Recorded Music Market 2018 Stream Engine
The 20,000 Foot View: For the fourth consecutive year, recorded music revenues grew again in 2018 with streaming revenue the engine room of growth. For the first time, streaming became the majority of label revenue and its growth continues to outpace the decline of legacy formats. Major label rankings remained unchanged in 2018 but the majors enjoyed varying fortunes and the continued meteoric rise of artists direct, i.e. artists without record labels, points to market transforming changes that are reshaping the entire business of record labels.
- Global recorded music revenues reached billion, up billion from 2017
- Streaming was the key driver of growth, up year-on-year to reach billion, representing of all label revenues
- Legacy formats (physical and downloads) were down billion, which was more than the billion lost in 2017
- Universal Music remained the largest label group in 2018 with annual revenues of billion, followed by Sony Music billion) and Warner Music billion)
- Universal added more revenue than any other label group: billion, an increase of well above the market average of
- Artists direct was the fastest growing segment again, increasing by to reach billion
- Independent labels generated million, in part reflecting independent revenue distributed by major labels
- Universal and Warner Music both gained points of market share, up to and respectively
- As in 2017, artists direct was the biggest market share gainer, up points to
- Independent labels collectively accounted for in 2018, down points on 2017
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Apple, CD Baby, Sony Music, Tencent Music Entertainment, Tunecore, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group
All revenue values referenced in this report are in USD with all conversions from local currencies calculated taking the average quarterly exchange rate for each quarter of the year. No constant currency values are used in this report.
Independent revenue is measured on a distribution basis, not an ownership basis. Therefore, independent revenue that is distributed via a major record label or a wholly owned major label distributor will appear in the revenue of the respective major record label.