Every year, author and former Spotify chief economist Will Page publishes his analysis of the ‘global value of music copyright’. Today sees the launch of his 2021 report.

The analysis combines figures from the IFPI (recorded music revenues); CISAC (collecting society collections); Music & Copyright (publishing revenues); and Midia Research (other revenues like royalty-free production music).

“In 2021, music copyright was worth $39.6bn – considerably more than the $25.9bn reported in the same year’s IFPI Global Music Report (GMR), and up 18 percent from 2020,” wrote Page in his analysis today. Streaming accounted for 55% of this value, up from 52% in 2020.

“The post-pandemic fallout has seen consumer subscriptions and ad-funded streaming continue to soar, whereas business-to-business licensing by CMOs has only partially recovered.”

For context, the IFPI (as Page noted) said that global recorded music revenues were $25.9bn in 2021. CISAC recently announced that global collections were €8.48bn that year (around $10bn at the average exchange rate for 2021). Music & Copyright’s estimate for global music publishing revenue in 2021 was $6.9bn. And Midia reckons royalty-free music was a $250m market that year.

That’s $41.5bn, but Page’s analysis strips out double-counting of publisher revenues (i.e. those that come through collecting societies) to get to a final, definitive figure.

During the recent debates about the streaming economy, one recurring talking point has been the respective shares of the royalty pie that go to songs and recordings. That’s something Page explores in his latest report.

His analysis of historical figures suggests that in 2001, 23% of the global value of recorded music went to publishing, and that this rose to 45% in 2014 (when “label revenues had gone from boom to bust and were in the trough of the current cycle, whereas publishers and their CMOs reported moderate growth and record breaking collections”)

And in 2021? Excluding royalty-free music to keep the analysis consistent, Page notes that the publisher’s share of the pie has fallen back to 34%.

“The answer is the recovery in consumer spend on music, which traditionally favours labels over publishing,” he writes. “This has been accentuated by the pandemics adverse impact on business licensing, which traditionally favours publishers over labels.”

You can read the full report here, which also digs more into the impact of royalty-free music, and potential cause for concern about the “dollar dominance” in music copyright’s global value.

On the latter point, Page thinks that the dollar’s current strength has two unintended consequences: devaluing the value of the ex-US global industry and increasing the US share of overall revenues.

Pointing to IFPI data, Page suggests that streaming has made music “more global in culture, yet more American in commerce”. The US share of the recordings business has grown from 26% to 38% since Spotify launched in that country in 2011. “The strong dollar can only increase its dominance…”

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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