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Music industry boosted by pandemic as 2020 sales hit high note

Published: Updated:

Turn on, tune in and stay at home. That’s what millions of music fans did in 2020, with a rise in subscription streaming leading global recorded music revenue growth of 7.4 percent.

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The market reported total revenues of $21.6 billion, marking its sixth consecutive year of growth, industry trade body the IFPI said in its Global Music Report on Tuesday.

The year’s top five best-selling artists were K-pop stars BTS, songstress Taylor Swift, rapper Drake, singer The Weeknd and teen sensation Billie Eilish.

“As the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the enduring power of music to console, heal and lift our spirits,” IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said.

Total streaming, including both paid subscription and advertising-supported, rose 19.9 percent to $13.4 billion, accounting for 62.1 percent of total global recorded music revenues, IFPI said.

Paid subscription streaming revenues rose by 18.5 percent and there were 443 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2020, the IFPI said.

The streaming figures compared to a decline in physical format revenues, which fell by 4.7 percent.

And with concerts and festivals canceled as countries went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, revenues from performance rights dropped 10.1 percent.

“With so much of the world in lockdown and live music shut down, in nearly every corner of the globe most fans enjoyed music via streaming,” Moore said.

The IFPI said record companies had supported artists in making music despite the difficult circumstances.

Latin America remained the fastest-growing region, with recorded music revenues rising 15.9 percent, followed by Asia with growth of 9.5 percent and Africa and the Middle East with 8.4 percent.

The US and Canada region grew by 7.4 percent in 2020, while Europe saw revenues rise by 3.5 percent.

In Britain, recorded music revenues rose to their highest since 2006, up 3.8 percent to 1.118 billion pounds ($1.54 billion), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

Streaming revenues, up 15.4 percent to 736.5 million pounds, led the growth while physical revenues fell 2.6 percent to 210.3 million pounds, with online sales cushioning the impact of lockdowns.

Online campaigns helped drive vinyl sales, which rose by nearly a third to 86.5 million pounds in Britain, their highest total since 1989, the BPI said.

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