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Graphic shows music revenues from 2005-20.


Streaming music revenues surge

By Duncan Mil

September 20, 2021 - Following a decade of shrinking revenue hammered by internet piracy, streaming has driven the music industry’s comeback, funnelling billions of dollars to Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music.

On Tuesday, Universal’s parent Vivendi and its controlling shareholder Vincent Bolloré will spin out 60% of the music company to trade on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange.

Recorded music sales, which bottomed out at $13.7 billion in 2014, have accelerated to top $21bn in 2020, according to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) data. Streaming makes up most of that revenue, growing to $13.4bn in 2020, up 10.5 per cent over 2019 figures.

Global sales are still below their 1999 peak of some $39bn in global revenue, according to the IFPI. The 1999 sum approaches $60bn compared to 2020’s revenue harvest of $35.7 billion in today’s dollars.

Wall Street gives Universal a valuation of €33bn, but analysts believe it is worth much more -- JPMorgan describes it as “an extraordinary asset,” predicting its valuation at “a conservative” $54bn.

Lucian Grainge, Universal’s chief executive, told the Financial Times that the company is making money from new sources such as video gaming, fitness apps and social media companies.

“We’re just opening up new areas of monetisation that we couldn’t even predict before,” said Grainge. “I think Universal will end up being a $100bn company in a very, very short order.”

PUBLISHED: 20/09/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images