SME and WMG the biggest market share winners in 2021

This year marks the 10th anniversary of UMG’s acquisition of EMI Recorded-Music. Although some label selloffs and advances by one or two of the bigger independents have shifted the landscape slightly, the structure of the global recorded-music sector has been unchanged since 2012. UMG, SME, and WMG have collectively accounted for around 70% of total trade revenue with the independent sector the remaining 30%. The shares are based on revenue received by each company/grouping. According to Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the music industry, UMG remained the top company for combined physical and digital recorded-music trade revenue last year, although the company’s share was down slightly, to 32% from 32.1% in 2020 (see Figure 1). For digital revenue only, UMG’s share slipped, to 33.3% from 34.1%, while its physical share increased, to 26.8% from 25.8%.

Figure 1: Record companies, physical- and digital-revenue market shares, 2020 and 2021
Source: Music & Copyright

SME enhanced its position as the second-largest record company. Its combined digital/physical market share was up, to 21.7% from 20.6%. SME’s digital share grew, to 22.6% from 20.5%. However, the company’s physical share was down, to 18.5% from 21.3%. SME’s share of all recorded-music trade revenue, which includes licensing and other revenue as well as income from physical and digital music sales, increased, to 21.9% from 20.8% (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Record companies, total recorded-music-revenue market shares, 2020 and 2021
Source: Music & Copyright

The smaller of the three majors, WMG, experienced a rise in share for both digital and physical sales. According to Music & Copyright, WMG’s digital share improved last year, to 18.2% from 17.6% in 2020. The company’s share for physical sales was up, to 11.4% from 10.5%. Of the three majors, WMG has the biggest difference between its digital and physical shares (6.8 percentage points compared with 6.5 points for UMG and 4.1 points for SME).
Collectively, the independents held the biggest share of physical formats. Moreover, the share increased last year, to 43.2% from 42.4% in 2020. However, the independents’ digital share was down, to 25.9% from 27.9%. The results meant the combined digital/physical revenue share for independent companies decreased, from 31.6% to 29.6%.

Sony increases its music publishing lead
In line with the way in which Music & Copyright determines global recorded-music market shares, music publishing shares are also based on revenue received by each company. Music & Copyright has calculated that global music publishing revenue jumped 17.6% last year, to $6.9bn from $5.9bn in 2020. The growth rate was notably higher than the 5.2% rise in 2020 and the 2.2% improvement in 2019. Sony maintained its leading position ahead of UMPG with the gap between the two widening, to 1.7 percentage points. Sony’s share, which is made up of revenue from Sony/ATV, EMI Music Publishing, and Sony Music Publishing Japan, grew, to 24.9% from 24.5% (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Music-publishing companies, revenue market shares, 2020 and 2021
Source: Music & Copyright

UMPG’s publishing share edged up last year, to 23.2% from 23% in 2020. Third placed Warner Chappell Music (WCN) registered the biggest rise of the three majors with its share increasing, to 11.8% from 11.2%. Although the collective share of independent music publishers maintained a healthy lead, the share slipped just over one percentage point, to 40.1% from 41.3%.

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