While music has always been a popular way to relax and unwind, there is a lot of work which goes on behind the scenes to make this possible.

It may not always seem like it, but the music industry has survived a lot over the last fifty years.

The industry first started in the 1800s when sheet music and songbooks became available on the mass market.

This led to the classic images of families singing around the piano. 

It wasn’t until the 1930s that vinyl started to appear and records gradually became the most popular option.  

Vinyl records, once so common, are now difficult to find unless you look in specialist stores. 

They gave way to CDs, but even these are now disappearing as the digital revolution continues. 

Today, it’s easy to stream and download music digitally.

It’s proved to be a serious headache for the industry as digital downloads are much harder to monitor and control. 

However, as the following statistics regarding how much is the music industry worth show, the industry is far from dead. 

Let’s take a look at the top facts about the music industry and how much it is really worth.

Key US Statistics

  • In 2022 the music industry in the US generated $15.9 billion
  • 82 million Americans use a music streaming service
  • 84% of music sales are via streaming
  • 70% of songs on Spotify were recorded by US artists
  • Universal Music Group is the largest record company in the world
  • Radio reaches 92% of Americans weekly

Key Global Statistics

  • Global revenue from the music industry was $26.2 billion in 2022
  • Unsurprisingly the US is the biggest music market
  • 5% of music sales are from independent music labels
  • Piracy is a global problem

How Much Is The Music Industry Worth in 2024? 

How Much Is The Music Industry Worth? 

1. In 2022 The Music Industry In The US Generated $15.9 Billion

Music has always been popular in the US and this is reflected in the volume of music sales.

According to the latest figures, the industry generated $15.9 billion in music sales in 2022.

This includes digital and physical sales.  

In recent years the value of sales has been rising.

However, the industry has struggled.

Statistics show US music industry revenue in 2005 was $12.30 billion. 

As music moved to digital formats revenue dropped.

By 2010 it was just $7 billion.

Fortunately, the industry reacted and, partially thanks to streaming services, has recovered. 

By 2015 revenue reached $6.87 billion, by 2017 it was $8.83 billion, and in 2022 an impressive $15.9 billion. 

This trend looks set to continue, current estimates expect revenue to top $20 billion by 2026.


2. 82 Million Americans Use A Music Streaming Service

Streaming services have become the most popular way to access music.

For many subscribers, this is cheaper than regularly purchasing singles and albums, making it an attractive option. 

It’s also convenient and gives subscribers much more control over what they hear. 

It seems that more Americans are coming around to the idea of music streaming services. 

According to the latest reports, there were just over 82 million Americans paying for music streaming services in 2022.

That’s roughly 25% of the population. 

Estimates suggest that this figure could double by 2027 with nearly half the population accessing music streaming services. 

For reference, just under 8 million people subscribed to music streaming services in the US in 2014.

This rose to 20 million by 2016, and 43 million by 2018.

In 2020 there were 72 million, showing that the numbers are still increasing, although perhaps a little slower than they were. 


3. 84% Of Music Sales Are Via Streaming

Unsurprisingly, streaming sales in the US have been steadily increasing.

In 2017 streaming accounted for 65% of US sales. 

By 2018 this had jumped to 75%, and in 2019 it moved higher to 79%.

Throughout 2020 and 2021 streaming sales stayed static at 83%.

A smaller increase than expected considering the global pandemic. 

2022 saw another small increase in streaming sales, accounting for 84% of all sales. 

In contrast, digital downloads have dropped from 15% in 2017 to 3% in 2022.

They have fared worse than physical music sales which have declined from 17% in 2017 to 11% in 2022.

The remaining sales are accounted for by synchronization which holds steady at 2-3% each year. 


4. 70% Of Songs On Spotify Were Recorded By US Artists

70% Of Songs On Spotify Were Recorded By US Artists

The global music industry is dominated by US artists.

This is demonstrated in the latest figures from Spotify. 

The channel hosts millions of songs and is the biggest player in the music streaming market.

Globally it has a 31% share of the market. 

Its closest rival is Apple Music with a 15% share.

Amazon Music has a 13% share and even the mighty YouTube has just an 8% share. 

That’s why Spotify statistics count.

They indicate that 70% of all the songs on Spotify have been recorded by A US-based artist.

That shows how important the US music industry is to the world. 


5. Universal Music Group Is the Largest Record Company In The World

Universal Music Group

The US dominates the music industry and this is perfectly demonstrated by the biggest record companies in the world. 

Topping the charts is Universal Music Group.

In 2020 the company was responsible for 32.1% of all music sales, physical and steaming, across the planet. 

The second and third largest recording companies are also US-based.

Sony Music Entertainment takes the second place with 20.6% of all music sales. 

The third spot is grabbed by Warner Music Group with 15.9% of the market. 

