Australian recorded music market hits 15-year high, ranks ninth in the world
23.03.2022

Australian recorded music market hits 15-year high, ranks ninth in the world

australian recorded music market
(Image: Annie Theby)
Words by Christie Eliezer

Despite the hurt our live sector has endured, the recorded music market is still going strong

The pandemic might have decimated the Australian live sector, but two separate reports have shown that the recorded music market is still growing.

What you need to know:

  • The Australian recorded music market hit a 15-year high after a third year of growth, according to ARIA wholesale figures released this morning.
  • The IFPI showed Australia ranked ninth as a music market in the world.
  • The global recorded music industry grew 18.5 per cent in 2021 to a total of 25.9 billion USD.

Keep up to date with the latest industry news here.

It hit a 15-year high after a third year of growth, according to the Australian Recording Industry Association’s (ARIA) wholesale figures released this morning.

The ARIA report showed wholesale sales were more than 565 million dollars in 2021, up 4.4 per cent from 2020, and up 20.7 per cent from 2017.

The growth was fuelled by the continued popularity of streaming, which now accounts for 86 per cent of music sales in Australia as total digital sales reached almost 510 million dollars in 2021 (90 per cent of all sales), compared to 368 million dollars in 2017.

Over the same period, physical music sales dropped from around 100 to 56 million dollars, where just a decade ago, digital accounted for less than 40 per cent of music sales.

“This speaks to the growing value of the sector as a serious economic contributor, but also underscores the fact that music continues to be part of the fabric of Australian lives,” ARIA chief executive officer, Annabelle Herd, said of the growth

Herd noted that Australia’s digital take-up was higher than many other music markets.

“I hope this news spurs on our brilliant home-grown artists as they move toward a more regular year of touring and reconnecting with fans across the country.”

The biggest growth sectors in 2021 were video streaming (up 26 per cent, ad-supported streaming models (up 31 per cent), and physical singles (up 241.6 per cent)

Vinyl albums were the biggest segment in physical sales at almost 30 million dollars, compared to just under 25 million dollars for CD albums.

In the meantime, overnight global figures from the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) showed Australia ranked ninth as a music market in the world and put Australia’s growth at 3.4 per cent.

In comparison, the Middle East and North Africa’s growth was 35 per cent, Latin America’s was 31.2 per cent, USA & Canada’s was 22 per cent, Asia’s was 16.1 per cent, Europe’s was 15.4 per cent, and Sub-Saharan Africa’s was 9.6 per cent.

The biggest music market remains the US, followed by Japan, UK, Germany, France, China, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and Italy.

Less than a decade ago, Australia ranked six but has slowly drifted down as China and South Korea grew in strength.

The global recorded music industry grew 18.5 per cent in 2021 to a total of 25.9 billion USD.

This was the seventh consecutive year of growth, and driven by more music fans switching to paid subscription streaming.

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