Universal Music Group reasserts its recorded-music dominance in 2010

New research from Music & Copyright reveals that Universal Music Group (UMG) extended its lead over second placed Sony Music Entertainment (SME) last year following an increase in its market share for recorded music sales. Although SME lost share, it remained a long way ahead of its nearest rival WMG.

Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded music and publishing industries shows that UMG increased its market share of physical music sales to 28.7% from 27.6% in 2009. UMG also registered an increased digital sales share of 28.5%, resulting in a combined physical/digital market share of 28.7%.

SME remained the second largest music company despite suffering a fall in its physical market share. Although the company’s digital share was up slightly, SME’s overall physical/digital market share was down slightly to 23%. SME was always going to struggle to repeat the gains of 2009 as the company’s market share was boosted by strong sales of Michael Jackson content following the artist’s death in June of that year. SME also achieved extraordinary global success with the UK artist Susan Boyle following her swift rise to fame following her appearance of the TV reality show Britain’s Got Talent.

According to Simon Dyson, editor of Music & Copyright, “although UMG’s return to dominance and SME managing to almost hold onto the big share gains made in 2009 are good news stories for the two companies, most record company interest at the moment centers on the future of the two smaller majors.”

Warner Music Group (WMG) is the subject of considerable speculation at the moment regarding the future ownership of the company. Recent reports have suggested several companies are interested in acquiring a part or all of the music major.

EMI’s future still remains uncertain despite the recent recapitalization by Citigroup. However, although EMI is the smallest of the four major record companies, its position in music publishing is very different. Music & Copyright has calculated EMI MP increased its publishing share to 19.7% last year from 19.3% in 2009. The company remained in second place behind leader UMPG, but the gap between the two was reduced.

Adding all the revenues received by the major music groups (recorded music sales, music publishing and general licensing including neighboring rights etc), Music & Copyright has calculated the total figure for 2010 stood at US$19.8 billion, down by 7.4% from US$21.4 billion in 2009. UMG was the corporate group leader in 2010 with an increased market share of 28% ahead of SME with 20.8%.

Note for editors: The recorded music and music publishing market shares above have been developed through an intensive examination of the statements of the major record companies, the views of analysts and Music & Copyright’s confidential conversations with the majors.

Music & Copyright is a fortnightly research service published by Informa Telecoms & Media.


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