European recorded music markets on the up; physical sales driving growth

European recorded music markets on the up; physical sales driving growth

France, Germany and Italy have all reported growth in the recorded music market, with each experiencing gains since 2015.

The French market boasted the strongest performance of the three with the SNEP reporting growth of 6% for the period, up following a 2.2% decline recorded last year (IFPI figure). Upon the results’ release, Warner Music France’s president, Thierry Chassagne, commented upon the company’s contribution. “I’m pleased to announced that Warner Music has significantly contributed to the growth of the French market in the first half of 2016. We claimed the top spot on the albums chart for ten weeks, with new works from Christophe Mae and the legendary Renaud, who enjoyed the strongest first week album sales of any artist for 13 years. The market outlook for the rest of the year is very positive as subscription revenues continue to grow, enabling us to invest more in discovering, nurturing and promoting great French artists."

Germany, meanwhile, saw its market increase by 3.6%. Particularly interesting in the German market is the dominance of physical sales. CD sales made up 52.3% of the market, with streaming accounting for 24.4%. Downloads made up 14%, while vinyl took a 4.3% share. However, the recent vinyl resurgence in the country saw vinyl sales up 46.2% year-on-year.

In total, physical sales made up 60.4% of the market, with digital sales at 39.6%.

Professor Dieter Gorny, chairman of Germany's federal music industry association (BVMI), said: “Current statistics indicate that the process of digitisation is occurring even faster than we previously thought. And this increasing shift of music towards the digital realm makes it more important than ever that we fully elucidate the framework conditions under which creatives and their partners work so that we can adapt these conditions to tangible reality as quickly as possible. A few weeks ago, more than 1,100 musicians and bands signed and sent an open letter to the EU Commission, thus showing that artists – who form the nucleus and backbone of our entire industry – have serious concerns about their future. Without wanting to sound too dramatic, the fact is that if we don’t adjust our current situation, it might have profound consequences on the art of making music on a professional level.”

Italy’s market has grown by 1% in the 1H 2016 compared to last year to €66.4m. The FIMI notes the market last year was ‘very strong ‘and that 1H 2016 is still 23% up on 1H 2014.  

Streaming increased by 51% and accounted for 40% of the total market. Digital overall is now 51% of the market, which looks like a surge because IFPI data from the Global Music Report had it at 31% last year). However, physical sales are expected to pick up again towards the end of the year ahead of the Christmas period. The FIMI says streaming subscription numbers are up 68%, with 20% of music consumers paying for access to a streaming service. It also says vinyl was up 43% to represent 5% of the overall market.

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