Streaming growth boosts R&B/hip-hop share of global recorded-music sales

New research published by Music & Copyright has revealed that retail sales of R&B/hip-hop jumped 24.1% in 2017, to $2.59bn, from $2.08bn in 2016. The genre’s share of total retail sales increased, to 11.9%, from 10.4%. Furthermore, R&B/hip-hop’s retail share has more than doubled in the last 10 years. Pop and rock remain the two most popular music genres. Consumer spending on pop music increased 3.9%, to $6.79bn, from $6.53bn, while spending on rock music grew 2.5%, to $5.25bn, from $5.12bn. In terms of revenue share, pop accounted for 31.1% of global music retail sales, with rock taking a 24.1% share.

Global, recorded-music retail sales by genre share, 2017

Source: Music & Copyright

“The simple explanation why R&B/hip-hop sales have risen so much in the last few years is that streaming use has grown sharply. The streaming audience is skewed toward a younger demographic, and R&B/hip-hop is more popular among younger consumers,” said Simon Dyson, editor of Music & Copyright and Practice Leader of Ovum’s Music team. “National trade associations that have published sales by genre and retail channel have shown that the streaming share for R&B/hip-hop can sometimes be more than double the genre’s share of more traditional format sales. With streaming forecast to continue rising for the next few years at least, the future for R&B/hip-hop has never looked so good.”

Note to editors
The classification of any artists’ music into a single genre is fairly arbitrary and can differ between record company, music retailer and national trade association. Categorizing music within a genre can often have multiple influencing factors such as musical technique, style, context, target audience and geographical origin. Moreover, many genres have sub-genres that can often overlap others. For the purposes of this research, Music & Copyright has limited itself to the most commonly used genre categories by most national trade associations when presenting a breakdown of sales by genre.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Denmark country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Streaming growth boosts R&B/hip-hop share of global recorded-music sales
The return to growth for the recorded-music industry has brought with it an interesting shift in sales patterns for the different musical genres. A number of national trade associations’ year-end summaries of music sales have shown that certain genres have received a sizable boost from the change in consumers’ consumption patterns, while others have suffered a decline. R&B/hip-hop in particular has benefited from the growth in streaming, with the genre’s share of global retail sales more than doubling in just five years. Music & Copyright has analyzed global genre sales to see just how the return to recorded-music good times has affected sales of the most popular music genres.

Music streamers extend their bundle options to maintain subscription growth
Music streamers are finding that bundling their offerings with other products can help them recruit paying customers. A good part of that activity has revolved around tie-ups with video-streaming services. More recently, the likes of Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Tidal have been pushing into new areas such as movies and books to generate interest in their subscription-based streaming offers. Expect more bundling activity from music streamers in sectors such as gaming, in-car entertainment, and audio equipment, although promotions may need to be bolder to really pay off.

TONO reports record year for collections and distributions
Norwegian authors’ society TONO has reported a record year for both collections and distributions. After a disappointing 2016 that failed to repeat the record-breaking year of 2015, total receipts in 2017 were boosted by growth in all the main collection sources. Digital registered the highest year-on-year increase, but there were notable rises in collections from broadcast retransmission, live concerts, cinema, and overseas. TONO noted that Norwegian music picked up considerable momentum abroad last year. Receipts from background music and casual music use also grew. Previously, the authors’ society had said the competition for customers in the background music segment had increased in recent years with providers of non-licensed music becoming more active. However, the level of competition lessened in 2017 and a new copyright act is set to clarify whether users of non-licensed services should be paying royalties.

Denmark country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Denmark music industry report. Denmark is one of a small number of countries in Northern Europe that can be described as global leaders in the transition from music ownership to access. Although the country has a population of just 5.7 million and ranks in the lower part of the world’s top 20 music markets, the share of recorded-music sales from access services rivals most others. Streaming accounted for 85% of trade earnings from sales of physical and digital formats and services last year, and this share is expected to rise further as sales of physical formats and downloads fall away. UMG is the market share leader in Denmark, ahead of SME and WMG, enhancing its lead with a modest share rise. Royalty earnings collected by authors’ society KODA were boosted by retroactive TV collections that pushed the collection total above the DKK1bn mark for the first time. Performance rights society Gramex also reported a record year, and indications suggest Denmark’s live sector performed well in 2017.

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Pop still the biggest music genre, but retail sales slide 7.6% in 2013

New research published by the Ovum news service Music & Copyright reveals that the two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales in the world are pop and rock. According to the annual genre study conducted by Music & Copyright, consumer spending on the two genres accounted for 56.7% of total spending in 2013. Retail sales of pop music stood at $6.8bn, and retail sales of rock music totaled $5.8bn (see Figure 1).

Genre 1 2014

Although the two genres dominate global recorded-music sales, there were differences in their performance last year. Sales of pop music slid 7.6%, while the rock-music decline was 3.1%. Dance music and rap/hip-hop were the only two genres to see growth in retail sales: Dance sales increased 4%, to $1.3bn, while rap/hip-hop sales rose 1.4%, to $1.2bn. Jazz was the biggest loser for the second consecutive year, with sales down 10.1%.

