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

Methodological notes: 

  1. All revenue            referenced in this report are            USD with all conversions from            currencies calculated taking the average            exchange rate for each quarter            the year. No constant currency            are used in this report.
  2. Independent revenue            measured on a distribution basis,            an ownership basis. Therefore, independent            that is distributed via a            record label or a wholly            major label distributor will appear            the revenue of the respective            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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