Emerging markets are diverging. The Big Five didn’t pull their weight. And watch Mexico.
Dig into the IFPI’s Global Music Report and you’re likely to find reasons for optimism and concern about the global music business. Some markets are thriving and helping guide the global business into slight year-to-year growth. Other markets seem to be in jeopardy of falling behind.
The big picture looks good. Global trade revenue (not retail spending) grew slightly, to $15 billion, from $14.5 billion in 2014. Look too far into the rear view mirror and these figures might be depressing -- even 10 years ago global revenue stood at $20 billion. But $15 billion is the highest mark since 2009 and possibly the first year of growth after bottoming out last year. At this point, growth is growth.
Aside the big picture and obvious trends, there are countless takeaways in the 128-page report. Here are five that stuck out to Billboard.
1. The biggest county in the world is showing the green shoots of legitimate recorded music markets. China’s market grew 63.8 percent to $169.7 million, enough to make it the 14th largest recorded music market in the world. Its performance, and importance to the global business, was good enough to receive a case study in the IFPI’s report. “Of all emerging markets” with a growing legitimate market, says the report, “China tops the list for record companies.”
The biggest markets don’t always have the highest per-person spending. China’s 13 cents per-capita spending is on par with the Philippines and current economic basket case Venezuela. But development in world’s largest country is working out just as the industry had hoped. Partnerships with large Internet operators and government efforts have helped reduce piracy and encourage the legal market to sprout. This is a digital-led growth, with digital sales account for 89 percent of total revenue.