Reports Music

Recorded Music Market 2018 Stream Engine

Report by Mark Mulligan
Cover image for Recorded Music Market 2018
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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.

Key Findings

  • Global recorded            revenues reached            billion, up            billion            2017
  • Streaming was            key driver of growth, up            to reach            billion, representing            of            label revenues
  • Legacy formats            and downloads) were down            billion,            was more than the            billion            in 2017
  • Universal Music            the largest label group in            with annual revenues of            billion,            by Sony Music            billion) and            Music            billion)
  • Universal added            revenue than any other label                       billion, an increase of            well            the market average of           
  • Artists direct            the fastest growing segment again,            by            to reach            billion
  • Independent labels                       million, in part reflecting independent            distributed by major labels
  • Universal and            Music both gained            points of            share, up to            and            respectively
  • As in            artists direct was the biggest            share gainer, up            points to           
  • Independent labels            accounted for            in 2018, down            on 2017

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Apple, CD Baby, Sony Music, Tencent Music Entertainment, Tunecore, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group

Methodological notes: 

           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.