Business News Labels & Publishers

Indies accounted for 39.9% of recorded music revenues in 2017, says WIN

By | Published on Tuesday 4 December 2018

World Independent Network (WIN)

Independent record labels accounted for 39.9% of the global recorded music market in 2017 – up from 39.6% in 2016 – according to new figures from the World Independent Network.

This headline stat is contained in the third edition of the WINTEL report, produced by MIDiA Research and Music Ally. The aim of this report is to analyse performance in the record industry based on who controls the copyright in a recording, rather than who distributes the music to retailers and digital services.

When the stats are crunched based on distribution, the majors get to include the music controlled by any indie labels that they distribute within their market share. But the WINTEL report instead allocates value generated by those recordings to the indie sector.

Demonstrating the impact that has, WINTEL reckons that 22.4% of revenue generated by independently controlled recordings – which equates to $1.5 billion – went through a major label distributor. In this report that is counted as indie label income.

Other top line stats in the report include the brag that, while the record industry at large saw its revenues grow in 2017, indie labels outperformed the wider market. The WINTEL figures reckon that the indies scored year-on-year growth of 11.3%, which is just over 1% higher than the rest of the market. Streaming revenues saw the most significant growth in the indie sector in 2017 – as for the industry at large – rising by 46%.

The report also notes the increasing trend of artists self-releasing their recordings through their own labels and then tapping the services of a distributor or label services company for distribution, marketing and so on. That distributor may also be allied to a major, or it might be an independent distributor or indie label offering artist services of that kind. WINTEL reckons that self-releasing artists generated revenues of $101 million in 2017.

Commenting on all these figures, WIN CEO Alison Wenham actually points in particular to one other stat contained in the report. “There are numerous interesting outcomes from this survey”, she says. “But one thing that really stood out for me is the fact that 76% of artists are choosing to renew their contracts with their labels, which shows that the indies are forging great bonds with those they represent”.

Then noting that the indies are united with the majors when it comes to securing copyright reform around the world, Wenham goes on: “It has been another turbulent twelve months for our industry on a lot of levels but we have emerged with the prospect of powerful new legislation to protect our businesses, fantastic growth in some unexpected territories and increasing support from music fans who have continued to enjoy and engage with the amazing music coming out of the worldwide independent community”.