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Recorded music market 2020 Pandemic-era growth

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  The global pandemic turned the music industry upside down. While live was decimated throughout 2020, after an initial downturn, the recorded music market returned to growth and finished the year with an acceleration that suggests a strong 2021 lies ahead.

Key Insights

  • Recorded music revenues grew to        billion in 2020 despite a pandemic slowdown. Revenues were up        and        billion compared to growth of        billion and        in 2019
  • In        2020, global revenues were down        year-on-year (YoY) but by        were up        suggesting a strong 2021 if that momentum is maintained
  • Streaming was again the key source of growth, up        to reach        billion, representing        of all label revenues, although the majors as a group grew slightly slower than the market
  • For the second successive year, the major labels saw streaming revenue increase by less than the prior year, up        billion in 2020 compared to        billion in 2019
  • Sony Music had the fastest major label streaming growth, up        while artists direct increased streaming revenue by       
  • Streaming was the only revenue source to grow in 2020 with other revenue (predominately performance and sync) down by        in 2020, hit hard by the pandemic
  • The major labels saw collective market share fall from        in 2019 to        in 2020 with artists direct the main beneficiary, growing market share to       
  • Sony Music was the fastest growing major, increasing revenues by        to reach        billion

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ADA, AWAL, Sony Music, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Virgin Music Label & Artists Services, 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.

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