Reports Music

Independent label market shares Up on all counts

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  This report presents record label market share that is measured not just by label reported revenues, but also by separating the revenues of independent labels that are distributed by major label groups, in order to give a more precise view of how the independent sector is performing. This report also contains the findings from a global survey of independent labels, fielded by MIDiA Research, which tracks industry sentiment and billions of dollars of revenue that fed into the market shares model.

Key Insights

Label characteristics:

  • Streaming is key for independent labels, but        want another income source to run in parallel, and        believe streaming makes it harder to build artist careers
  • Marketing is also becoming more difficult -        want to become smarter marketers
  • Independent labels with less than        million in annual revenues have an average of seven staff members and grew revenues by        in 2020, compared to seventeen staff and        growth for those with        million 

Market characteristics:

  • On a distribution basis,        of 2020 major label revenue came from North America and Europe
  • Universal has the highest market share in North America        while Sony Music has the highest in Latin America       
  • On a distribution basis, independent labels and artists direct had a global market share of        in 2020, but on an ownership basis this figure rises to        representing a shift of        percentage points
  • 2020 global independent revenue was        billion in distribution terms and        billion in ownership terms
  • 2020 independent revenue in ownership terms was up        from 2019, reaching        billion, with independent labels representing        billion and artists direct        billion
  • Independent label revenue distributed by major labels accounted for        billion, or        of all major label recorded music revenue
  • Distribution basis: revenue measured by the label that distributes the music
  • Ownership basis: revenue measured by the label that is the music rights holder
  • Embedded independent label revenue: major label revenue that derives from associated independent labels
‘Independent’ refers to all recorded music revenue that is not Universal Music, Sony Music or Warner Music. It includes independent labels, artists direct (i.e., self-releasing artists) and large music companies in markets, like Japan and South Korea, that collectively account for the majority of revenues in their domestic markets.
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ADA, Avex Group Holdings, AWAL, Believe Digital, Big Hit Music, CD Baby, Distrokid, Hybe Corporation, IDOL, Merlin, The Orchard, PIAS, Secretly, SM Entertainment, Som Livre, Sony Music, Spotify, Universal Music, Warner Music

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