Music Production & Distribution Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Music Production & Distribution Industry Profile

Companies in this industry produce, sell, and license musical recordings; they may also own and license musical copyrights. Major companies include Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group (all based in the US), as well as Avex (Japan); Edel (Germany); and GMM Grammy (Thailand). Music streaming services from companies such as Amazon and Apple (both based in the US); and Spotify (Sweden) are increasingly important to the industry.

Global streaming revenue grew by about 20% driven by paid streaming with more than 440 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2020, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Latin America remained the fastest-growing region globally, followed by Asia, the Africa & Middle East. Europe, the second-largest recorded music region in the world, grew less than 5%, while the US & Canada region grew by about 10%.

The US music production and distribution industry includes about 3,700 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $15 billion.


Demand is driven by consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on discovering and promoting new musical talent and generating revenue from the company's asset base of recordings and publications. Large companies have advantages in marketing and distribution. Smaller companies, many of which are independent record labels (often referred to as "indies"), can compete effectively by focusing on artists ...

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