A snapshot of an industry in bloom.
Australian music industry body ARIA has released its wholesale figures for 2019, offering a snapshot of just how strong the Australian recorded music sector was prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Through the data released, which you can view in full here, it’s easy to come to the assumption that the Australian industry was set to grow further into 2020. ARIA hasn’t posted results this strong since 2004 – a wildly different era for all facets of the global industry – so it’s a pretty big deal for everyone involved. We strongly recommend sussing out the data for yourself, but here are some key findings we took from the report.
Five years of consecutive growth
The annual revenue of the Australian recorded music industry currently sits over $555 million,with this figure being 5.5%up on the revenue posted by the industry in 2018. It also means that the Australian music industry has enjoyed 5 yearsof consecutive growth between 2015 and 2019 – the last time this happened was between 1995 and 1999.
It’s all about streaming
It’s arguable that streaming services have in one way or another spearheaded this growth in revenue, with artists like Tones & I, Tame Impala and Flume netting huge streaming numbers both at home and abroad. Last year’s data shows that streaming revenue made up a whopping 80% of Australia’s recorded music revenue in 2019 – 18% more than 2018. This revenue came from both subscription-based and free streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, YouTube Music, Amazon and TIDAL.
Let’s (not) get physical
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that physical music sales aren’t powering the music industry like they used to. Physical sales dwindled by 21% in 2019, and only account for around 7% of the Australian music market today – excluding vinyl sales, which boosts that figure up to 11%. This really highlights the power streaming has over the industry: back in 2010, physical sales accounted for 73%of recorded industry revenue, which stood at $384 million in total.
Also, it’s worth noting that digital sales have taken a huge dive over the past year, with ARIA recording a 34%decline in revenue from the digital downloads of singles and LPs. This revenue stream generated around $45 million in 2019, whereas back in 2017, it notched a strong $97 million.
Is the vinyl revival coming to an end?
One other point of interest in ARIA’s 2019 report is that of the market for vinyl, which saw a 2.5% increase in revenue for the year and now accounts for 38% of physical revenue. However, these figures appear to indicate that the vinyl boom of the past few years is beginning to slow. Back in 2018, vinyl sales grew by by 15%, while 2017 notched up a 19% growth for the market, which shows that consumer interest in the format may have reached its peak.
ARIA Revenue Reports From 2010-2019
Prepare for the worst
Unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be seeing a repeat of the positive figures posted over the past five years in 2020. ARIA have implied that this year might be one of the most disappointing yet for the industry, with CEO Dean Rosen saying “2020 will be a year like no other due to the impact of COVID-19, but Australian artists and the music industry have faced numerous challenges over the years and have consistently adapted and innovated. With the continued support of Australian music fans, the music community and government, we will get through this together.”
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