European music in numbers


  • IMPALA represents over 5000 independent music companies and national associations across 30 countries in Europe.
  • IMPALA Sales Awards represent over 150 million albums sold and €2 billion in revenue.

The independents

  • The music sector consists of thousands of independents and 3 multinationals – “the majors”.
  • 99% of music businesses are micro, small or medium sized enterprises – “the independents”.
  • The independents are the innovators and early adopters, discovering new talent and producing 80% of all new releases. The independents also account for 80% of the sector’s jobs.
  • The collective market share of the independents is nearly 40%. Majors dominate the top 100 charts, as they account for over 95% of market share for the top hits across all genres.
  • In 2018, record companies invested $4.1 bn in discovering and nurturing new artists (A&R).
  • In 2018, 81% of Merlin’s members – the global digital rights agency for independents – saw their overall business grow, with 30% stating that business was up by more than 50%.
  • 54% of Merlin’s members surveyed in 2019 reported that digital income accounted for more than 75% of their overall business revenues.
  •  In 2017, 31% of the independent labels’ revenue came from foreign markets, and 77% of artists signed to independent labels chose to renew their contract.
European music
Source: IFPI/ Oxford Economics
  • European cultural & creative sectors account for 4,4% of EU GDP and 12 million full-time jobs.
  • The European music sector specifically is supporting 2 million jobs, contributing €81.9 billion in gross value added to GDP, and exporting €9.7 billion worth of goods and services to countries outside the EU27 and UK.
  • Europe generates over one third of global recorded music revenues.
  • Europe’s share of the global recorded music market was 30.8% in 2019, with a total of $6,2bn revenues.
  • Streaming revenue in Europe grew by 24.15% in 2019, to $3.1 bn, representing 50.9% of the total European recorded music market.
  • In Europe, subscription audio streams grew by 22.4% in 2019.
  • Europe accounted for 50% of the world’s performance rights income in 2019.
  • In Europe, paid subscription for audio stream represent 78,9% of streaming revenues (rest: 9,9% for ad-supported audio and 11,2% for video stream).
  • Copyright-intensive sectors account for 9.9 million EU jobs.
  • Copyright-intensive industries make a positive contribution to the EU’s trade balance: net export of €15bn.

Music industry

  • In 2019, global recorded music revenues totalled $20.2 billion. An increase of 8.1% compared to 2018.
  • The music industry’s digital revenues (including streaming) now represent 63.3% of total revenues (2019).
  • Streaming revenues specifically grew by 22.9% to represent 56.6% of the total market (2019). Streaming aside however, digital revenues saw a drop of 15.3% this year.
  • Number of paying subscribers rose to 341 million in 2019 (255 million in 2018), increasing associated revenue by 24.1%.
  • Synchronisation revenues saw growth of 5.8%, representing 2.4% of overall revenues.
  • Performance rights revenues declined year-on-year by 3.6% (US$95.6 million) in 2019.
  • Revenues from video stream increased by 15% but remains the smallest increase across all streaming revenue s by sub-format (2019).
  • Physical sales faced a decline of -5.3% (2019).
  • 50% of top tracks played on radio and downloaded in Europe are American.
  • Record companies invested $4.5 bn in research and development and marketing in 2015, representing 27% of these companies’ revenues.
  • As a whole, the music industry invested 16.9% of its revenue in research and development for new artists in 2015. It is higher than other research-intensive industries (e.g. pharmaceuticals and biotechnology 14.4%, software and computer services 10.1%, aerospace and defence 4.5%, etc.).
  • IPR‐intensive industries pay significantly higher wages than other industries, with a wage premium of more than 40%, with copyright-intensive sectors having the highest premium (69%).

Digital services and social media

  • There are more than 230 digital music services available across the EU, providing access to more than 40 million tracks.
  • 6 of the top 10 most liked people on Facebook are music artists (updated: June 2016).
  • 7 of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter are music artists (updated: June 2016).
  • 9 of the top 10 most watched videos of all time on YouTube are music videos. Out of the top 20, 18 are music videos (updated: June 2016).

The value gap

  • YouTube makes up 47% of on-demand music streaming 
  • Video streaming overall makes up 52% of on demand music streaming (paid audio streaming 28% & free audio streaming 20%)
  • In 2017, with 272m users audio streams (paid & free) generated $5.569bn, while video streams with 1.3bn users generated $856m 
  • Globally, 38% consume music through copyright infringement.
  • Spotify paid record companies $20 per user in 2015 while Youtube returned less than $1 for each user.
  • Merlin members report that video streaming services command 10 times more users than audio streaming services – but return less than 10% of the revenues
  • On the perception of online platforms by Europeans, a Harris Poll found that:
  • 64 % of Europeans polled believe that over the past 5 years the European Union has not done enough to regulate the power of the U.S. Tech Giants.
  • 74 % of Europeans think that when the Tech Giants speak out on an issue, they do so to protect their own economic interests rather than the public interest.
  • 80% of Europeans are in favor of the European Union implementing rules to guarantee the remuneration of artists and content creators for the distribution of their content on internet platforms.

Further statistics

  • WIN global market share analysis of the independent music sector: download key statistics and the full report.
  • The State of the Industry report – IFPI: click here
  • The Economic Impact of Music in Europe is available – IFPI/Oxford Economics: click here
  • Interesting report on domination of European radio by American repertoire, includes useful statistics on key territories, shows majors/independents’ market share, very scary… Cross Border Circulation of European Music Repertoire.pdf
  • Merlin members’ survey (2019): click here

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Coudenberg 70, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38