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The report covers:

  • The report reveals the year-end chart toppers and covers music consumption for the 12-month period from Jan. 1, 2021 through December 30, 2021, outlining the powerful role music continues to play in consumers' lives, as well as pivotal moments from the music industry.

 

The 3G's of Music: Generations, Geography & Genre

Generational Streaming Trends Around The Globe          

  • While Gen Z mostly leads all generations in weekly music listening on streaming services, millennial music listeners outpace them in a few notable territories -- including the U.K. and Latin America. Among boomers, Mexico has the highest concentration of weekly music streamers, with 75%. Japan, where physical CD sales are still popular, has the lowest with 34%.

K-Pop Consumption Charts New Milestones

  • World Music saw a 17.4% rise* in total consumption year-over-year in 2021, fueled by another record year of K-Pop milestones on the charts. This included Hot 100 hits for South Korea's BTS as well as solo hits from two members of girl group BLACKPINK and a breakthrough hit for Twice.

Afro-Pop Continues to Rise in Consumption

  • Afro-Pop has seen a continued rise in consumption that was accelerated this year by the genre's two biggest crossover hits lead by African artists in the U.S. (WizKid, "Essence" Feat. Justin Bieber & Tems; CKay, "Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)").

 

Play It Again: Catalog Music Takes The Lead

Music Fans Reconnect With Old Faves 

  • Audio on-demand streaming reached a new single-year high of 988.1 billion streams in 2021, which included a notable decline in yearly audio streams of Current music (which decreased 19.4%). For the first time since MRC Data began measuring streaming data, music fans spent more time with Catalog (which was up 29.4% this year). 

Taylor Swift's Re-Records 

  • Straddling both sides of the Catalog & Current divide is Taylor Swift, who released two rerecorded Taylor's Versions of her 2008 album Fearless and 2012 LP Red in April and November 2021, respectively. 
  • 143.0 million - First week on-demand streams for Fearless (Taylor's Version) the week ending April 15, marking the largest streaming week ever for a country album by a female artist at the time
    • In just eight months of release, Fearless (Taylor's Version) has already been streamed two times more than the 2008 original album, with 664.6 million streams for Taylor's Version compared to 333 million streams for the original Fearless in 2021
    • 303.0 million - First week on-demand streams for Red (Taylor's Version) the week ending Nov. 18, more than doubling the first-week streams for Fearless (Taylor's Version) and making it the second-largest streaming week ever for an album by a female artist

Wall Street's Catalog Craze

  • The Catalog craze has also extended to Wall Street, where private equity firms have poured billions of dollars into buying up songwriting catalogs and/or master recordings from hitmakers both classic and current. Notable deals from the last year alone include Bob Dylan & Universal Music Publishing Group (for a reported $300 million), Neil Young & Hipgnosis (for a reported $150 million) and Stevie Nicks & Primary Wave ($100 million), among dozens of others.
    • $2 billion - Estimated total acquisitions made by Hipgnosis Songs Fund, a publicly traded music investment and management firm, between July 2018 and June 2021, according to company filings 

 

Dynamic Duo: Video Games & Music

  • After artists like Travis Scott, J Balvin and Lil Nas X kicked off a virtual concert craze in 2020 with platforms Fortnite and Roblox, music and gaming integrations continued to pick up steam in 2021 and helped drive consumption of the artists' catalogs.
    • Rico Nasty: 
      • +6% weekly lift in On-Demand Audio Streams (to 3.1 million) during the week ending Feb. 25, 2021 following the rapper's headlining slot at SoundCloud's Player One gaming tournament on Feb. 18
    • Kaskade: 
      • +6% weekly lift in total On-Demand Streams (to 1.90 million) during the week ending April 1, 2021, following the March 26 and 27 premiere of the DJ-producer's virtual concerts inside Fortnite
    • Royal Blood: 
      • +27% weekly lift in total On-Demand Streams (to 2.1 million) during the week ending April 1, 2021, following the U.K. rock band's March 27 performance at the eighth annual Roblox Bloxy Awards
    • Zara Larsson: 
      • +26% weekly lift in On-Demand Audio Streams (to 4.5 million) during the week ending May 27, following the Swedish pop singer's May 21 virtual concert on Roblox to celebrate the deluxe edition of her album Poster Girl
    • Ariana Grande: 
      • +8% weekly lift in total On-Demand Streams (to 52.6 million) during the week ending Aug. 12, following the pop superstar's Aug. 6 virtual concert in Fortnite

