According to industry trading body International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) in a new report published Tuesday (March 22), revenues for global recorded music grew by 18.5 per cent in 2021, totalling £19.63billion (US$25.9billion), largely driven by increases in paid subscription streaming.
The report stipulates there were 523million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2021 – up from 443million in 2020 – generating an increase of 21.9 per cent, or £9.32billion (US$12.3billion).
Streaming in 2021 accounted for 65 per cent of total revenues, while downloads equated to four per cent, 19 per cent made up by CDs, vinyl and cassettes.
According to IFPI, this means the industry is in its seventh consecutive year of growth, IFPI chief executive Frances Moore told the BBC: “We lived through that dire period after 1999 where the industry declined by 40 per cent.
Recorded music revenues grew in every region in 2021. Asia grew by 16.1 per cent, with South Korean superstars BTS the biggest-selling act for the second consecutive year.
After being named 2020’s second-biggest seller, Taylor Swift achieved the same position in 2021, with Adele, having released her fourth studio album, ’30’, in November, sold 4.7million copies, making it the most popular album overall.
Similar results were seen in Europe – the world’s second-largest music region – with a growth of 15.4 per cent up from 3.2 per cent. Latin America, whose streaming accounted for 85.9 per cent of the global market, experienced an increase of 31.2 per cent, while North America grew by 22 per cent in 2021.
“We didn’t envisage we’d be in a situation [this year] where we report on 60 or 70 countries and every single one is in growth,” said Moore.
In February, the IFPI named BTS Global Recording Artist Of The Year for 2021, making the group the first artist to win two years in a row, having first won the title in 2020.
“We are truly honoured to receive the IFPI Global Recording Artist Of The Year award,” said band leader RM at the time. “We heard this is the first time ever any artist received [the] Artist Of The Year two years in a row, so we feel blessed for such a significant title.”