Remember when Spain was one of the world’s recorded-music basket cases, thanks to piracy? No more. The years between 2014 and 2018 saw steady growth (5.4%, 10%, 6.7%, 6.1% and 5.9% respectively according to the IFPI) of total revenues, but things have stepped up a couple of notches in the first half of 2019.
According to industry body Promusicae, overall recorded-music revenues in Spain grew by a startling 27% in the first six months of this year – the highest growth since the start of this century, as it pointed out. That represents spending of €140.7m ($155.4m) on physical and digital music, compared to €110.9m in the first half of 2018.
Of course, streaming is the driving force here: spending on subscriptions grew by 41% to €78m, thus representing more than 55% of the overall market. Ad-supported streaming revenues grew by 24.4% to €10.4m, meanwhile. Yet here’s the thing: physical sales also played their part, and we don’t just mean vinyl. CD sales in Spain were up by 9.7% in the first half of 2019 to €24.1m, with vinyl growing by 53% to €7.7m.
We’ll be interested to hear more about what generated that spike in CD sales, since for each of those last five years covered in the IFPI’s latest Global Music Report (and for many before that, obviously) CD sales had been declining inexorably: from €69m in 2014 to €37.4m in 2018. A sudden 9.7% rise may point to a spike fuelled by a handful of specific albums. Still, Promusicae boss Antonio Guisasola was right to draw attention to another trend in the streaming field: the opportunities provided to Spanish-language music by the booming streaming economy in Latin America.
“Great hits in Spanish are abundant in the sales charts and they raise a great deal of interest,” as he put it in his statement. And yes, there was the obligatory ‘value gap’ reference too (“the consumption of video streaming, which keeps being massive and mainly ad-supported, represents as little as 13.9% of all the streaming revenues, compared to 15.9% during the same period of 2018, something that we must revert”), but the overall picture is much more positive.