Music Monday: Despite Pandemic, 2020 Was a Good Year for the Music Industry

Not every industry struggled in 2020.

Global music sales grew for the sixth consecutive year in 2020, with total revenues rising 7.4% to $21.6 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) “Global Music Report 2021.”

Music industry sales are now close to its all time high (at least based on the past 20 years) when the recorded music industry revenues totaled $23.6 billion in 2001. As a result of piracy and declining physical sales, the market bottomed out at $14 billion in 2014.

The key to growth in 2020 was streaming music, with total streaming subscription revenues (paid and ad-supported) up 19.9% to $13.4 billion. Streaming’s share of global music sales now stands at 62%.

There are 443 million paid subscribers for streaming music services (count me as one of those, thanks to Spotify). There was an 18.5% rise in streaming subscription revenues, which totaled $9.9 billion last year.

Unfortunately, there was a 4.7% drop in physical revenues to $4.2 billion and a 10.1% fall in performance rights revenues to $2.3 billion.

CD sales continue to decline, but vinyl sales continue to increase, as evidenced by last year’s growth of 23.5%.

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.

The top digital single was by Blinding Lights by The Weeknd. While its not my type of music, it’s hard to argue with 2.7 billion subscription stream equivalents globally.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t use Blinding Lights as this week’s song:

Sources: Reuters, Billboard


48 thoughts on “Music Monday: Despite Pandemic, 2020 Was a Good Year for the Music Industry

  1. I think it’s a nice sounding tune, but I’d never buy it. Given my usual disdain for music, it takes a lot to get me to buy a single or album. But now and then something catches my ear. Not this tune, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are interesting figures, Jim. I had wondered about how the music industry was doing over this lockdown period. I have never even heard of these 5 artists and I doubt I would like their music. I am quite selective [and old fashioned] in my taste in music.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The music industry is so fascinating to me. It’s remarkable to think that vinyl has made such a comeback. In one sense I’m a little surprised by the rise in sales due to the lack of music concerts. On the other hand, most of us had more time to listen to music.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post Jim. The continued reduction in CDs sales is not surprising. Cars don’t have CD players any more (mine doesn’t damn it) and a lot of new music is only available on vinyl or download. I do like vinyl albums (look and feel of them) but they are are expensive and most of the time I can’t detect any improvement over cd in terms of sound quality. I can’t wait to get back to watching live music… just hope the venues will still be there to host it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t tell the difference in music quality either, whether it’s vinyl, cd, or streaming. I do hope live music comes back soon, for both the artists and the fans…


  5. i think we all had a lot of home time on our hands and music was part of our therapy for getting through each day. i remember when streaming platforms were first starting any many musical artists were railing against it. at some point they realized this was the future of music mass delivery and embraced it. concerts are down due to covid as well, but people still need music and i love the return of vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The pandemic was a unique time for many musical artists. Without the crush of touring and appearances, many were left with real quality time to write more music. And the pandemic provided a whole host of emotions, fears, and miracles to write about. The resurgence of vinyl is reminiscent for me in a retro, hipster kind of way, but for the truest sound quality digital is hard to beat. Just nice to hear some good news for any industry in the trying times. Great post, Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A music post all about stats? It could only be you! I’d not heard anything by The Spellng Mstk before but surprised myself by quite liking that. I don’t think it will be habit-forming, though – I’ll stay with Taylor 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember an article or perhaps it was a news interview a few years ago about a musician who said he made so little money that he would set his song up to play over and over in order to make money. I can’t help but wonder if that is still the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would think that the streaming services would find a way to put an end to such a strategy. But I have heard that artists do not make much from streaming music, except the really popular ones…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it would be hard to not to have at least heard of Taylor Swift if you live in the U.S.

      And two thumbs up for Foghat; I don’t know much about Molly Hatchet…


      1. I prefer the 80’s. Pink Floyd is a name that I do recognize and do like some of their stuff. I brought up the names Foghat and Molly Hatchet to my “Music encylopedia” husband last night asking if he had heard of them. Yes, he has and he has Cd’s of them. I could learn so much about music if I just listened to every Cd he has. LOL!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I don’t know if e likes to read, but he might like this blogger from the U.K., who writes fabulous posts about music about once or twice a week. The nice thing is, he is about my age, and so we like a lot of the same music. But like your husband, he is a walking music encyclopedia.


  9. We got a free subscription to Serius Radio with our car for a year. Other than that I post links from the internet into my posts. I like the fact you can look up any subject and find a song that applies. It’s like finding quotes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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