The biggest players in the music industry aren’t the artists themselves, but the distributors, many of which have grown into massive billion-dollar companies. Warner Chappell, Universal Music, and Sony/ATV account for well over 50 percent of music publishing revenues around the world. These companies amass billions of dollars in revenue each year from music publishing alone, and have massive influence over the industry as a whole. Many of the world’s biggest record labels are owned by these publishing companies, meaning that their influence extends all the way to the artists themselves.
Live music is also a quite important feature of the music market in the U.S. Around 35 percent of U.S. adults stated that they attended an event within the past year, with 23 percent of these being music festival patrons. Concerts allow artists to connect with fans and grow their influence around the country and based on revenues and ticket sales, it seems to be working. In 2018, five separate music tours sold over one million tickets, with countless others selling numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Concert promotion companies such as Live Nation promote thousands of events each year, and with tour revenue figures often reaching hundreds of millions of dollars, it is clear how much money is available in the industry.
Ultimately, the music industry in the U.S. remains strong and despite significant changes since its heyday, there is still potential for growth. Recorded music revenue has hovered between 4.6 and 4.9 billion U.S. dollars since 2009, however in 2018 revenues surged to 6.6 billion, a significant increase on previous years. The increasing availability of streaming services, along with the massive popularity of smartphones has ensured that more people than ever have access to music essentially whenever they want. In addition, smart speakers are quickly becoming an everyday feature in homes around the U.S. allowing people to listen to music on demand in their homes and cars and on the go. Whilst just 87.6 million physical albums were sold in the U.S. in 2017, the increased demand for digital music has meant that streaming revenue has grown exponentially, amounting to 5.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. This marks a dramatic upward spike from the 4 billion dollars recorded in 2016, and looking at the consistent increase in streaming revenue since 2010, these figures are unlikely to show any signs of decline. Looking to the future, brands and consumers can expect the music industry in the United States to become increasingly more reliant on revenue from digital channels.