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WIN Announces First Global Market Share Analysis Of The Independent Music Sector At MIDEM


WINTEL Highlights Economic and Cultural Value of Independent Music

Independent record labels represent 37.6% global recorded music market share and contributed $5.6 billion to the global music industry in 2015

Midem, Cannes, June 3rd 2016 – New research undertaken by The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), the organization that represents the interests of the global independent music community has provided the most accurate picture to date of the global value of the independent music sector.

The new report, entitled WINTEL, was commissioned by WIN to analyse the global economic and cultural impact of the independent music sector. It is authored by Mark Mulligan of MIDiA Research in conjunction with Dr. Chris Bilton from Warwick University’s Centre for Cultural Policy

The report will be launched at Midem today in the Main Room, Riviera 7, Palais des Festivals.

Key findings from the research include the fact that, based on rights ownership, the global market share of independent record labels is 37.6%, representing $5.6 billion in 2015.

Beneath the global figure there is a hugely diverse range of national trends, with independent label market share ranging from just 16% in Finland up to 88% in South Korea.

The report focusses on the criterion of value ‘based on rights ownership’ when analyzing market share. This is an important distinction because where independent companies use major labels in various territories around the world to distribute their music, the major labels include the value of revenues derived from the distribution of independently owned rights into the label’s assessment of the majors’ own market share. Most independent labels do not have the international infrastructure needed to compete globally. The WINTEL report establishes that approximately 72% use international distributors and 52% use major labels or major label owned distributors. The claiming of market share by international corporations, which should be attributed to independent right holders, distorts the true picture of market value. WINTEL’s analysis by reference to rights ownership provides a much more accurate overview of the marketplace.

It is also important because market share Is used by the leading digital music companies such as Apple, Google and Spotify in negotiations with the independent sector and often determines the levels of remuneration paid by these companies to music right holders.

To emphasise this point the report also makes clear that digital music, and streaming in particular, has created increased opportunities for independent labels and that in virtually every country, independent labels have significantly higher market share in streaming than they do in physical formats.

The report also found that averaging 19 years in operation, independent record labels have built sustainable businesses in the digital era. With an average roster of 40 artists each, they provide a crucial platform for artists that do not fit the major label ‘mainstream model’ yet have built broad audiences beyond ‘DIY’ platforms, locally and internationally.

This diversity on both a national and international level is hugely valuable to the cultural life of countries all over the world, giving a platform to artists that otherwise might not have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. Independent labels are the bridge between indigenous cultural content and global markets, whilst still maintaining the integrity and authenticity of differing traditions.

Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN said, “This is an important report, giving us the first truly global overview of the economic and cultural value of independent music. With a 37.6% market share based on rights ownership, and a contribution of $5.6bn it is clear that the independent music community is playing an increasingly important part within the global music industry. Quite apart from the significance of the independent sector’s real market share, the vital contribution to the creation of local music in countries around the world assures that the cultural value and contribution of music is in very good hands with the independent sector.”

WINTEL will be available in print and online at www.winformusic.org from 6pm on Friday 3rd June.


For further information:

Andy Saunders

Velocity Communications

Tel: + 44 (0) 7939 133050

[email protected]


About WIN

Unique in the history of the global music industry, WIN is a representative organization exclusively for the worldwide independent label community. It was founded in 2006 in response to business, creative and market access issues faced by the independent sector everywhere.

WIN’s membership stretches across every continent, with trade associations in all the well-developed music markets taking a particularly active role. WIN’s priorities are set by the global membership, and with IMPALA, included the creation of Merlin, the world’s first independent global new media rights licensing agency.

For independent music companies and their national trade associations worldwide, WIN is a collective voice and platform. When appropriate it acts as an advocate, instigator and facilitator for its continually growing membership. WIN is also a focal point for collecting and sharing knowledge about the indie sector at national level.


The 20,000 Foot View

The growth in adoption of streaming services and social media have helped create a burgeoning international opportunity for independent labels across the world. However, because most of these labels do not have the international infrastructure required to tap this global opportunity they often utilise third party partners for distribution and other services. Often these

parties are major labels or major label owned distributors. While this gives the independent sector global scale it also means that much of their revenue ends up being accounted as major label revenue, creating a distorted view of the market.

Key Findings

  • The independent record label sector is characterised by diversity
  • Averaging 19 years in operation, independent record labels have built sustainable businesses tailor made for the digital era
  • With an average of 40 artists each, independent labels provide a crucial platform for artists that do not fit the major label model but that deserve an audience beyond DIY platforms
  • International is becoming increasingly important to independent labels, accounting for 37% of revenue
  • Most independent labels do not have the international infrastructure needed to compete globally so 72% use international distributors and 52% use major labels or major label owned distributors
  • Because record label market share is most commonly measured using distribution rather than ownership of the copyright, market share numbers are becoming progressively less accurate
  • Based on ownership the global market share of independent record labels is 37.6%, representing $5.6 billion in 2015
  • Beneath the global figure there is a hugely diverse range of national trends, with independent label shares ranging from just 16% in Finland up to 88% in South Korea
  • Digital music, and streaming in particular, has created increased opportunity for independent labels
  • In virtually every country, independent labels have significantly higher market share in streaming than they do in physical

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.