Business News Digital Labels & Publishers

Streaming continues to boom for indies, but not YouTube mind

By | Published on Friday 9 June 2017


Indie-label repping global digital rights agency Merlin yesterday published the results of its annual member survey and data analysis at the annual meeting of the American Association Of Independent Music in New York.

Headline stats included that revenue distributions to Merlin’s member record labels and distributors around the world were up 52% year-on-year for the twelve month period to March this year, sitting at $353 million. Again demonstrating the streaming boom of recent years, that means the revenues distributed by Merlin has increased eightfold in four years.

Within the survey, 64% of indie labels questioned said that audio streaming now accounts for the majority of their digital income. Meanwhile 67% of Merlin members said that digital now accounted for more than half their overall revenues, with 39% saying that digital services now generated more than three quarters of their business.

Though despite the streaming boom, Merlin noted that income from video streaming sites – chiefly YouTube of course – saw only “only negligible” growth. The agency said: “According to an analysis of several billions of streams comparing the twelve months to March 2017 with the year before, revenue growth from audio streaming is outpacing that of video streaming at a rate of more than three-to-one”.

Commenting on all this, Merlin chief Charles Caldas said: “Over the past twelve months, we have witnessed a great leap forward. Audio streaming is now dominating Merlin members’ digital business, and we are continuing to see the vast majority of our independent labels thrive under what are very different market dynamics”.

He added: “As a global-facing agency, it is especially pleasing to see such consistent international growth, and the continuing over-performance of Merlin-licensed repertoire on paid subscription tiers. Clearly, the labels we represent and the artists they support hold a unique value to music fans the world over. The only relative step backwards is the industry-wide underperformance of video-streaming. If we can address this market anomaly, then the uplift across the business would be enormous”.