Industry report: ARIA figures show strong growth in Australian market

Figures released by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) last week for the first half of 2018 showed the Australian recording industry more than just in good shape.

2017 set a new record for best performance in 20 years, and 2018 has built on the achievement. Between January and end of June, the market grew a further 6% to  $195.6 million. This was a stronger performance than in the first half of 2017, so we can assume that the full 12 months of 2018 will set another record.

The Australian music consumer continues to move away from physical formats to digital, and beyond that, moving away from buying to streaming. The physical format (CD, vinyl, cassette) keeps declining, down 21.39% in the first six months to a dollar value of $33.19 million. In comparison, the dollar value of physical formats was $42.2 million in the first half of 2017. Vinyl albums continued their resurgence, up 22.91% in dollar value to $9.08 million, compared to $7.39 million in 2017’s first half.  CD albums had a sharp drop of 30.13%, from  $32.8 million to $22.9 million.

Digital now represents 67% of the total Australian recorded music market, and is up 14.1% in dollar value to $162.4 million. Digital tracks were down 31.8% to $14.5 million, and digital albums down 36.02% to $13.4 million. Of streaming, ad supported models generated $12.68 million (up 31.8 million); subscription services up 35.1% to $104.99 million; and video streaming up 41.1% to $14.61 million.

The adoption of streaming services has helped Australian musicians, songwriters and producers find a greater foothold in the market. According to ARIA, music exports have grown to almost 30% since 2015 to around $20 million. Similar data came from APRA AMCOS: the association isn’t releasing its figures for a few more weeks. But its CEO Dean Ormston revealed that foreign revenue had seen a huge jump for songwriters and publishers, reaching a record $43.7 million this year.

ARIA chief Dan Rosen told the Australian Financial Review, “We’re seeing more and more Australian acts having global careers. That is a great opportunity for the Australian government to generate more export dollars. The US business alone is a $10 billion market that grew 16 per cent last year. Music is something we’re really good at, that’s something that’s embraced globally.”

At the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the music sector, the industry made two points continually. It was one thing for the government to help the Australian industry be robust through radio quotas, crackdowns on piracy and protecting live music venues. But it was also important to fund musicians, songwriters and producers to find more opportunities overseas. The government was also sent the message that the music industry is not confined to just one portfolio, but a number of them, and that it was important they work together to give Australian music the right push.