Thursday 3 May 2012, 12:34 | By

Indies increased market share in 2011

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Three of the major music companies saw their global market share slip slightly in 2011, according to stats from Music & Copyright. According to the survey, Universal Music, Sony Music and EMI all saw their share of the music rights markets decline in 2011 compared to 2010, while Warner Music and the independents saw increases.

That said, Universal Music remains the biggest player in both recorded music and song publishing – having 27.9% of the former and 22.2% of the latter, compared to 28.7% and 22.6% in 2010. Sony Music saw its share slip from 23% to 21.9%, while the Sony publishing venture Sony/ATV went from 12.5% to 11.7%. EMI had a 19.9% share of recordings (down from 20.2%) and 19.3% of publishing (down from 19.7%)

Warner Music – soon to become the mini-major when the two bits of EMI are swallowed up by Universal and Sony (assuming those deals get the go ahead from competition regulators) – will be pleased that its market shares increased, with the Warner labels having a 15.1% share compared to 14.9% a year earlier, while the Warner Chappell publishing company went from 13.9% to 14.1% share.

Both the independent labels and independent publishers collectively increased their market shares in 2011, the former probably due to some key success stories like Adele, the latter likely because of the acquisitive nature of some key well-financed indie publishers, including BMG and Imagem. The indie labels together saw market share rise from 23.2% to 25.2%, while publishing went from 31.4% to 32.6%.

Ironically, this is the one moment in time when everyone will be pleased with these stats. Warner and the indies will be glad they have grown their share, while Universal and Sony will probably both use the fact their market shares slipped slightly as proof they are not out-of-control mega-monsters as they try to convince US and, in Universal’s case, EU officials to approve their respective EMI acquisitions.

Anyway, for those who prefer their stats in a list, here they are, 2010 figures in brackets.

Recorded Music
Universal Music 27.9% (28.7%)
Sony Music 21.9% (23%)
Warner Music 15.1% (14.9%)
EMI 19.9% (20.2%)
Independents 25.2% (23.2%)

Published Songs
Universal Music Publishing 22.2% (22.6%)
Sony/ATV 11.7% (12.5%)
Warner Chappell 14.1% (13.9%)
EMI Music Publishing 19.3% (19.7%)
Independents 32.6% (31.4%)


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