The recorded music sector’s international trade body, the IFPI, has published its Digital Music Report 2015, detailing key trends in the recorded music sector over the last year – with the headline news that digital music revenues are now on a par with physical globally, that global industry revenues are marginally down 0.4 per cent to US$14.97 billion in 2014, and that subscription services at the heart of the recorded music portfolio business.
Digital revenues rose 6.9 per cent to US$6.9 billion, representing 46% of all global music sales and underlining the deep transformation of the global music industry over recent years. Total revenues in 2014 were US$14.97 billion although it should be noted that there has been a reclassification of SoundExchange revenues in the US from “performance rights” to “digital”. This has resulted in an upward adjustment in digital revenues and growth, and an equivalent downward adjustment in performance rights revenues and growth.
The new report shows the industry in continuing transition, with consumers embracing the music access models of streaming and subscription. Another steep increase in subscription revenues (+39.0%) offset declining global download sales (-8.0%) to drive overall digital revenues, while the number of paying users of subscription services rose 46.4 per cent to an estimated 41 million. Subscription services are now at the heart of the music industry’s portfolio of businesses, representing 23 per cent of the digital market and generating US$1.6 billion in trade revenues. The industry sees substantial further growth potential in the subscription sector, with new services advancing in 2015 led by three major global players: YouTube’s Music Key, Jay Z’s TIDAL and Apple’s expected subscription service.
Outside of streaming, the Report also shows the enduring nature of the physical format, still 46% of the market, and the still substantial share of digital revenues (52%) accounted for by downloads, although this is declining. Physical sales still dominate in a number of key worldwide markets including France (57%), Germany (70%) and Japan (78%). On the back of the enws that the UK has launched a new vinyl chart, vinyl sales continue to revive with revenues increasing 54.7 per cent and now accounting for 2 per cent of global revenues.
Elsewhere in the industry, performance rights income increased by 8.3 per cent and now accounts for 6 per cent of total industry revenues or US$948 million. Synchronisation revenues increased by 8.4 per cent in 2014 to represent 2 per cent of the market,
The IFPI also try hard to justify artist royalties in the digital age – which without the cost of physical manufacture and distribution are looking more and more favourable to record labels – something that has prompted numerous artistes to take legal action against their labels. The IFPI say “In order to better inform this discussion, IFPI conducted research in 2014 to obtain an accurate picture of how royalty payments have changed as the market has shifted from physical sales to digital channels. Industry data compiled by IFPI from the three major companies, covering local sales for locally signed artists in 18 major markets outside Japan and the US in the five year period to 2014 shows that while sales revenue fell 17 per cent, total artist payments – in the form of royalties and unrecouped advances – declined much less in real terms (down 6 per cent) and increased significantly as a share of sales revenue, by 13 per cent. Over the five year period, the data shows that total payments by record companies to local artists totalled more than US$1.5 billion across the 18 markets. But remember, total revenues in 2014 alone were US$14.97 billion – so its a small small percentage over five years.
The IFPI also comment on the very “significant mismatch between the value that certain digital platforms extract from music, and the value that is returned to rights owners.” and make an interesting comparison between the subscriber based services such as Spotify and Deezer, and free access content platforms such as YouTube or Daily Motion. IFPI estimates music subscription services have 41 million paying global subscribers, plus more than 100 million active users in their “freemium” tiers funded by advertising. This sector generated revenues to record companies of more than US$1.6 billion in 2014. By contrast, YouTube alone claims more than one billion monthly unique users and is thought to be the world’s most popular access route to music. Yet total global revenues to record companies generated by certain content platforms including YouTube amounted to just US$641 million in 2014, less than half the total amount paid to the industry by the subscription services.
To download the full report go to http://www.ifpi.org/digital-music-report.php