UMG and WMG make recorded-music market share gains, Sony outperforms in publishing

Music & Copyright’s annual survey 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. Recorded-music leader UMG maintained the top spot with an increase in both its physical and digital market shares. Second-placed SME suffered a dip in its recorded-music share, while smaller major WMG continued its upward trend and registered a share increase. A repeat of 2016 saw independent record companies collectively account for the biggest share. Sony remained the leader in terms of corporate music publishing control after registering the best year in the company’s history. UMPG suffered a slight fall in share, while Warner/Chappell and the collective share of the independent publishing sector were unchanged.

UMG extends recorded-music lead
UMG had a 29.7% share of combined physical and digital recorded-music trade revenue last year, up from 29% in 2016. For just digital revenue, UMG’s share stood at 32%, while its physical share was 25.4%.

Record companies, physical- and digital-revenue market shares, 2016 and 2017
Source: Music & Copyright

SME was the second-largest music company, although its combined physical/digital market share slipped last year, to 21.9%, from 22.9% in 2016. 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 22.3%, from 23.2%.

Record companies, total recorded-music-revenue market shares, 2017
Source: Music & Copyright

The smallest of the majors, WMG, experienced a mixed year in digital and physical shares. The company’s digital share increased, to 18.1%, from 17.6%, while its physical share edged down, to 12.8%, from 13.1%. WMG’s combined physical/digital share grew, to 16.2%, from 15.8%, and its total revenue share was up, to 15.8%, from 15.4%.

UMG was the single biggest record company, but independent record companies’ combined physical/digital revenue share was higher than the leader last year, at 32.2%. The independent company sector increased its share of both physical and digital revenue, but there remained a sizable difference between its physical and digital shares.

It is worth pointing out at this stage that following last year’s review of our music publishing share methodology, we have made similar changes to the way we determine recorded-music shares. Our calculations are now based on a much more comprehensive assessment of the recorded-music sector and allow for greater accuracy in the standings of the three majors and the independent companies. The change has meant we have restated the previously published 2016 figures.

Positive year for music publishing
In line the way in which Music & Copyright determines global recorded-music market shares, music publishing market shares are also based on revenue received by each company. Music & Copyright has calculated that global music publishing revenue grew 11.2% last year, to $4.92bn, from $4.42bn in 2016. Sony increased its leading position following the best year in the company’s history. Earnings were boosted by a record growth in streaming. Moreover, the company published the IFPI’s top three artists of last year, Ed Sheeran, Drake and Taylor Swift. Sony accounted for 27.3% of global publishing revenue, up from 27% in 2016.

Music-publishing companies, revenue market shares, 2016 and 2017
Source: Music & Copyright

UMPG was the second-largest music publisher last year. Music & Copyright estimates the company’s share edged down, to 19.5%, from 19.8% in 2016. Third placed Warner/Chappell’s share was unchanged at 12%. Also unchanged last year was the indie share. Independent music publishers have long dominated music publishing and continue to compete well with the majors for major artists’ attention. Music & Copyright estimates that independent companies accounted for 41.2% of publishing revenue in 2017.

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