IFPI attributed the fall in performance rights (the use of recorded music by broadcasters and public venues) down to the near-global shutdown of live music and hospitality venues as a result of the pandemic. Global sync revenues were also impacted by COVID-19 with filming production delays leading to a 9.4% drop in income. Sync’s share of total global revenues stands at 2%, a slight fall on 2019.
Nevertheless, sustained growth in record sales as a result of streaming means that the industry has climbed back above 2003 levels when global revenue totaled $20.5 billion — at least on an absolute dollar basis, not counting for inflation. IFPI started reporting global music sales in 2001 when the recorded music industry was worth $23.6 billion. Piracy and declining physical sales saw the market bottom out at $14 billion in 2014.
There are now 443 million users of paid streaming services worldwide, reports IFPI, up from 341 million in 2019. Streaming accounted for more than half of all recorded music revenues in 48 markets, up 12% on last year’s total.
“These are not easy times, but the music community with its creativity, innovation and determination continues to drive forward, to an even greater future,” said IFPI chief executive Frances Moore in the report’s foreword. She said the rise in revenues at a time of global crisis highlighted “the enduring power of music to console, heal and lift our spirits.”
IFPI’s Global Music Report 2021 Key Figures:
- Global music sales up 7.4% to $21.6 billion
- Streaming subscription revenues up 19.9% to $13.4 billion
- 4.7% drop in physical revenues to $4.2 billion
- 10.1% fall in performance rights revenues to $2.3 billion
- 443 million paid music subscribers
- Streaming’s share of global music sales: 62%
Excluding streaming, digital revenues slipped 15.7% with download sales generating just over $1.2 billion for labels, representing less than 6% of all music sales worldwide.
CD and vinyl sales totaled $4.2 billion in trade revenue, accounting for just under a fifth (19.5%) of the total global market. Breaking the physical market down, CD sales were down 11.9% year-on-year, while vinyl’s ongoing resurgence saw revenues rise by 23% on 2019, nearly four times the 6.1% growth of vinyl in 2019.
In terms of world markets, the U.S. retains its long-held number one position with music sales growing 7.3% in 2020, driven by an almost 13% rise in streaming revenues. Japan holds steady in second place despite experiencing a 2.1% fall in revenues.
The third and fourth biggest markets for recorded music remain the United Kingdom (+2.2%) and Germany (+5.1%), respectively. The rest of the top 10 is made up of France, South Korea, China, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, which replaces Brazil in 10th place.
IFPI does not provide a market-by-market revenue breakdown.
For the sixth consecutive year, Latin America was the fastest-growing region (+15.9%) with streaming revenues up 30% year-on-year to account for just under 85% of the region’s total music sales. All of the region’s markets, except Peru, experienced double-digit growth in 2020, Sipho Slamini, Universal’s CEO for South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, noted in a Zoom panel with IFPI.
The market in Asia grew 9.5% overall with digital revenues making up 50% of total revenues for the first time, while revenues in Europe, the world’s second-largest recorded music region, grew by 3.5% on the back of a 20% rise in streaming revenues.
The combined U.S. and Canada region grew 7.4% in 2020. Also included in the “Global Music Report” for the first time is regional data for Africa and Middle East, where music sales grew by 8.4%, primarily driven by the uptake of streaming services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).