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Recorded Music Market 2019 A Thriving and Transforming Industry

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  With five successive years of growth, the recorded music market has transitioned from a recovering industry into a thriving business. The stars are aligning, with growing consumer demand, business model innovation, a golden era for independent artists and surging interest from institutional investors. 2019 more than just picked up where 2018 left off; it was a year of accelerated growth and illustration of a market that, while dominated by streaming, has many other strings to its bow.

Key Insights

  • Global recorded music revenues reached        billion, up        billion from 2018
  • Streaming was again the key source of growth, up        year-on-year (YoY) to reach        billion, representing        of all label revenues
  • However streaming growth slowed compared to 2018, growing less in both percentage and absolute terms, adding        million less new revenue
  • Legacy formats (physical and downloads) were down        billion, nearly half the decline registered in 2018
  • Universal Music was the big winner in 2019, adding more revenue        million) than Warner Music and Sony Music combined        million)
  • Sony Music significantly improved on its 2018 performance with        annual growth, but lost ground to Warner Music which grew by       
  • In 2015 Warner Music’s recorded music revenue was just        of Sony Music’s, and at the end of 2019 it was        – just        million separated the two labels in 2019
  • Sony Music was the only major to add more streaming revenue in 2019 than in 2018
  • Independent label revenue grew by        outperforming both Sony and Warner
  • Artists direct was the fastest-growing segment again, growing        to reach        million, adding more revenue in 2019        million) than in 2018        million)
  • Universal Music was the only major label to gain market share in 2019, up from        in 2018 to        for FY 2019 – its highest share since 2015
  • Artists direct was the only other segment to gain overall market share, adding        points to reach        market share
  • Combined, artists direct and independent labels had a        market share in 2019, up        points from 2017 and        points from 2015

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ADA, Believe, BMG, CD Baby, Concord, Downtown Music Holdings, Fuga, Kobalt, Level, Sony Music, Spotify, Tencent, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group

Methodological notes: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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

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