Sub-Saharan Africa fastest growing as global music industry revenue hits $28.6bn- Report

The global music industry recorded a revenue growth of 10.3 percent in the year 2023 as total earnings stood at $28.6 billion.

The fastest-growing regions were Sub-Saharan Africa emerged the fastest growing region with 24.7 percent followed by Latin America, 19.4 percent

An industry report said the spread of streaming and the rise of local stars like Nigerian Burna Boy and Asake alongside J Balvin and Bad Bunny contributed to the growth.

However, record firms have expressed concerns over how to maintain growth in the streaming era.

The biggest artist in the world was — no surprise — Taylor Swift, according to the annual report by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents global record companies.

Swift was followed closely by two Korean bands, Seventeen and Stray Kids, reflecting the increasing spread of K-Pop.

The biggest singles in the world were “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus, the only song to surpass 2 billion streams (2.7 bn), followed by “Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez (1.89 bn) and “Kill Bill” by Sza (1.84 bn).

The music industry grew for the ninth consecutive year, thanks largely to the continued growth of streaming (up 11.2 percent), which now accounts for more than two-thirds (67.3 percent) of global revenues.

Paid streaming subscriptions soared past 500 million for the first time to reach 667 million.

Physical formats — particularly vinyl — also saw growth, with sales up 13.4 percent.

“The figures in this year’s report reflect a truly global and diverse industry, with revenues growing in every market, every region and across virtually every recorded music format,” said John Nolan, IFPI’s chief financial officer.

The biggest music markets remained the United States, Japan and Britain.

The industry has several key concerns, however, particularly as young people spend increasing time on TikTok and games.

“The worst ad-supported, short-clip video platforms have no chance of leading to paid subscriptions and are becoming the primary consumption platforms for many young consumers,” said Dennis Kooker, of Sony Music, at a press conference to launch IFPI’s report.

Universal Music Group recently yanked its music off TikTok in a feud over the app’s approach to AI-generated music and song royalties.

Kooker suggested record firms were increasingly focused on superfans.

“Those who want more, and are willing to pay more, need products that are specifically designed for them,” he said.

But firms are finding it hard to encourage people to pay for streaming in several key markets, including France.

“The streaming penetration rate is still very low in France,” said Marie-Anne Robert, managing director Sony Music France, at the conference.

“It’s a huge challenge for us and the artists and the recent introduction of a streaming tax clearly does not help,” she added, referring to a new tax on services like Spotify that is being introduced this year in France.