Music streaming has overtaken all other forms of music intake as people opt for new ways to keep themselves entertained. This is after Covid-19 brought an end to concerts and other public enjoyment events.

According to the 2020 Global Music Report released by IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) on Tuesday, the global trend over the past year had streaming services accounting for 62.1 per cent of global music revenue. Performance rights revenues took the biggest hit as major concerts and events were cancelled amid the covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, streaming contributed 71.9 per cent of Africa’s music revenue. South Africa and the Middle East continue to control much of the revenue generated, with other Sub-Saharan countries showing an increase in uptake in the streaming services on a year-on-year basis streaming saw revenues up by 36.4 percent.

“We are encouraged that the world is embracing music from Africa as seen in the rising nominations and recognition into major global music awards witnessed recently,” said Angela Ndambuki, Regional Director, IFPI Sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking to The Standard, Ndambuki said it was also encouraging to see the uptake of music streaming grow in other parts of Africa such as East Africa - where Spotify docked recently. She said the music industry in the region has an opportunity to experience growth through opportunities brought about shifts towards new innovations being applied across a multitude of technology platforms across the world.

“The fact that this year’s report has for the first time featured Africa and Middle East Region is testament to the increasing opportunities that have been accentuated by the recent launch of major streaming platforms and we are excited to see the growth in the coming years,” Ndambuki said.

Recorded music revenues in the region increased by 8.4 per cent in 2020 outpacing the global recorded music market grew by 7.4 per cent, the sixth consecutive year of growth, according to the report. Total revenues for 2020 were $21.6 billion (Sh2.3 trillion). During the same period, there was a notable increase in the signing of African artistes by global recording labels, a trend expected to increase revenue in the coming years.

“The easing of Internet costs in South Africa, at a time the country experienced the continent’s largest Corona pandemic outbreak and longest lockdowns, may have led to the increase in uptake of streaming services,” said Sipho Dlamini, CEO Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In other regions across the world, revenues grew differently with Latin America maintaining its position as the fastest-growing region globally (15.9 per cent) as streaming revenues grew by 30.2 per cent, accounting for 84.1per cent of the region’s total revenues.

Asia grew 9.5 per cent and digital revenues surpassed a 50 per cent share of the region’s total revenues, for the first time. Revenues in Europe, the second-largest recorded music region in the world, grew by 3.5 per cent as strong streaming growth of 20.7 per cent.

In the US and Canada region, revenue grew by 7.4 per cent as the US market grew by 7.3 per cent and Canadian recorded music revenues grew by 8.1 per cent during that period. Global revenue growth was also driven by streaming, especially by paid subscription streaming revenues, which increased by 18.5 per cent. There were 443 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2020. Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew 19.9 per cent and reached $13.4 billion (Sh1.4 trillion).

The growth in streaming revenues more than offset the decline in other formats’ revenues, including physical revenues, which declined by 4.7 per cent; and revenues from performance rights, which declined by 10.1 per cent - largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Kenya, according to reports by the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo), most collective management organisations responsible for collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of artistes were hard hit by the pandemic.

“Fuelled by record companies’ ongoing investment in artistes and their careers, along with innovative efforts to help artistes bring music to fans in new ways, recorded music revenues grew globally for the sixth consecutive year. As record companies continue to expand their geographical footprint and cultural reach, music has become more globally connected today, than ever before,” said the IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore.

“This growth has spread across all regions around the globe. With many impacted by the pandemic, and concerned with growing social injustices, record companies have worked hard to make a meaningful, lasting contribution to the world we want to live in,” he said.

In a Zoom panel discussion on the report attended by stakeholders from across the globe, Dennis Kooker, the President, Global Digital Business and US Sales at Sony Music Entertainment said music has no barriers as he stressed the opportunities posed by technology in the growth of the music recording industry worldwide.


“The role of record labels and that of the artiste remains collective with each being distinct. It is all about art,” said Simon Robson, the President, International, Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, a member of IFPI.

IFPI is the voice of the recording industry worldwide, representing more than 8,000 record company members across the globe.