Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

The Music Biz Is Back . . . Thanks To Streaming

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Yesterday MIDiA released its annual report card on global music revenue for 2017.  Spoiler alert . . . business is booming again thanks to the royalties being paid from streamed music.  In 2017 the collective global music industry brought in $17.4B, which is 9% higher than 2016’s $16B.  Streaming drove the increase with +39% YoY growth to $7.4B, while physical music sales and downloads were -10% YoY.  In total streaming now comprises 43% of all global music revenue.

Obviously the three major labels are enjoying the streaming surge as much as anyone.  But it’s also nice to see smaller acts and independent musicians getting in on the action too.  In 2017 $472M in streaming royalties were paid directly to artists without label middlemen.  In the early days of streaming Pandora founder Tim Westergren used to espouse the vision of a “democratized music industry” where a “musicians middleclass” could make an honest living, even without a big label contract or radio airplay.  It actually looks like that dream is coming to reality with significant payouts going deeper than just to music’s mega-stars.

As you check out the deep green stats below keep in mind the streamers themselves (the source of all this new revenue), still aren’t making any money.  Now that the artists, songwriters and labels are awash in cash again, maybe we should think about revisiting the royalty construct that’s sending all the profits to one side of the industry.  Just a thought . . .

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