Reports Music

Recorded music market 2021 Red letter year

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 foot view

MIDiA suggested in 2020 that 2021 was going to be a strong year for the recorded music market. Indeed, 2021 turned out to be the fastest-growing year in living memory, with growth across most formats – compared to in 2020, when streaming was the only growth segment. Streaming was the growth engine once more, also registering record growth in 2021.

Key Insights

  • Global recorded music revenues were        billion in 2021, up        compared to        growth in 2020
  • Most formats grew (physical        performance and sync        but it was streaming that saw the most growth, up        adding a record        billion in 2021 to reach        billion
  • Streaming represented        of all recorded music revenues in 2021, up from        in 2020
  • The big change in 2021 was the growth of non-digital service provider (DSP) streaming, which accounted for        billion, up        from 2020
  • DSP revenues were        billion, up        from 2020, reflecting the success of label efforts to diversify streaming revenues away from a dependency on DSPs
  • For the second year, Sony Music Group (SMG) had the fastest growing streaming revenues of any major, up        on 2020 and ahead even of artists direct which grew by       
  • Unlike previous years, market shares were relatively stable with only Sony Music (up        points to        and artists direct (up        points to        gaining, while all others went down slightly
  • For the first time since 2017, the major labels did not see collective market share decrease, holding stable at       

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.

Companies and brands mentioned in this report : Amazon Music, Apple Music, AWAL, Believe, CD Baby, DistroKid, Epidemic Sound, Kobalt, Meta, Peloton, Snap, Sony Music Group (SMG), Splice, Spotify, The Orchard, TikTok, TuneCore, Twitch, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and YouTube Music.

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