Amit Gurbaxani finds out why India could grow as a music market but won’t thrive and break into the global top ten
How well does the music industry protect its trade secrets? Well, if you want the full Global Music Report (GMR), published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the recording industry worldwide, you’ll have to shell out £15,000, i.e. nearly Rs 15 lakh. This valuable document details how over 50 countries performed in terms of music revenue over the past year.
The free downloadable version of the GMR gives us global and regional data, but no country-wide numbers. Fortunately, for those of us in India, Devraj Sanyal, Managing Director and CEO of Universal Music Group India and South Asia was among the suits that were part of the press conference organized by IFPI to announce publication of this year’s report. Sanyal was among those who shared their market development and thanks to this, we know that the domestic recorded music market grew by 20.3% to $219 million, or about 1,620 crores of rupees (using the average exchange rate for the year).
This made us the 17th largest market in the world, the same as in 2020. We did not progress because, in 2021, the revenues of each country tracked by the IFPI increased as they were recovering from the pandemic-induced slowdown. the year before.
Indian data for GMR is submitted by the national trade body Indian Music Industry (IMI), which has fortunately released at least some of the information used in this report into the public domain. Of the Rs 1,620 crore, IMI shared, 86.9% came from streaming (and 2.6% from other digital revenue streams), 5.3% from synchronization, 3.8% from media rights. execution and 1.4% of physical products.
While more than nine out of ten rupees earned by the recorded music industry is through streaming, during the press conference, Sanyal said that only 0.4% of us are paying users. This means that, according to its own estimate of our population at 1.4 billion, the number of subscribers nationwide is only 5.6 million.
Around the same time, the IFPI publishes the GMR, the accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) publish their annual report on media and entertainment, which offers us an alternative view of the health of the Indian music industry. According to them, the labels earned Rs 1,600 crore in 2021 which is quite close to the official IFPI/IMI figure.
EY and FICCI distinguish between revenue generated by labels and money raised by the music industry, which they see as the consumer-facing platforms that pay these record labels a cut of their revenue. Overall, they place the current value of our music business at Rs 1,870 crore, or approximately $245 million.
Segment-wise, 90% of that came from digital (read “streaming”), 6% from synchronization and 4% from performing rights, with sales of physical products being all but wiped out. Other key stats in their report are the number of monthly active users (MAUs) of audio streaming services at just 197 million, data credited to Comscore.
This was actually a drop from 2020, when there were 205 million UMAs. The total number of subscribers is only 3 million, almost half of the figure given by Sanyal. As a result, 80% of streaming revenue is generated by advertising.
Among the sources cited by EY-FICCI is IMI’s Digital Music Study 2021. This study, carried out as part of a global survey carried out in association with the IFPI, questioned 4,000 Internet users aged 16 to 64 in June and last July. Notably, 67% of those who participated said they had used a paid tier of a streaming service, which, considering how few of us are actually subscribers, indicates that the sample was perhaps not not representative of the average Indian music consumer.
Despite this, a recurring theme in the IMI study is YouTube’s dominance in India. 58% of respondents said it was their favorite way to stream music, and 23% said it was where they discovered new music, making it the first place to discover new releases . Additionally, nearly half of 16-24 year olds revealed they don’t pay for music because YouTube has everything they want, and 39% of Bollywood music fans said they would choose the video streaming service if they had to choose one way to listen.
Amit Gurbaxani is a Mumbai-based journalist who has been writing about music, particularly the country’s indie scene, for nearly two decades. He tweets @TheGroovebox.
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