Independent-music trade body WIN has published its second annual ‘WINTEL’ report on the global music market. Its headline claim is that indie labels increased their market share of global recorded-music sales from 37.5% in 2015 to 38.4% in 2016, as their collective revenues increased by 6.9% to more than $6bn in the latter year.

Within that, streaming revenues for indie labels grew by 80.4% to $2.1bn in 2016, compared to the 78% growth in the overall music market. Indies now account for 40% of global streaming revenues, according to WIN: slightly more than their share of the overall market, although not the huge over-indexing that has sometimes been suggested at independent conferences.

As with last year’s report, a key focus for ‘WINTEL’ is focusing on rights ownership rather than distribution: revenue for artists signed to independent labels but distributed through a major-owned distributor are counted here as part of the ‘indie’ share rather than those majors. In fact, WIN claims that as much as $1.2bn of revenue is in play here: a figure you can expect to hear more of in 2018, as arguments over market-share stats (and distributor consolidation under the majors) continues.

“It is important when making sense of the global market for independent music that we continue to use ownership rather than distribution as the method of calculation,” said WIN boss Alison Wenham.

“It speaks volumes for the tenacity, passion and entrepreneurship of independent labels, and the public’s desire for musical diversity, that even in these times of global dominance by major corporations, almost 4 out of every 10 dollars spent on music goes to the independent sector,” added Beggars Group founder (and WIN VP) Martin Mills.

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