Last week, the IFPI put out its numbers for the global record business in 2018, saying it was worth $19.1bn, a 9.7% growth from the $17.4bn reported in 2017. This, of course, only shows one part of the total value of the global music copyright business.

Since 2014, Spotify’s chief economist Will Page has been working to put a value on all global copyrights and he has published his findings for 2017 in MBW. The headline figure is that global copyrights were worth $28.1bn in 2017, up 7.6% from the $26.1bn that Page reported in 2016. The 2017 numbers are split between label income ($16.55bn), publisher direct revenues ($2.2bn) and songwriter CMOs ($9.37bn).

On the methodology used, Page says, “Measuring the music business is never straight forward, but the main hurdle is striving for a consistent time period for each component. For example, money that was paid into one part of the puzzle during a calendar year may have reached another part in a different year.” He cites 2012 as the turning point for the global business when revenues from ownership (i.e. CDs and downloads) reached their peak in majors markets like the US and the UK. “In the UK, where ownership still makes up close to 40% of the business, you’ve seen label revenues grow by around 20% since 2012,” he says.

“Back then, the UK songwriter CMO, PRS for Music, was reporting digital collections of around £50m, now they’re passing the £120m mark. In the US, ownership now makes up much less – closer to 20% of the business – and the market has grown by 40%. That’s twice that of the UK.” He says that the rate of growth across all the areas he measured has been accelerating sharply through 2015 (a $1bn increase on 2014), 2016 (a $1.5bn increase on 2015) and 2017 (a $2bn increase on 2016). “Bigger numbers, faster rates,” he concludes.

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