European Music In Numbers


Here are some useful statistics:



  • IMPALA represents over 4000 independent music companies and national associations.
  • IMPALA Sales Awards represent over 100 million albums sold and €1.5 billion in revenue.


The independents

  • The music sector consists of thousands of independents and (since September 2012) 3 multinationals – “the majors”.
  • 99% of music businesses are micro, small or medium sized enterprises – “the independents”.
  • The independents are the innovators and early adopters, discovering new talent and producing 80% of all new releases.
  • The independents are responsible for 80% of the sector’s jobs, in line with the average 80% of Europe’s jobs generated by SMEs.
  • The global independent record label sector is worth $5.6bn representing 37.6% of the global market (key statistics and this infographic are taken from WIN's analysis of the independent music sector).
  • The biggest independent now has only 1.5% of the market. Previously this was 7%. The biggest major has 34%.
  • The combined market share of the majors is more than 80% (including distribution), climbing to a massive 95% for Top 100 on radio in Europe. Even the Top 2000 is concentrated - only 10% is independent.
  • Merlin (the global digital right agency for the independent label sector) members' distribution revenue grew eightfold in 4 years to $353M (2017).
  • For the third year running, over 2/3 of Merlin members reported growth each year (2017).
  • 67% of Merlin members surveyed reported that digital income represents over 50% their overall business revenues and 64% reported that audio streaming accounts for the majority of their digital revenues (2017).
  • 83% of Merlin members are optimistic about the future of their business (2017).


European Music

  • European cultural & creative sectors account for 7 million jobs and €509 billion of Europe's GDP.
  • Europe generates over one third of global recorded music revenues.
  • European recorded music revenues totalled €5.27 billion in 2016. Streaming revenues grew to 45.5% to $1.52 billion more than compensating declines in physical formats and downloads (2016).
  • In Europe, paid subscription represent 83.1% of streaming revenues.
  • Performance rights grew by 3.4% to €1.22 billion in 2016, representing 23.2% of total European music revenues.
  • Copyright-intensive sectors account for 9.9 million EU jobs.
  • Copyright-intensive industries make a positive contribution to the EU's trade balance: net export of €15bn.


Music industry

  • The music industry's digital revenues grew by 17.7% in 2016, to $7.8bn, with a 60.4% increase in streaming revenue (2016).
  • Digital music revenues now account for 50% of total industry revenues, compared to 34% for physical sales (2016).
  • Revenues from music subscription services grew to $4.904 billion in 2016.
  • Number of paying subscribers rose to 97 million in 2016.
  • Streaming now accounts for 59% of digital revenues and overtook downloads revenues (-20,5%) to become the industry's primary digital revenue stream (2016).
  • 50% of top tracks played on radio and downloaded in Europe are American.
  • Record companies invested $4.5 bn in research and development and marketing in 2015, representing 27% of these companies’ revenues.
  • As a whole, the music industry invested 16.9% of its revenue in research and development for new artists in 2015. It is higher than other research-intensive industries (e.g. pharmaceuticals and biotechnology 14.4%, software and computer services 10.1%, aerospace and defence 4.5%, etc.).
  • IPR‐intensive industries pay significantly higher wages than other industries, with a wage premium of more than 40%, with copyright-intensive sectors having the highest premium (69%).


        Digital services and Social media

        • There are more than 230 digital music services available across the EU, providing access to more than 40 million tracks.
        • 6 of the top 10 most liked people on Facebook are music artists (updated: June 2016).
        • 7 of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter are music artists (updated: June 2016).
        • 9 of the top 10 most watched videos of all time on YouTube are music videos. Out of the top 20, 18 are music videos (updated: June 2016).


        The value gap

        • Video streaming services have around 900 million users, while subscription-based audio streaming services have a much smaller base of 212 million users.
        • Spotify paid record companies $20 per user in 2015 while Youtube returned less than $1 for each user.
        • Merlin members report that video streaming services command 10 times more users than audio streaming services - but return less than 10% of the revenues


        Further statistics




        Mind the gap
        Is Europe set to recalibrate the Digital Market?