 

Adele's '30': What The Year's Top-Selling Album Says About A Post-'25' Music Industry

  • Highest album sales debut in four years. 30 debuted at No. 1 on the Dec. 4-dated Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 839,000 equivalent units during the week ending Nov. 25. That figure includes album sales of 692,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling album debut since Taylor Swift's Reputation in 2017. Given that 30 was released on all streaming services upon release, unlike both Reputation and 25, this sales figure is a notably high first-week frame for an album also widely available to stream. 
  • Retail — even CDs! — still matters. Retail exclusives, including a Target CD with three exclusive audio bonus tracks, helped play a big part in Adele's first-week achievement. 30 was also one of the first major albums of 2021 to secure a day-and-date release on vinyl, after Adele turned in the album's masters six months prior to release to accommodate supply-chain delays. In addition to wide availability at all vinyl retailers, a white-colored LP was made exclusive for Amazon, and Walmart sold a clear-colored LP. Of 30's first-week sales, CDs accounted for 378,000 copies — making it easily the biggest CD sales week of 2021, nearly doubling the year's previous record from Taylor Swift's Red (Taylor's Version) with 146,700 copies sold. Vinyl LPs sold 108,000 copies — making it the second-largest vinyl sales week for an album since MRC Data began tracking the format in 1991.
  • "Easy on Me" sets radio, but not streaming, records. 30's lead single "Easy on Me" entered the Oct. 30-dated Radio Songs chart at No. 4, marking the highest debut since the tally became an all-format ranking in December 1998. The song scored a first-week airplay audience of 65 million. "Easy on Me" didn't set any records for streaming debuts, but did become the fifth song released in 2021 to accumulate more than 50 million U.S. streams in a single week (it totaled 54.0 million on-demand streams).

 

BY GENRES:

  • RAP -- Drake's Certified Lover Boy is a certified smash, as the set is 2021's most popular rap album in the U.S., with 1.97 million equivalent album units earned during the year. Meanwhile, Masked Wolf's "Astronaut in the Ocean" is the most-consumed rap song of 2021. 
  • COUNTRY -- Morgan Wallen's Dangerous: The Double Album closes 2021 as both the top country album of the year and also the most popular album across all genres, with 3.23 million equivalent album units earned during the year. 
  • LATIN – Bad Bunny's El Ultimo Tour del Mundo reigns as 2021's top Latin album, as the November 2020 release continued to perform strongly in 2021. The set, which marked the first all-Spanish-language album to top the weekly Billboard 200 chart, earned 854,000 equivalent album units in 2021. 
  • R&B -- Silk Sonic, the duo of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak 2021 release "Leave the Door Open" was one of the most popular R&B tunes on the radio (No. 3) and most-consumed R&B tracks overall (No. 2 on the top songs list). Doja Cat's 2021 album Planet Her closes the year as the most popular R&B album. The set debuted atop Billboard's weekly Top R&B Albums chart — the first leader on the list for the artist.
  • DANCE/ELECTRONIC -- Travis Scott and HVME's  unlikely pairing on "Goosebumps" made for the second-most-consumed Dance/Electronic song of 2021. It began its life in 2016 as a Scott track featuring Kendrick Lamar, and it was later reworked into a deep house cut by HVME in 2020. Scott lent his vocals to the song in January 2021 helping the song top Billboard's weekly Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in February 2021.
  • ROCK -- Glass Animals' breakthrough hit "Heat Waves" was red hot in 2021, finishing as the year's most-consumed rock track. The single reached the top 10 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart in November, marking both the first top 10 and first Hot 100 ever for the group. 

