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State of the music creator economy Post-lockdown growth

Report by Mark Mulligan, Kriss Thakrar and Tatiana Cirisano
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20,000 foot view:  The Covid pandemic created a unique catalyst for the music creator economy. More time on hands and more cash in pockets gave novices and veterans alike the opportunity to spend both more time and money making music. Though the pandemic was a peak, it also marked the start of a new era for the music creator economy across every one of its aspects, from revenue to creation to remuneration. This report presents an end-to-end assessment of today’s music creator tools marketplace.

Key insights 

SECTION ONE: The top of the funnel

  • As of        2022,        of consumers played an instrument, up by        points from        2021, showing the long-term impact of the lockdown boom
  •        million people either play an instrument or plan to learn, representing the total addressable market (TAM) for creator tools
  • The number of creators uploading and sharing directly online grew by        while those self-releasing to streaming grew by just       
  • Younger creators are going from        faster than ever, empowered by simplified tools, more sounds, and skills sharing
  • More than ever, active buyers of musical instruments are the entering the creator tools marketplace

SECTION TWO: Music creators

  • Proficiency increases steadily with age, with just        of        reporting themselves as being advanced compared to        of       
  • The average full-time music creator professional earns        while part-time pros earn       
  • Ableton Live is the most widely used DAW        especially among electronic music producers, followed by Reaper        and Cubase       
  • Audio interfaces        USB / MIDI controller keyboards        and microphones        are the most widely owned and used hardware


  • Music creators spend an average of        on creator tools, meaning that they spend roughly one dollar for every five that they earn
  • Expenditure has an inverse correlation with proficiency – beginners spend        times their music income, compared to only        for advanced creators
  • Total music creator tools software and services revenue was        billion in 2021, across learning, collaboration, production, sounds, funding, commerce, distribution, marketing, and commercial

SECTION FOUR: Market outlook

  • The base of music creators (those who produce and / or record) will grow from        million in 2021 to        million in 2030
  • Subscriptions represented        of all software, sounds and services revenues in 2021        million) and will grow to        billion, with        million subscribers spending an average of        a year
  • DAWs revenue will go from        million in 2021 to        billion in 2030, plugins and VSTs will go from        million to        billion, sounds will go from        million to        billion, and skills and learning will go from        million to        billion
  • Keyboards, synths and grooveboxes was the second largest hardware category in 2021, with        billion, and will decrease by        to reach        billion in 2030
  • Music production hardware was the largest segment, with revenues of        billion, and will outpace the market, growing by        to reach        billion by 2030

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Ableton, Akai, Allen & Heath, Amp, Amuse Fast Forward, Apple, Apple Loops, Arcade, Armin van Buuren, Avid, BandLab, Bandzoogle, Beatclub, Beatport, BeatStars, Cakewalk, CD Baby, Coursera, Create Music Group, Creative Intell, Cubase,        Distrokid, Elk, Fiverr, Focusrite, Fender, Fender Play, Flux, Fortnite, FL Studio, Google, Hi Fi, IK Multimedia, Instagram, iRig, iZotope, Kickstarter, LANDR, Linkfire, Live, Logic Pro, Loopcloud, Mackie, MAG Signature Sounds, Masterclass, Merchbar, meta, Musika, NetEase Cloud Music, Output, Pandora, Patreon, Plugin Alliance, Play Virtuoso, PreSonus, ProCollabs, Producer Tech, ProTools, Reaper, Reels, RightsHUB, Roblox, Scarlett, Session Studio, Shorts, Songsplits, SoundBetter, SoundCloud, Soundtrap, Spitfire Audio, Splice, Splits, Spotify, Square, Stem, Studio One, TakeLessons, Tidal, TikTok, Tracklib, TuneCore, Twitch, Twitter, Udemy, Ultimate Guitar, United Masters, Universal Audio, VIP Pelian, Waves Audio, YouTube

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