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Independent artist revenue from music sales grew nearly 30% in 2017, says report

A recent analysis shows that revenues from artists selling music directly to fans made up the fastest growing segment of the industry last year.

Global revenues from recorded music sales by artists who used platforms like Bandcamp shot up nearly 30% from 2016 to 2017, according to a recent report from an industry analyst.

Mark Mulligan says on his Music Industry Blog that revenues from artists using Bandcamp, CD Baby and other "artists direct" platforms to sell music directly to consumers increased by 27.2%, from $371 million in 2016 to $472 million in 2017. While representing just 2.7% of the global market share, it was by far the fastest-growing segment in the industry last year, and the report describes it as a key indicator of an increasingly diversified market.

Total revenues for recorded music in 2017 reached $17.4 billion, up from $16 billion in 2016, making for an 8.5% annual growth rate. Major label dominance continued as expected, with Universal Music ($5.2 billion), Sony Music ($3.6 billion) and Warner Music ($3.1 billion) together holding around 70% of the market, while independents had revenues totaling $4.8 billion.

Streaming services are still driving overall growth, with last year's $7.4 billion in revenues representing a 43% share of the market.

Notably, Mulligan's report, which he says aligns closely with figures released today by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), also points out that the overall size of the market is approaching what it was in 2008, "meaning that the decline wrought through much of the last 10 years has been expunged."