In 2021, global music revenue generated by digital music and downloads fell to 1.1 billion U.S. dollars. It was the lowest figure reported since 2005 and marked the ninth consecutive year of revenue decline.
Music streaming is gaining steam
The music industry has undergone fundamental changes due to the shifts in consumer demand and behavior. In 2021, global recorded music revenue hit an all-time high of around 28.8 billion U.S. dollars, and while this figure was partially fueled by the revival of the live music sector, the top driver of growth was streaming. Music streaming accounted for an estimated 65 percent of industry revenues in 2021, whereas digital downloads contributed less than five percent to the annual total. Audiences have come to prefer access models over ownership in recent years, which is no surprise considering the extensive range of titles available for a set rate on platforms like Spotify.
Most music lovers listen to their favorite tracks and discover new artists via streaming platforms. And yet, some fans also choose to pay for individual music purchases, be it via digital downloads or in physical formats. In 2021, Adele’s “30” was the best-selling music album worldwide, with nearly 4.7 billion units sold. The singer’s fourth studio album also ranked first among the top-selling vinyl albums that year, ahead of newcomer Olivia Rodrigo and her debut album “SOUR”.
Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2021
(in billion U.S. dollars)
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IFPI. (March 22, 2022). Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved October 06, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/
IFPI. "Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars)." Chart. March 22, 2022. Statista. Accessed October 06, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/
IFPI. (2022). Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: October 06, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/
IFPI. "Global Digital Music Revenue from 2004 to 2021 (in Billion U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 22 Mar 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/
IFPI, Global digital music revenue from 2004 to 2021 (in billion U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/263109/global-digital-music-revenue/ (last visited October 06, 2022)