Global value of music copyright grew 2.7% to $32.5bn in 2020


The IFPI’s Global Music Report is what gets quoted most regularly as a metric of the music industry’s value. It’s good data, but it only covers recorded music. Separate figures are published by CISAC for collecting society collections and by Music & Copyright for music publishing, but for years former Spotify chief economist Will Page has been publishing an annual ‘Global Value of Music Copyright’ analysis weaving the three together.

His latest report is out now, performing its usual task of removing ‘double counting’ where portions of revenues are included in more than one of the above sources. The big figure for 2020 is $32.5bn. That’s his calculated value of music copyright including $21.1bn for labels (up 8% year-on-year), $9.3bn for collecting societies (down 9%) and $2.1bn of directly-collected revenue for publishers (up 12%). Overall it’s 2.7% growth.

“The driver of these changes is streaming: Its contribution to labels, publishers, and their CMOs has risen, from 22% in 2016 to 54% in 2020,” wrote Page. “Streaming now accounts for the majority of copyright’s value. Fifteen years ago, streaming revenue didn’t even exist in the IFPI report.”

He also noted a “tip toward labels” in the value scales, thanks to the “lockdown boom of streaming revenue and bust to performing rights collections” that saw labels account for 64.9% of the overall value in 2020.

“When this exercise was first conducted in 2014, the split was more even, at 55% for the labels and 45% for publishing. The scales have really tipped. But will they tip back toward publishers as bars and restaurants reopen and public performance collections recover? Or will labels cement their lead as streaming revenue grows even faster?”

His full analysis is well worth a read, as it also explores the potential “tailwinds and headwinds” that could drive the future growth of music’s value: from fitness, TikTok and livestreams to subscription saturation and regulation.

Written by: Stuart Dredge