Global Music Industry Grows by 10.2% in 2023, with Taylor Swift Leading the Charge

Published March 21, 2024

The music industry saw a notable increase in revenue of 10.2% globally in the past year, reaching a total of 28.6 billion dollars. Latin America experienced one of the most significant regional growths, nearly 20%, according to figures released on Thursday.

Rising Stars and Top Sellers

Leading the pack without surprise was American singer Taylor Swift, as highlighted in the annual report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents major record labels. Trailing Swift, Korean bands Seventeen and Stray Kids epitomized the escalating popularity of K-Pop.

The best-selling songs of the year included Miley Cyrus's 'Flowers,' the only track to surpass 2 billion streams—with over 2.7 billion—followed by 'Calm Down' by Rema and Selena Gomez with 1.89 billion plays, and 'Kill Bill' by Sza with 1.84 billion streams.

Streaming and Physical Formats Fuel Growth

For the ninth consecutive year, the music industry's expansion continued, thanks in part to the surge in music streaming services, which saw an 11.2% growth and now make up over two-thirds (67.3%) of global revenues. The number of paid streaming subscriptions soared past 500 million for the first time, reaching 667 million subscribers.

Even physical formats such as vinyl records are on the rise, witnessing a 13.4% increase in sales.

Market Dynamics

'This year's report reflects a truly global and diverse industry, with revenue growth in every market, every region, and in nearly all recorded music formats,' stated John Nolan, IFPI's Chief Financial Officer.

Sub-Saharan Africa, with a growth of 24.7%, and Latin America, with 19.4%, stood out due to the widespread adoption of streaming and the emergence of local stars such as Burna Boy, Asake, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny. The largest music markets continued to be the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Challenges Ahead

However, the industry is not without its challenges, especially as younger generations increasingly divide their attention between platforms like TikTok and online gaming.

'Short-form video platforms, which rely on ad revenue, are not in a position to drive paid subscriptions,' remarked Dennis Kooker of Sony Music during a press conference for the release of the IFPI report. And at the same time, 'they are becoming the primary consumption platforms for many young consumers,' he added.

Universal Music Group recently pulled their catalog from TikTok due to disagreements over artificial intelligence-generated music and song copyrights.

Record labels are now focusing more on superfans, those 'who want more and are willing to pay more,' according to Kooker. They need specially designed products to cater to this demographic, but convincing the general public to pay for streaming remains a challenge.

growth, streaming, vinyl