 The report is available for download HERE

16 May 2022 | Press release

Miriam Yeung joins Warner Music China

Warner Music China announced today that Miriam Yeung, one of Greater China’s biggest stars, has joined its roster. Miriam has an impressive music career spanning nearly three decades. She is one of the region’s most recognised and accomplished recording artist, having...more

16 May 2022 | Press release

Over 100 UK festivals commit to tackling sexual violence

Boomtown Fair, Boardmasters, Reading & Leeds, Bluedot, Parklife  and Shambala among signatories of AIF's Safer Spaces Campaign  Includes updated Charter of Best Practice, plus new awareness and education campaign  Find out more: https://aiforg.com/initiatives/safer-spaces    103 UK festivals have committed to The Association of Independent Festivals'...more

16 May 2022 | Press release

Apple Music announces ‘Fire In The Booth Germany’

THE NEW SERIES WILL LAUNCH ON APPLE MUSIC ON MONDAY MAY 16TH BRAND NEW EPISODES, FILMED IN BERLIN AND HOSTED BY DJ MAXXX, CONTINUE CHARLIE SLOTH’S FIRE IN THE BOOTH GLOBAL EXPANSION WATCH THE SERIES TRAILER HERE THE FIRST EPISODE WILL FEATURE GERMAN RAP STAR SUMMER...more

15 May 2022 | Press release

Beatport Launches “Beatport Sounds” Offering Signature Sound Packs and Exclusive Samples from the World’s Leading Producers

Beatport, the global leader of music for DJs, producers, and their fans, announced today the launch of the Beatport Sounds imprint - a return to offering audio content from inspiring producers for producers, with all content exclusive to Loopcloud.  With the...more

15 May 2022 | Press release

Abbey Road Studios announce the winners from this year's inaugural Music Photography Awards

THE AWARDS CELEBRATE THE UNFORGETTABLE, UNIQUE AND UNSUNG MUSIC IMAGES OF 2021   LINK TO WINNING IMAGES    Abbey Road Studios, the world’s most famous recording studio has tonight confirmed the winners from its inaugural Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards 2022 in association...more

13 May 2022 | Press release

Mom+Pop Music and Exceleration Music agree to strategic financial alliance

Label continues to expand scope of operations and artist signings Leading independent record label mom+pop music and Exceleration Music, the venture led by industry leaders for investing in the future of independent labels and artists, have agreed to a strategic financial alliance. This provides mom+pop...more

13 May 2022 | Press release

One Media IP puts in first bid for Pink Floyd catalogue

  One Media iP Group has made a formal offer for a stake in Pink Floyd's back catalogue, which was announced for sale this week. The AIM-listed UK digital music publisher and content acquirer has offered £3.5m for a 1% stake in the legendary catalogue. If...more

12 May 2022 | Press release

MMF publishes ambitious three-step $ong Royalties Manifesto

MMF publishes ambitious three-step $ong Royalties Manifesto to overhaul how songwriters and composers are paid when their work is streamed #glassboxnotblackbox  Writers should receive payment with two months of their compositions being played New commitments needed to capture and standardise song data,...more

11 May 2022 | Press release

Reservoir continues to execute against emerging markets growth strategy

Company Announces Deals with Arab Superstar Mohamed Ramadan and Egyptian Label 100COPIES, in Conjunction with PopArabia Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR), an award-winning independent music company, in conjunction with PopArabia, the leading music publisher and independent music company in the Middle...more

11 May 2022 | Press release

Ashley Gorley Signs Global Deal with Sony Music Publishing and Domain Capital Group

Worldwide agreement covers renowned songwriter’s entire catalog and future works Sony Music Publishing today announced it has signed a global deal with award-winning songwriter Ashley Gorley, in partnership with Domain Capital Group. The agreement encompasses Gorley’s complete catalog of songs, as...more

11 May 2022 | Press release

Distiller Music Group Announces Publishing Agreement with Downtown Music Services

Claire Bianchi Joins Distiller Publishing as Head of A&R  Major European Hit ‘In The Dark’ Provides Great Start to New Relationship   London based independent music company Distiller Music Group has announced a new agreement for its music publishing division with Downtown Music Services, which offers bespoke distribution,...more