Despite its fall in sales, pop remained the world’s most popular genre, accounting for 30.6% of global retail sales (see Figure 2), although this share was down, from 31.7% in 2012. Rock’s share increased, from 25.7% to 26.1%. Dance music scored the biggest share increase, rising from 5.5% to 6%.
Genre 2 2014
Continue reading “Pop still the biggest music genre, but retail sales slide 7.6% in 2013”

Pop is still king of the world’s music genres

With the decline in recorded-music sales reaching something of a turning point in a number of markets, it seemed like a good time to analyze the retail sales of several music genres to see whether the downturn and subsequent stabilization have been equally divided across genres or whether some genres have suffered more than others. The analysis shows that pop and rock have strengthened their hold on music sales, while rap/hip-hop, the darling of the 1990s, has suffered a decline.

The discussions surrounding recorded-music sales and what to do to solve the decline in recent years has often dealt with recorded music as a single entity. There is also a commonly held assumption that all the musical genres and subgenres have suffered in equal measure. Music & Copyright has analyzed the retail sales of the different music genres over the previous decade to establish whether this is the case.

The results are, in part, not totally surprising, with pop and rock music tightening their grip on retail sales in the 2000s. But rap/hip-hop, which surged in the 1990s, slipped as public criticism mounted. Sales of jazz, classical and other smaller genres also fell off.

It is probably worth stating that the classification of any artist’s music into a single genre is fairly arbitrary and can differ between record company, music retailer and national trade association. Categorizing music within a genre can often have multiple influencing factors, such as musical technique, style, context, target audience and geographical origin. Moreover, many genres have subgenres that can overlap others. For example, media-management service Gracenote categorizes music into more than 1,600 individual genre categories. To confuse things even more, several studies have been published in recent years describing theoretical and scientific approaches to determining a music genre. However, for the purposes of this study, Music & Copyright has limited itself to the most commonly used genre categories by most national trade associations when presenting a breakdown of sales by genre.

The two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales over the past 10 years are pop and rock. According to Music & Copyright, retail sales of pop music stood at US$7.4 billion in 2009, while retail sales of rock music stood at US$6.5 billion. In terms of revenue share, pop accounted for 29.2% of global music-retail sales last year, with rock taking a 25.7% share. The closeness of the two genres at the end of the last decade was also apparent at the beginning. In 2000, pop had a global sales share of 27.8%, with rock at 22.7%. Despite a difference in year-to-year share performance, the retail-sales decline of the two genres in the previous decade has been fairly even: For pop, retail sales decreased 27.7%, while retail sales for rock fell 22.1%. However, both genres outperformed total music-retail sales, which fell 31% in 2009, to US$25.4 billion, from US$36.9 billion in 2000.

With pop and rock accounting for a combined retail-sales share of 55% in 2009, other genres have clearly underperformed when compared with the global sales decline. Music & Copyright has found that the retail value of rap/hip-hop sales dropped almost 50% between 2000 and 2009. It should be noted that the performance of particular genres of music that are more popular in some larger markets, such as the US and Japan, will also be reflected on a global level because of the high share of retail sales in those markets. However, rap/hip-hop has received criticism in recent years, particularly in the US, for its close association with violence. A poll a few years ago of black Americans conducted by the Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices found that half of all respondents described the genre as having a negative image.

Retail sales of classical music and jazz have also experienced a faster decline than the global average. For these genres, as well as some other genres grouped in this study as part of “other,” the reduction in floor space by brick-and-mortar retailers of slow-selling, low-margin genres in favor of better-selling items, such as DVDs, video games and consumer electronics, has had an impact on availability and subsequently sales. Moreover, the transition to digital and away from physical soundcarriers could be having a negative effect on the retail sales of the more-niche genres. For example, classical music is available online, but this on its own is not enough to secure sales. Except for searches for specific titles, browsing for classical music can be more restrictive online than in a physical store, because a consumer can see only what is displayed on his monitor at any one time. If digital-music services do not have helpful links, charts, submenus and subgenres, freely browsing a genre without significant background knowledge is almost impossible.

Although some genres that are more popular in a limited number of countries are included in this analysis, some are not. Country music, for example, is included, because it is more popular in the world’s biggest market, the US. The number of country-focused radio stations outnumbers most other genre-based stations. Because of this, a large number of country tracks figure in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which is based on airplay rather than sales. However, in terms of retail sales, the genre accounts for about 12%, compared with more than 30% for rock. Even so, despite much-lower retail sales of country music elsewhere in the world, the high level in the US resulted in a global share of 5.9% in 2009.

In contrast, religious and Latin genres – such as Musica Popular Brasileira, which itself incorporate subgenres such as samba and samba-cancao – sell well in many Latin American countries. But because Latin American countries account for a much lower share of global retail sales, these genres have been grouped as part of “other.” [Editor’s note: please check the more recent genre blog which has more up to date figures for 2010]

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