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).
  • The European music sector accounts for over 1 million jobs and € 25 bn in turnover.
  • Europe’s share of the global recorded music market was 30.8% in 2019.
  • Digital now accounts for 63.3% of the industry’s global 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 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

  • European cultural & creative sectors account for 4,4% of EU GDP and 12 million full-time jobs.
  • Europe generates over one third of global recorded music revenues.
  • European recorded music revenues totalled $6.02 billion in 2018. Streaming revenues grew to $2.67 billion (representing 29,9% of total streaming revenues worldwide).
  • 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).
  • Performance rights grew to $1.4 billion in 2018, representing 51,9% of total performance rights revenues worldwide.
  • 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 2018, global recorded music revenues totalled $19.1 billion. An increase of 9.7% compared to 2017.
  • The music industry’s digital revenues (including streaming) grew by 20,4% in 2018, to $11,2bn (2018).
  • Digital music revenues now account for 58.9% of total industry revenues, compared to 25% for physical sales (2018). 
  • Revenues from streaming grew to $8.9 billion in 2018 – a growth of 34% compared to 2017 – to become the industry’s primary digital revenue stream (2018).
  • Number of paying subscribers rose to 255 million in 2018 (176 million in 2017).
  • Revenues from video stream increased by 20% but remains the smallest increase across all revenue sources (2018).
  • Physical sales faced a decline of -10.1% but vinyl sales kept on increasing (+6%) (2018).
  • 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

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Coudenberg 70, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38