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German Music Market Enjoys Sales Bump, Streaming Growth Tops Forecasts

Germany's music market raked in sales of €1.5 billion in 2015, the industry's best performance since 2009, when that tally was €1.54 billion. In 2014 the market generated sales of €1.48 billion. That is a 3.9 percent increase in value in 2015 (2014: 1.8 percent), according to figures announced today by the German Federal Music Industry Association (BVMI).

With a gain of 96.6 percent, streaming services continued its growth and achieved a new peak level that exceeded previous forecasts. This development was enough to offset declines in the physical market (-4.2 percent) and download sales (-2.6 percent). Vinyl records were the only physical recorded media to show renewed growth, albeit in a niche market; with an increase of 32.2 percent (3.3 percent of the market). Digital music with streaming and downloads accounted for 30.9 percent of the overall market in 2015. Physical music sales (CD, vinyl, DVD/Blu-ray) claimed a robust 69.1 percent share.

BVMI managing director Dr. Florian Drücke told Billboard, "Streaming services are now reaching a broader public. At the same time, 2015 confirms that Germans are across-the-board users; that is, they take advantage of all possible usages: In addition to streaming, vinyl continues to grow significantly. In 2015, eight of the top 10 albums on the German Annual Charts were German-language albums."

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Frank Briegmann, president and CEO Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon told Billboard: "The underlying conditions in Germany are nothing short of ideal. We have a relatively stable market for physical data media, while downloads have also been growing again despite the popularity of streaming services. We are not giving preference to individual channels. As far as we are concerned, there is no battle between the individual music budgets. Rather, what we are currently experiencing is peaceful co-existence. Different target groups consume music in different ways. We are pursuing an omni-channel strategy to provide consumers with an optimum music experience via all channels as far as possible. No matter where you looked music and artists were the main subject of interest for young people, driving traffic, interaction and identification. Music indirectly triggered sales in the billions. This makes it all the more important to close the value gap once and for all. Of the billions of euros generated by video platforms, only a small fraction reaches our artists and us. This is not enough. A fair solution must be urgently found. We are actively endeavoring to achieve this in many political talks including those seeking to have copyright law updated and harmonized at an international level."

Said Philip Ginthör, CEO Sony Music GSA: "Looking forward, I see continued healthy growth in the German market provided that the industry links the two poles between sustainable artist development and the protection of digital/economic interests even more effectively."

Bernd Dopp, Chairman and CEO Warner Music Central Europe and member of the BVMI-board, told Billboard: "The health of our recorded music market is very encouraging, and we must continue to build an environment where new music and legitimate services can flourish.  We are investing heavily in discovering, nurturing and promoting German artists at home and around the world, and we're particularly proud of the fact that Robin Schulz is proving to be Germany's most successful music export in a generation."

In 2015 again the domestic productions dominated the German album charts. That is the result of the annual chart review of the German business magazine Musikmarkt. Female singer Helene Fischer (Universal) came to number 1. Fischer’s Christmas album and her album "Farbenspiel" sold within a few weeks over 1.5 million units in Germany. On tour in Germany more than 900.000 people came to her concerts.  She competed against the international star Adele on number 2 and the German female singer Sarah Connor who for the first time in her ten years career released an album in German. On the following positions are ther German lnaguage bands Santiano and Unheilig and the national productions Andreas Bourani, Frei.Wild and Pur. The first international production is Ed Sheeran on No. 9. Altogether the national productions have a share in the top 50 album charts of 76 percent (2014: 68 percent).

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On the other hand the single charts are dominated by international productions. At number one: Omi, ahead of Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Lost Frequencies and the German DJ with an US-production Felix Jaehn featuring Jasmine Thompson followed by Major Lazer featuring DJ Snake, Adele, Justin Bieber, Avicii and many more. Here the international share in the single-charts is 68 percent (2014: 78 percent).

The successful music-publishers in 2015 were: Sony/ATV (23.21 percent), BMG Rights (16.41 percent), Warner/Chappell (12.34 percent), UMPG (11.80 percent), Kobalt (10.42 percent), Budde (3.80 percent), Imagem (2.59 percent), Wintrup (1.17 percent), 2101 Songs (1.13 percent) and Schedler (0.96 percent).

In the album charts the majors are dominant: Universal Music Group came with 338 titles to a market share of 48.08 percent (2014: 44.96 percent), ahead of Sony Music with 204 titles and 18.10 percent (2014: 24.58 percent) and Warner Music Group with 190 titles and 12.62 percent (2014: 13.71 percent).