Music’s Distinct Digital Profile

EXTRA Here’s an Interesting data point from CISAC’s latest Global Collections Report, released today: Music was the only repertoire among the major creative industries to show increased royalty collections in 2021. Collections in all other categories were either flat, as was TV & Radio, the biggest category overall, or down from 2020. Music’s growth, moreover, came despite the sharp drop in collections from live performances and background uses of music that began in 2020 and continued through 2021, as venues remained shuttered and people around the world remained huddled at home due to the Covid pandemic.

Virtually all of the growth in music collections came from digital royalties, primarily streaming, which increased by 27.5% over 2020.

Here’s another data point: Digital was the only significant category of royalty collections to show growth overall in 2021, rising 27.9%. Even with that increase, however, digital still represents less than one-third of all collections across all sectors, behind TV & radio and, in pre-Covid times, behind live & background.

According to IFPI’s 2021 tablulations, however, digital streaming, including both subscription and ad-supported services, accounted for nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of to all music wholesale revenue, dwarfing all other sources.

Together, those two data points indicate that music is responsible for a highly disproportionate share of total digital media royalty revenue.

At the network level, of course, a digit is a digit. A packet carrying data from the latest Taylor Swift album looks and behaves like any other packet traversing the internet, whether carrying data from the latest Wakanda movie or the latest podcast.

But the weight they carry, within their respective industries as well as within the digital media universe as a whole, is vastly different.

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