11 May 2022 | Press release

ABBA Voyage and Wallenius form sustainable partnership

The Swedish shipping company Wallenius, developer of the Oceanbird concept for wind powered vessels, has been confirmed as the official partner for ABBA Voyage. At the revolutionary new concert opening in London on 27th May, ABBA will perform as digital avatars. “It is extremely pleasing to...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

Downtown’s found.ee launches landmark premium video advertising tool

- One-of-a-kind tool will ‘revolutionize the ad-buying landscape’ says founder, Jason Hobbs - Clients currently using the new video tool include Aloe Blacc, Brooklyn Bowl, Sylvan Esso and Andrew Bird- Artists and clients across all of Downtown’s divisions – including...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

Epidemic Sound Launches AI Audio-Based Search Tool on Google Cloud

Epidemic Audio Reference (EAR) tool developed on Google Cloud will simplify and supercharge music discovery for content creators worldwide Latest update to strategic partnership, aimed to support the company's rapid growth   Epidemic Sound, the market-leading service for direct licensing of royalty-free music, today announced...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

Stef Teng has been appointed to the newly created role of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Asia, at Warner Music Group (WMG)

Stef Teng has been appointed to the newly created role of  Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Asia, at Warner Music Group (WMG). She will be based in Hong Kong and report to Dr Maurice Stinnett, WMG’s Global Head...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

Hipgnosis response to Queen’s Speech announcement of draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill

Merck Mercuriadis, Chief Executive and Founder of Hipgnosis Song Management, said: “Today’s announcement in the Queen’s Speech to bring forward the legal framework for the statutory Digital Markets Unit is a huge opportunity to redress the current imbalance in the...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

KINGSHIP, NFT Supergroup signed to 10:22PM, to Offer Virtual Key Cards that Unlock Virtual World, Experiences, Products and Music

The Collection of 10,000 Access-Enabled Key Cards Available to Mint on Saturday, May 14   KINGSHIP, the supergroup signed to 10:22PM, will release a collection of 10,000 access-enabled Key Cards in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that will allow collectors to...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

Concord Music Publishing signs global superstar Davido

Announces Joint Partnership with Immensum Music, Expands West African Market     Today, Concord Music Publishing announced the signing of billion streamed Afrobeats icon Davido. The award-winning American-born Nigerian global superstar joined the roster through a new creative partnership with Koch Okoye and Saheed Okunnu’s Immensum Music. This new...more

10 May 2022 | Press release

NTIA Comment on the Queens Speech

Mike Kill NTIA CEO says:"Today’s Queen’s Speech had important aspects but is still a missed opportunity as far as the Night Time Economy is concerned. We welcome the announcement of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which the Government hopes...more

09 May 2022 | Press release

Warner Chappell Music sign singer-songwriter and film composer Daniel Blumberg

Blumberg Is Nominated For Best Original Film Score At This Year’s Ivor Novellos   Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has signed a worldwide publishing deal with singer, songwriter, film composer and visual artist Daniel Blumberg.  Blumberg’s first...more

09 May 2022 | Press release

Music fans care more about climate change and want the music industry to do more on the issue

‘Turn Up The Volume’ survey from Music Declares Emergency and the University of Glasgow with lead partner the BPI, and partners Beggars Group, Secretly Group, Involved Group and Key Production reports findings   Music fans are most likely to care about climate...more

09 May 2022 | Press release

Laura Lukanz to join Amazon Music as Head of Music Industry, UK, Australia & New Zealand

  Amazon Music today announce that Laura Lukanz will join the company as Head of Music Industry, UK, Australia & New Zealand on 30th May. In her new role, Lukanz will be responsible for leading the UK, Australia & New Zealand...more

09 May 2022 | Press release

Three Six Zero Announces Partnership With Craig Dorfman’s Frontline Entertainment

Three Six Zero have announced a new partnership with Frontline Entertainment.  The New York based talent company, headed up by Craig Dorfman, will join Three Six Zero’s growing international management and entertainment company with Dorfman bringing his clients and management team...more

