2016 was a big year for the global recorded music business, with record labels and publishers reporting growth almost across the board. Unsurprisingly, streaming was the driver of growth, increasing its share of label revenue from 23% in 2015 to 34% in 2016. However, the experience was far from uniform across the various corporate groups, according to data released by MIDIA, a top-tier US-based media and technology research group.
Universal: Universal is the world’s leading music group and that status remains firmly the case for 2016. Universal Music’s global record label revenue share was 28.9%, far ahead of the nearest rival Sony Music which had a 22.4% share. However, despite registering a 2.4% growth in USD terms (1.8% in euros), UMG’s share fell slightly from 30.2% in 2015. As with all labels, UMG had a big streaming year, seeing revenue increase by 56%, though this was just below the total market growth of 57%. Universal Music Publishing’s market share was largely flat at 16.7% for 2016.
The document's author, Mark Mulligan, notes that although the Universal market share number reported here is smaller than numbers previously reported elsewhere it is grounded in widely accepted industry numbers. The IFPI reported global revenues of $14.95 billion for 2015 while Vivendi reported UMG recorded music revenues of €4.11 billion, which translated to $4.54 billion, which is a 30.2% market share for 2015. Also please note that a previous post had incorrectly reported a 32% decline in physical revenue for UMG in Q4 2016.
Warner: Warner Music had the best major label performance in local currency terms, growing its revenue by 11% and its market share from 16.8% to 17.4%. On the streaming side, Warner actually lost a little ground, seeing its market share fall from 19.3% in 2015 to 18.4% despite registering an impressive 51% annual growth in streaming revenue.
What helped Warner’s total market share was the smallest local currency fall in physical revenue (just -1%) and the strongest local market currency growth in ‘other’ revenue, up 7%. Warner Chappell had a good year, growing revenue by 9% year-on-year and increasing its market share from 9.6% in 2015 to 10% in 2016.
Sony: Sony registered a US dollar growth of 13% in 2016, the highest of all the majors, increasing its market share from 21.3% in 2015 to 22.4% in 2016. However, Sony was helped markedly by the growing strength of the Yen against the dollar. In Yen terms, SME’s revenue grew by just 0.9% in 2016. Streaming revenue was up 41.8% in Yen terms and 57% in dollar terms. SME’s streaming market share was flat year-on-year. Sony Music Publishing (including ATV) revenue fell by 1% resulting in market share falling from 24.3% in 2015 to 23% in 2016.
Independents: Independent labels saw revenue increase by 6% but that was not enough to prevent market share fall slightly from 31.6% in 2015 to 31.3% in 2016. However, these numbers reflect share according to distribution rather than ownership of copyright. Because so much independent label catalogue is distributed either directly via major labels or via distributors wholly owned by the majors, the actual market share is significantly higher.
On the publishing side, independents had a strong year, seeing revenue grow by 6%, and market share expand from 49.4% in 2015 to 50.1% in 2016. Midia notes that the independent numbers include revenue from leading labels in Japan (the world’s 2nd biggest music market globally) and South Korea (another top 10 market) where the western major labels are minor players.