The Adele effect hits major-record-company market shares in 2011

Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music-publishing industries has revealed that Universal Music Group (UMG) remained the world’s biggest record company and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) the largest music-publishing company in 2011. The positioning of each of the four major record-label and music-publishing companies was unchanged last year. Although this lack of change could suggest that 2011 offered up “more of the same” in the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors, such an assumption would be wide of the mark.

In a year that ended with the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors heading for further consolidation, the combined market share of independent companies in both sectors grew in 2011. Big sales of independent artist Adele boosted the independent sector’s recorded-music share, and steady gains by some of the smaller music publishers took share from the majors.

For recorded music, UMG was the largest company last year, with a combined physical/digital market share of 27.9%, down from 28.7% in 2010. Sony Music Entertainment (SME) was the second-largest music company, with a combined physical/digital market share of 21.9%, down from 23% in 2010. These market shares are based on revenues received from the sale of physical and digital recorded music.

According to Simon Dyson, editor of Music & Copyright, “there’s a lot of interest in market share at the moment with the breakup and sale of EMI. Although these results suggest a pause in the ongoing squeeze on the independents by the majors, one big indie success doesn’t really prove one way or another if there is enough competition in the recorded-music industry.”

Music & Copyright has calculated that despite suffering a decline in its publishing share last year, to 22.2%, from 22.6% in 2010, UMPG remained the world’s biggest music publisher, ahead of EMI Music Publishing, which was second largest with a market share of 19.3%. Similar to the way Music & Copyright determines recorded-music market shares, music-publishing market shares are based on revenues received by each company. Music & Copyright has calculated that global music-publishing revenues were almost unchanged last year, at US$3.9 billion.

Of the total revenues received by the major music groups and independent companies (recorded-music sales, music publishing and general licensing, including neighboring rights, etc.), Music & Copyright has determined that UMG was the corporate group leader in 2011, with a slightly reduced share of 27.7%, ahead of SME, at 19.8%.

Note about market shares
The market-share figures presented by Music & Copyright are based on revenues received by each company and the independent sector as a whole. Some analysts and publications present market-share figures based on different calculations, such as ownership of master recordings, record-company ownership and ownership/control of distribution. Apportioning market share for Adele is a perfect example of how differences can occur. The increase in the independent companies’ global recorded-music share for 2011 is largely due to the success of Adele and strong sales of her albums 21 and 19. However, in the US, the two albums are distributed by the SME subsidiary Columbia, and therefore SME’s and the independents’ share in the US will be very different depending on the methodology used.

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10 thoughts on “The Adele effect hits major-record-company market shares in 2011

  1. Is BMG Rights with over 1 million songs considered an indie publisher? Why is their share folded into “Indies”

  2. BMG is still considered an indie as its share of global publishing revenues is probably below 5%. This is growing but at the moment we still class it as an indie.

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