08 May 2022 | Press release

PPL, PRS for Music and PRS Foundation bring OnTrack to The Great Escape

- OnTrack networking and educational hub will feature panels and in-conversations with some of the brightest PRS Foundation supported UK talent - In-conversation with PPL Momentum Music Fund supported Yard Act hosted by BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq - Exclusive live performance...more

06 May 2022 | Press release

Abbey Road Studios announce the shortlist for this year’s inaugural Music Photography Awards

THE AWARDS WILL CELEBRATE THE UNFORGETTABLE, UNIQUE AND UNSUNG MUSIC IMAGES OF 2021 AWARDS CEREMONY WILL TAKE PLACE ON 14TH MAY AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS   Abbey Road Studios, the world’s most famous recording studio has today announced the shortlist nominations for the inaugural Abbey...more

06 May 2022 | Press release

Paul Bonham promoted by MMF to the role of Professional Development Director and Anneliese Harmon announced as GM

  The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has today announced a number of team changes to better serve the professional development of its expanded community of over 1,200 UK-based music managers, by the promotion of Paul Bonham to the role of Professional...more

06 May 2022 | Press release

Knucks named as YouTube Music’s next Artist On The Rise

‘Die Hard’, his new collab with Stormzy, is out now - watch the video here Track features on his newly released project ‘Alpha Place’ - listen here   Today YouTube Music names Knucks as the next talent in their Artist On The Rise series, which...more

05 May 2022 | Press release

Reservoir expands relationship with Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter Dan the Automator via new publishing deal

  Reservoir Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: RSVR) (“Reservoir” or the “Company”), an award-winning independent music company, today announced a worldwide publishing deal with Dan Nakamura, professionally known as Dan the Automator, a Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter.The new deal includes Nakamura’s catalog and...more

05 May 2022 | Press release

UTA Music: Hear This

UTA has announced a new curated live series, Hear This, launching at The Grace in London on Tuesday 10th May 2022.  The inaugural event showcases women in R&B and Soul, and features the talented Claudia Valentina, Menlia and Tolü Makay. With...more

04 May 2022 | Press release

Universal Music Group signs Ghanaian artist Stonebwoy to the global Def Jam artist family

Universal Music Group (UMG) label divisions Def Jam Recordings, 0207 Def Jam and Def Jam Africa are thrilled to announce the global signing of Ghanaian Afropop, dancehall and beloved reggae musician and pioneer, Stonebwoy to the global Def Jam artist...more

16 May 2022

  • UK success at Eurovision 2022 (see Features, Showbiz, Live)

  • What does the #CryptoCrash mean for web3 and music? (see Comment)

  • Managers report delay in visas for performers wanting to enter UK (see News)

13 May 2022

  • BMG and Warner Music bidding to buy Pink Floyd’s catalogue (see Deals)

  • MMF: "What is currently an opaque black box of song royalties, needs to be transformed into a glass box" (see Opinion)

12 May 2022

  • MMF publishes Song Royalties Manifesto (see News)

  • Girl bands made British pop great – so where have all the good ones gone? (see Features)

11 May 2022

  • More on myth that 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify daily (see Analysis)

10 May 2022

  • Travel limits on international music tours to be eased (see News)

09 May 2022

  • Music industry earnings 2021: Riding the wave (see Analysis)

06 May 2022

  • Copyright Royalty Board asked to approve 32% increase on mechanical royalties (see International)

  • Streaming is not the future of the music economy (see Opinion)

05 May 2022

  • Research confirms the majors benefit most from Spotify's curated playlists (see Analysis)

  • Report: Women in Music 2022 (see Analysis)

04 May 2022

  • Why did #MeToo bypass the music industry? (see Opinion)

  • SoundCloud acquires Musiio (see Digital)

  • How TikTok’s evolution can help artists grow (see Analysis)

03 May 2022

  • Black women are finding their voice against abuse in the music industry (see Comment)

  • Spotify shares now selling at less than the IPO price four years ago (see Analysis)