In Other News: June’21 (2/5) ‘How Big Was Big?’

The Global (Recorded + Live) Music Industry (2019)

Music is vitally important to millions across many generations, providing not just an evolving soundtrack, but for many an inspiration to personal identity and self-worth, providing access to a shared experience, community, fun and good times – ‘sex n’drugs & rock n’roll’.

Historically the recorded and publishing sectors dominated the cultural perception and commercial reality of music industry revenues controlling content, marketing and release schedules, pricing, licensing, and distribution with touring plans typically scheduled to follow album release priorities and extend catalogue revenues.

However, commentators over recent years have highlighted the money shift that occurred following the advent of internet file-sharing, whereby a whole generation opted out of paying to consume recorded music. 

For a decade and more live revenues grew whilst recorded shrank until the scalable adoption of streaming whose technology (largely developed by former bit-torrent ‘poachers turned gamekeepers’) with slick UI, convenience and near-universal catalogues finally enabled some form of return to health for the record companies (leaving to one side for the moment the ongoing debate about the level of net music streaming royalties paid to individual artists) with approximately $20.2Bn total revenues in 2019.

Global Recorded Music Industry Revenues 2001-19 (US $Bn)

(c) IFPI

By comparison, the live music industry experienced significant and prolonged growth during the same period with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) calculating that the total revenues of the live sector (ticket sales + event sponsorship) eventually exceeded that of recorded + publishing + sync.

Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2011-2020

(c) PwC / Ovum

Within a later edition of its annual report ‘Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022’ PwC then predicted that global ticket sales would grow from just over $22Bn in 2019 to more than $25Bn in 2023, whilst live music sponsorship would also grow from $5.91Bn to $6.46Bn over the same period, equating to a live music industry worth approximately $31.49bn in 2023 (

But concentrating on actuals as opposed to projections (with research collated from various public and private sources), in 2019 the combined global music industry (recorded + live) therefore equated to approximately $48Bn, of which recorded contributed $20Bn and live music $28Bn.

So how big was big? – $48Bn big! (2019)

So whilst the Pandemic meant recorded music consumption increased by approximately 12% (see the excellent Midia Research: the live industry has been effectively shutdown.

And to rebuild back to $28Bn is going to be far more difficult, and arguably take longer than desired by all participants.

To be continued ….


By T_J_Chambers

Advisor / Consultant & occasional posts

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