IFPI Report: Streaming Makes Up 50% of Global Recorded Music Revenue for First Time; Canadian Music Market Grows 8% in 2019

The IFPI, the organization that represents the recorded music industry worldwide, and of which Music Canada is a member, has issued its annual Global Music Report, which covers the industry’s financial results for 2019.

“While the numbers we are reporting are a snapshot of the business last year, the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges unimaginable just months ago,” Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, acknowledges. “In the face of a global tragedy, the music community has united behind efforts to support those affected. This is a critical and ongoing priority as our member record companies work to continue to support the careers of artists, musicians and employees around the world.”

According to the report, in 2019 total revenues for the global recorded music market grew by 8.2% to US$20.2 billion. This continued growth, which has been fairly consistent in recent years, was again driven by the streaming market. Streaming revenue grew by 22.9% to US$11.4 billion and for the first time accounted for more than half (56.1%) of global recorded music revenue. Growth in streaming more than offset a -5.3% decline in physical revenue, a slower rate than 2018.

Streaming’s growth was driven by a 24.1% increase in paid subscription streaming with nearly all markets reporting growth in this area. There were 341 million users of paid streaming services at the end of 2019 (+33.5%), with paid streaming accounting for 42% of total recorded music revenue.

2019 Regional Highlights:

  • The U.S. and Canada grew by 10.4%, remaining the largest region for recorded music revenues, accounting for 39.1% of the global market. The U.S. grew by 10.5%, its fifth consecutive year of growth. Canada, which was largely flat the prior year, increased by 8.1%.
  • For the fifth consecutive year, Latin America was the fastest-growing region (+18.9%) with its three largest markets growing strongly: Brazil (+13.1%); Mexico (+17.1%); and Argentina (+40.9%).
  • Europe, the world’s second-largest region, grew 7.2% – after being almost flat in 2018 – with the U.K. (+7.2%), Germany (+5.1%), Italy (+8.2%), and Spain (+16.3%) reporting strong growth.
  • Asia saw overall growth of 3.4%, a slower rate of growth than 2018, but this was largely due to Japan (-0.9%), which saw a decline in physical sales (-4.8%), its dominant format. Elsewhere in the region, South Korea, China, and India all experienced strong growth, (8.2% 16.0% and 18.7% respectively).
  • Australasia grew by 7.1% with overall digital revenues rising 11.6% and physical format revenues falling 20.4%. Australia, a top 10 market, recorded growth of 6.0% with neighbouring New Zealand posting an increase of 13.7%.

Globally, the most listened to artists of 2019 were: 1) Taylor Swift, 2) Ed Sheeran, 3) Post Malone, 4) Billie Eilish, 5) Queen, 6) Ariana Grande, 7) BTS, 8), Drake, 9) Lady Gaga, and 10) The Beatles.

The biggest album of 2019 globally was a best-of collection from Japanese boyband ARASHI, followed by Taylor Swift's latest album, Lover.

A summary of the report's highlights can be downloaded here.

The full IDPI report with data and analysis can be purchased here.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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