drake and Ed Sheeran.

A recovered trade

“Today’s music market is the most competitive in memory,” mentioned IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore. “Fans are having fun with extra music than ever and in so many alternative and new methods.

“Today, there are no barriers to entry; anyone can record a song and post it for the world to enjoy,” she added, noting that round 60,000 new songs are uploaded to 1 main platform day by day, emphasizing, she mentioned, the persevering with function of music labels in growing artists.

But it wasn’t at all times like this. A decade in the past the trade was in despair as over a 3rd of its potential revenues have been being leached away via digital piracy. In 2011, IFPI warned that if nothing was carried out, digital piracy would price the European artistic industries round $260 billion by 2015.

Fortunately for the trade, governments heeded the warning and file sharing websites both, like Napster, agreed to cost for the content material on their websites or, within the case of Sharebeast within the United States, have been shut down.

Today, expertise is creating new alternatives for the trade, mentioned Frances Moore. “From the metaverse, to in-game content, record companies have invested in the people and the technologies to deliver new, highly creative, and interactive opportunities for artists,” she added.




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