The US music publishing industry generated $4.7bn last year – but the record industry grew twice as fast

There are financial statistics in the music business that, on the surface, don’t tell us much. They may be large and influential, but they reveal little about the trends affecting the broader business.

Here’s one of those numbers: According to the National Music Publishers Association, the US music publishing industry generated USD $4.70 billion in the calendar year of 2021.

This figure, revealed by NMPA boss David Israelite annual meeting of trade organization in New York in June, was under the bus $700 million Versus the equivalent number from 2020 ($4.08bn,

it was more than double The size of the annual revenue of music publishers in the states as recently as 2014 ($2.15bn), as per the NMPA data announced earlier.



However, the growth of music publishing in the US in 2021 was nothing compared to the recorded music industry in the same year.

Where the NMPA figure gets really interesting – especially in the context of the ongoing music industry debate – is when you compare it to the equivalent figure for the US record industry.

The above 2021 figure for annual US music publishing revenue ($4.70bn) was estimated using a survey of NMPA members.

As such, it is a reflection of the total bulk Revenue received by music publishers in this period.

but have a similar bulk annual number recorded The music side of the music business in America, provided by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

that figure stood $9.8 billion in 2021, as confirmed by the RIAA in March.

that $9.8 billion Wholesale figure was up for 2021 $1.8 billion year-on-year, compared to $8.0 billion Revenue received by a record label/distributor in the US in 2020.

To summarize the point: music publishers saw their wholesale US revenue increase $700 million In 2021 according to industry (NMPA) data; But the record companies (and distributors) noticed their Wholesale US revenue more than doubled this figure: $1.8 billion,



Regular MBW readers will know that the difference between these two numbers is sure to ignite some statistics within today’s music biz, who argue that the recorded music industry is an uneven comparison to the music publishing (and songwriting) space. generating amount.

One such figure is Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis, who wrote an op/ed for MBW last year in which he argued: “[2021] The recorded music industry will have the most lucrative year ever seen by the nearly 90% of the people who work in it – and the cash is pouring in.

“Yet the songwriters, who are ultimately responsible for this success, are not getting their fair and equitable share.”

That being said, there are signs that 2022 could be a typical bumper year for the growth of the music publishing (and songwriting) business.

A key indicator behind that suggestion: the impressive global performance of major music publishers in H1 2022.

For example, how much did Sony’s global music publishing revenue increase? 14.0% year-over-year in calendar Q1 2022 (on a US dollar-based stablecoin), and were above 13.2% Year after year In calendar Q2 2022.

Meanwhile, Universal Music Group’s music publishing revenue grew substantially. 42.1% year on year At constant currency in the first half of 2022, though this dramatic increase was partly driven by UMG, which is now recognizing the collections society’s revenue differently than in 2021.



Another key contributing factor to the growth of music publishers in 2022: an uphill battle from the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music.

In July, the US Copyright Royalty Board announced a final decision regarding the legal performance known as ‘Phonorecords III’.

The decision was focused on increasing the overall percentage of US revenue from on-demand music streaming services, which legally have to be paid to songwriters by the likes of Spotify.

CRB ruled that this percentage figure should have gone above 10.5% To 15.1% in five years between 2018 and 2022.

As a result, streaming services are now forced to pay back money owed to music publishers retrospectively.


Warner Music Group

How much money are we talking about?

There was a clue in Warner Music Group’s latest financial results (for the quarter ended June 2022).

In those results, WMG announced that Warner Chapel Music (WCM) – its own publishing company – had received $17 million Profit in the quarter “resulting from the July 1 remand decision by the CRB in Phonorecords III Proceedings”.

Music and Copyright Estimate WCM had a global market share in the music publishing industry 11.8% in 2021.

If we are specifically talking about the US alone then the market share of WCM can clearly exceed that figure. But this strongly indicates that WCM’s $17 million If we want to estimate how much lump sum money Entire American Music Publishing Industry From Phonorrecords III.


On that topic, the music publishing industry is now gearing up for another major legal battle with on-demand streaming services in “Phonorerecords IV” – the new, yet-to-be-started CRB proceeding that will determine whether songwriters in the US can What do you get paid from streaming services in the intervening years 2023 And 2027.

Talking to NMPA members annual meeting of the organization In June, David the Israelite said: “Now we know [via NMPA estimates] He [on-demand streaming] pay services record label $5.7 billion In 2021, 58.6% of revenue pool – much higher than 52% Which is often reported.

“To be clear, paying songwriters properly doesn’t necessarily mean paying artists and record labels less.

“It’s unfair that digital delivery services charge songwriters more than three times the amount they pay to make their business possible.”worldwide music business

The US music publishing industry generated $4.7bn last year – but the record industry grew twice as fast

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