Reports Music

Independent label market shares Up on all counts

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  This report presents record label market share that is measured not just by label reported revenues, but also by separating the revenues of independent labels that are distributed by major label groups, in order to give a more precise view of how the independent sector is performing. This report also contains the findings from a global survey of independent labels, fielded by MIDiA Research, which tracks industry sentiment and billions of dollars of revenue that fed into the market shares model.

Key Insights

Label characteristics:

  • Streaming is            for independent labels, but            want            income source to run in            and            believe streaming makes it            to build artist careers
  • Marketing is            becoming more difficult -            want            become smarter marketers
  • Independent labels            less than            million in annual            have an average of seven            members and grew revenues by            2020, compared to seventeen staff                       growth for those with            million 

Market characteristics:

  • On a            basis,            of 2020 major label            came from North America and           
  • Universal has            highest market share in North                       while Sony Music has the            in Latin America           
  • On a            basis, independent labels and artists            had a global market share                       in 2020, but on an            basis this figure rises to            a shift of            percentage points
  • 2020 global            revenue was            billion in distribution            and            billion in ownership terms
  • 2020 independent            in ownership terms was up            2019, reaching            billion, with independent            representing            billion and artists direct           
  • Independent label            distributed by major labels accounted                       billion, or            of all major            recorded music revenue
  • Distribution basis:            measured by the label that            the music
  • Ownership basis:            measured by the label that            the music rights holder
  • Embedded independent            revenue: major label revenue that            from associated independent labels
‘Independent’ refers to all recorded music revenue that is not Universal Music, Sony Music or Warner Music. It includes independent labels, artists direct (i.e., self-releasing artists) and large music companies in markets, like Japan and South Korea, that collectively account for the majority of revenues in their domestic markets.
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ADA, Avex Group Holdings, AWAL, Believe Digital, Big Hit Music, CD Baby, Distrokid, Hybe Corporation, IDOL, Merlin, The Orchard, PIAS, Secretly, SM Entertainment, Som Livre, Sony Music, Spotify, Universal Music, Warner Music