Global recorded music revenue grows to $21.6b throughout pandemic

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Global recorded music revenue grows to $21.6b throughout pandemic

Words by Will Brewster

Marking six years of consecutive growth.

Despite the challenges it faced throughout 2020, the global recorded music industry has posted an impressive growth of 7.4% over the course of last year.


  • The global recorded music sector has grown by 7.4% to net a total of $21.6 billion world-wide.
  • The growth was primarily driven by a boom in users joining paid-streaming subscription services, with revenue increasing by 18.5% over the year.
  • Key markets for growth included Latin America, Asia and Africa/Middle East.

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In a report posted by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and Midia Research, the recorded music market saw a noted monetary increase across the board, with major labels, indie acts and DIY artists being included in the figures.

The report states that despite the slowdown of the sector, the industry grew by $1.5 billion US, marking an impressive six years of consecutive growth.

The Midia report attributes the lion’s share of this increase to the huge bump in revenue from paid subscription streaming services, which leapt up by a staggering 18.5% during the pandemic to eventuate a reported 443 million users worldwide.

On top of that, total streaming revenue (including ad-based services and paid subscription services) grew 19.9% year-on-year to reach $13.4 billion, which means that the global streaming market is currently worth a whopping 62.1% of total international recorded music revenues.

Key growth markets included Latin America, where streaming revenues grew by 30.2%. This follows a pattern set by reports last year, and sees the region retain its status as the fastest growing global region for recorded music revenue.

Elsewhere, revenues in Asia grew by 9.5%, while Africa and the Middle East increased by 8.4%. Europe’s recorded music revenues increased by 3.5% with a streaming growth of 20.7%, while the US and Canada experienced 7.3% and 8.1% increase respectively.

To nobody’s surprise, the impacts of the pandemic saw revenues from physical sales dip by 4.7%, while global revenue from performance rights decreased by 10.1% around the world due to the collapse of the live music sector. Despite this, industry bodies have expressed optimism in the future of ‘immersive entertainment’ ventures, such as Travis Scott’s widely-hyped ‘live’ Fortnite concert.

“As the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the enduring power of music to console, heal and lift our spirits,” IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said in a statement today.

“Some things are timeless, like the power of a great song or the connection between artists and fans. But some things have changed. With so much of the world in lockdown and live music shut down, in nearly every corner of the globe most fans enjoyed music via streaming.

“Fuelled by record companies’ ongoing investment in artists and their careers, along with innovative efforts to help artists bring music to fans in new ways, recorded music revenues grew globally for the sixth consecutive year, driven by subscription streaming.

“As record companies continue to expand their geographical footprint and cultural reach, music has become more globally connected today, than ever before and this growth has spread across all regions around the globe.

“With many impacted by the pandemic, and concerned with growing social injustices, record companies have worked hard to make a meaningful, lasting contribution to the world we want to live in.”

Read the full IFPI Global Music Report here.