The Global Music Report for 2021 is in from IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).
The international recorded music market grew by 18.5% year-on-year in 2021, driven by growth in paid subscription streaming. It marks the seventh consecutive year of growth and is well up on the 7.4% increase in 2020, although the pandemic affected that result.
Figures released today in IFPI’s report show total revenues for 2021 were $25.9 billion.
While the total figure has not passed $25 billion in the previous two decades tracked by IFPI in its report, that doesn’t take into account the impact of inflation. Nevertheless it’s another strong result for the global music industry, led by the US in first place, Japan at No.2 and the UK at No.3.
Germany and France were behind the UK music market and all three performed strongly (13.2% up for the UK), although not quite at the 15.4% average across Europe.
Paid subscription streaming revenues increased by 21.9% to $12.3 billion. There were 523 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2021.
Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew by 24.3% to reach $16.9 billion, or 65.0% of total global recorded music revenues. In addition to streaming revenues, growth was supported by gains in other areas, including physical formats (+16.1%) and performance rights (+4.0%). Based on pure sales, the biggest-selling albums of the year were by Adele, ABBA, Seventeen, BTS and Ed Sheeran.
“Record companies are working to drive this continuing growth for the broader music ecosystem,” said the IFPI report. “With local teams and expertise around the globe, they invest in local artists and genres and support their development. In high-potential growth markets across Asia, Latin America and Africa, as well as more mature markets, like Europe and North America, labels are putting down deep roots and helping to foster the continued advancement of vibrant and diverse local music ecosystems.”
Adele finished at No.1 on three IFPI charts for 2021 (Album All-Format Chart, Album Sales Chart, Vinyl Albums Chart), while BTS were named Global Recording Artists Of 2021. The Weeknd had the No.1 on the Digital Single Chart with Save Your Tears.
Opening a press conference in London to unveil the report, IFPI chief executive Frances Moore expressed concern regarding events in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
“IFPI stands with our colleagues across the music community in our support for urgent humanitarian relief for refugees and our call for an end to the violence,” she said.
Today’s music market is the most competitive in memory
Commenting on the Global Music Report, Frances Moore said: “Around the world, record companies are engaging at a very local level, to support music cultures and bring on the development of emerging music ecosystems – championing local music and creating the opportunities for it to reach a global audience. As more markets mature, they join with and contribute to the rich, globally interconnected music world.
“Consequently, today’s music market is the most competitive in memory. Fans are enjoying more music than ever and in so many different and new ways. This creates enormous opportunities for artists. Those who choose to partner with a record company, do so to benefit from the support of agile, highly responsive global teams of experts dedicated to helping them achieve creative and commercial success and build their long-term careers.
“As technologies and the online environment continue to evolve and expand, so too do the creative opportunities to share music experiences. From the metaverse, to in-game content, record companies have invested in the people and the technologies to deliver new, highly interactive experiences – adding to the evolving ways for artists to make connections with their fans.”
AIM CEO Paul Pacifico said: "It is good to see continued growth across the global music market, and especially across both physical and digital music, but it serves as an important reminder that not everyone is feeling the benefit. We have to do more as an industry to make sure people are benefiting fairly from their successes to help us move forward together as an aligned sector, which will make us stronger.
“Without sufficient understanding of the landscape, and clear support and pathways to growth for new creators and music businesses, it is easy for mistrust to take hold, and it will remain very difficult to reconcile the positive numbers in the market as a whole, with the hard reality of making a life in music at an individual, human level.”
Drew Hill, MD of Proper Music Group, said: “The latest IFPI Global Report is further proof of physical music's long term resilience, growing by 16.1% in 2021. As CD revenues rose for the first time this millenium, and vinyl continues its global ascent, it's another sign that physical and digital music are able to coexist and complement each other. Fans still treasure tangible music as a way to connect with their favourite artists, while streaming aids the discovery of new tracks. As we look to build on the resilience of physical music, it’s key that the industry takes the necessary steps to minimise its carbon impact.”
Pieter van Rijn, CEO of FUGA, said: “This ongoing growth is very positive. The boom in LATAM and MENA in particular illustrates not just growing listenership in these regions but also the local superstars that they're creating. This, alongside cheap, accessible internet and low-cost technology, is creating a new pipeline of talent that is now breaking through. FUGA, like everyone in the industry, is excited to see the return of both live and recorded performance revenue that a recovering hospitality sector is bringing.”
Recorded music revenues grew in every region around the world in 2021:
• Asia grew by 16.1%, with its largest market, Japan, seeing growth of 9.3%. Excluding Japan the region experienced a 24.6% climb in revenues. In a continuing trend, Asia also accounted for a significant share of the global physical revenues (49.6%).
• Australasia experienced growth of 4.1%. Australia (+3.4%) remained a top 10 market globally and New Zealand saw a rise in streaming revenues push the overall market to growth of 8.2%.
• Revenues in Europe, the second-largest recorded music region in the world, grew by 15.4%, a steep increase on the prior year’s growth rate of 3.2%. The region’s biggest markets all saw double digit percentage growth: UK (+13.2%), Germany (+12.6%) and France (+11.8%).
• Latin America saw growth of 31.2% - one of the highest growth rates globally. Streaming accounted for 85.9% of the market, one of the highest proportions in any region.
• Middle East and North Africa – split out as a separate region in the Global Music Report for the first time – experienced growth of 35.0%; the fastest regional growth rate globally. Streaming was a particularly strong driver in the region, with a 95.3% share of the market.
• Sub-Saharan Africa – also split out for the first time in IFPI’s reporting – saw revenue growth of 9.6% in 2021, largely driven by streaming. Ad-supported was particularly strong in this region, with revenues from this format growing by 56.4%.
• The USA & Canada region grew by 22.0% in 2021, outpacing the global growth rate. The USA market alone grew by 22.6% and Canadian recorded music revenues grew by 12.6%.
Subscribers can read our UK 2021 market report here.