WMG makes recorded-music market share gains, while indies extend publishing lead

The annual survey by Ovum publication Music & Copyright of the recorded music and music publishing sectors has revealed the changes in global market share for the three major music groups and the independent sector. For the second consecutive year, recorded-music leader UMG lost market share, while smaller major WMG closed the gap on second-placed SME. Sony remained the leader in terms of corporate control of music publishing, though its share has fallen for two straight years. Little change in share for second-placed UMPG meant the company narrowed the gap with Sony. The collective shares of the independent publishing sector registered the biggest publishing share increase.

Shifting market shares, but majors still dominate
According to Music & Copyright, UMG had a 32.8% share of combined physical and digital recorded-music trade revenue last year, down from 33.7% in 2015. For physical revenue only, UMG’s share stood at 30.2%, while its digital share was 34.6%.

Record companies’ physical- and digital-revenue market shares, 2015 and 2016

Source: Music & Copyright

SME was the second-largest music company, with a combined physical/digital market share of 22.2%, down from 22.6% in 2015. SME registered a year-on-year fall in both physical and digital market shares. The company’s share of all recorded-music trade revenue, which includes licensing and other revenue as well as income from physical and digital music sales, was also down, to 22.4%, from 22.8%. The smallest of the majors, WMG, was the only one of the three to register share increases last year. The company’s share of revenue from physical recorded-music sales stood at 17% in 2016, up from 16.3% in 2015. For digital, the share grew to 18.9%, from 18.2%. WMG’s combined physical/digital share increased, to 18.1%, from 17.3%.

The independent record companies’ share of combined physical/digital revenue was up in 2016, to 26.9%, from 26.4%. Although the company sector increased its share of both physical and digital revenue, independents’ share of physical formats remained higher than their digital share.

Warner Chappell and indie sector register share gains
Sony maintained its leading position in the publishing sector last year despite a second consecutive dip in market share. The company accounted for 27% of global publishing revenue, down from 28.3% in 2015. Sony took the top spot in 2013, following the purchase of EMI Music Publishing by a Sony-led consortium in 2012. In addition to revenue from EMI MP repertoire administered by Sony, the company’s publishing share includes Sony/ATV earnings as well as income from Sony Music Publishing Japan.

Music-publishing companies’ revenue shares, 2015 and 2016

Source: Music & Copyright

It is worth noting that based on a more comprehensive assessment of the publishing sector, we have restated the previously published 2015 figures. Although some shares have been changed, none of the publishers’ annual performances has been affected.

UMPG was the second-largest music publisher last year and closed the gap with Sony, though its share edged down slightly, to 19.8%, from 20% in 2015. Third-placed Warner Chappell was the only major publisher to register an increase last year, with the company’s share rising to 12%, from 11.4%.

Independent music publishers have long dominated music publishing and continue to compete well with the majors for major artists’ attention. Last year proved to be no exception. Music & Copyright estimates that independent companies accounted for 41.2% of publishing revenue, compared with 40.3% in 2015.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.