Australia's Recorded Music Market Posts Highest Annual Growth Since 1996

 Australian flag music 2016
Paul McConnell/Getty Images

A music festival-goer displays an Australian flag in Sydney, Australia.

Fueled by streaming services Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and others, Australia’s recorded music industry last year enjoyed the sort of double-digit growth not seen since the glory days of the 1990s. 
ARIA on Monday announced the market grew by 10.5% in value last year to A$391 million ($303 million), thanks largely to the “continued consumer uptake” of streaming services. This leap in annual wholesale value was the largest Australia’s industry has experienced since 1996.

Streaming is now a big business Down Under. Last year, revenue from streaming services topped A$213 million ($165 million), up 55% from A$137 million ($106 million) the previous year, and generated the largest slice of the overall market (54%) for the first time. 

The streaming category reported by ARIA combines revenues from subscription services, which include Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play and Spotify, with those from other non-subscription on-demand streaming platforms such as YouTube and Vevo. 

As music fans flocked to subscription services, the income generated by these businesses grew by A$60 million ($46 million) in the 12-month period to A$169 million ($131 million). This is a “remarkable performance given the revenue from this segment of the market was negligible just five years ago,” the trade body notes. 

With the exception of vinyl, all physical formats saw declines during the reporting period. CD albums, once the most powerful category of them all, diminished to A$74 million ($57 million) in 2017, down 14.4% from the prior year. CD albums now account for less than 20% of the market. On the flip side, the market for vinyl albums came in at A$18 million ($13.9 million) in the January-December 2017 period, up nearly 20% from the year before. 

“We are delighted to see the industry in such a positive growth path and that this strong 2017 result follows the increasing revenues over the past two years,” comments Denis Handlin, ARIA chairman and chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand and President, Asia. The industry continues to “transform and change at a rapid pace,” he adds, and the results are “a credit to the continued high quality work, innovation, development of local artists, as well as to the industry’s tenacious approach in marketing and delivering music to fans across the country.” 

It’s a good result, but it’s much too early to celebrate. “Although our industry is now on a pathway to recovery,” notes Handlin, “it is absolutely critical that Australia retains a strong copyright framework to ensure that artists and labels can protect their work and earn their fair share in the growing digital market.”

Australia's record business and others will be analyzed in the IFPI's Global Media Report, which will be presented next Tuesday (April 24).