Together, these three companies represent 68.6% of all music sales around the planet.

It’s little wonder that the US dominates the industry!


6. Radio Reaches 92% Of Americans Weekly

Current US laws states that the promotional effects of airplay are an effective measure of compensation for those with the rights to the music. 

In other words, the music industry doesn’t get paid when their music is played on the radio.

This means revenue earned via the radio is difficult to track as it isn’t a direct earning. 

However, radio is still one of the most popular forums in the country.

It is estimated that 92% of Americans listen to the radio daily. 

In short, if you want a song heard and, therefore purchased, it needs to be played on the radio. 

It’s worth noting that listening figures for radio have remained constant for at least the last decade.

Every year the percentage of Americans reached is over 90%.

To summarize the power of radio, it reaches fourteen times more people than all the music streaming services combined. 


How Much Is The Music Industry Worth Worldwide?

7. Global Revenue From The Music Industry Was $26.2 Billion In 2022

Global music sales have been rising yearly.

In fact, they have risen for eight consecutive years, emphasizing the importance of music in daily life. 

Thanks to this, the industry is doing well.

Recorded revenue across the globe surpassed $26 billion in 2022.

Interestingly, 60% of this revenue came from the US market. 

The rise in revenue from 2021 is a solid 9%.

However, this is half the rise from 2020 to 2021 when sales rose by a colossal 18.5%.

However, part of this is likely a reaction to the global pandemic. 

While several factors have contributed to increasing the revenue, an impressive 10.3% rise in subscriptions to paid music services is the biggest influence. 

Globally, paid music subscriptions totaled 443 million in 2020, this increased to 523 million in 2021 and further increased to 589 million in 2023.

It seems likely that subscription numbers, and therefore revenue, will continue to increase in the coming years.


8. Unsurprisingly The US Is The Biggest Music Market

As already demonstrated, the US dominates the global music industry.

60% of sales are made in the US and 70% of songs are recorded by US-based artists. 

It’s not surprising that the US is such a dominant force.

They have introduced many forms of music and have some of the best recording studios and producers in the world. 

In short, artists head to the US to get the best possible chance of global success. 

What is interesting is that the second biggest music market on the planet is Japan. 

The Japanese market grew by 5.4% in 2022, allowing the country to maintain its second-place position. 

The UK market also grew by 5.4%, helping it retain its place as the third-largest music market in the world. 

Germany takes a surprising fourth and China comes in fifth.

However, it should be noted that the Chinese market grew by an impressive 28.4% in 2022.

This means it could threaten the top four in the next few years.

The remaining entries in the top 10 music markets are France, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. 


9. 5% Of Music Sales Are From Independent Music Labels

According to the 2020 revenue figures, independent artists earned an impressive $1.2 billion in revenue. 

That’s artists who don’t work with a record label and produce their own music.

It’s a lot easier to do this today with the help of digital apps and the ability to release music online. 

Sales from direct artists grew by over 30% in comparison to 2019, that’s a much faster rate of growth than artists working with recording studios.

The average rate of growth is just 7%.

Impressively, independent artists now account for 5% of the global music market and that figure looks likely to increase. 


10. Piracy Is A Global Problem

Piracy Is A Global Problem

Piracy used to be associated with the high seas and swash-buckling pirates fearlessly taking other people’s treasure. 

Today it still happens but the process is much more subtle and it’s harder to track the pirates. 

The global music industry suffers from piracy although the US perhaps faces the biggest challenge in dealing with this. 

In music terms, it simply means downloading music without paying for it.

Of course, some music is free and it’s not illegal to download it.

However, anything that should be paid for and is downloaded for free counts as piracy.

It’s illegal. 

To show the size of the problem you simply need to look at one example.

Justin Bieber’s music has been illegally downloaded over a million times just in 2022. 

Worryingly, 40% of the downloads originated in the US.

The only countries with bigger piracy issues are India and Iran. 

The most common approach is to do ‘stream-ripping’.

This effectively uses programs which bypass copyright protections and allow users to download the music.

Tracking and then prosecuting the sites that allow this to happen, or are dedicated to piracy, is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

It’s an ongoing battle in the US and around the globe. 

Previously, as revenues have increased it’s been easier to ignore the issue.

However, as stealing revenues are now starting to even out, music producers will be significantly more interested in any form of piracy. 


Summing Up

The music industry faces challenges, as does any industry.

However, when considering these issues it’s important to remember how much the music industry is worth.

In the US that’s over $15 billion.

Globally, over $26 billion. 

Streaming subscriptions are rising every year, improving the revenue for the industry.

For now, the statistics show an industry which is flourishing and looks likely to continue to do so. 

However, mainstream producers do face challenges from independent artists and studios, along with the issue of piracy.

These issues will need to be addressed if the industry wants to continue to thrive and grow.


StatistaStatista 2Statista 3