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Twenty-One Numbers That Tell the Future of Music

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

Operate in the modern music industry for any length of time and someone is bound to recite this famous quote from Hunter S. Thompson in your direction. Only issue? Thompson never actually said it. (The corrupted version above borrows from the author’s legit original quote, about the TV industry. The rest is made up.)

See? You can’t trust what people tell you about the music business these days.

Know what you can trust? Stone-cold facts and figures. 

Here’s 21 of them — which, together, paint a telling picture of the excesses, achievements, threats, and opportunities circling the music biz in 2023.

19: The number of tracks in the Top 50 most-streamed (audio and video) hits in the U.S. in 2022 that were by artists originating outside of the states. These 19 tracks jointly amassed 8.54 billion on-demand streams in the year. Artists behind them included Japanese act Joji (with “Glimpse of Us”) and Nigerian artist CKay (with “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)”). (Source: Luminate)

5.3 trillion: The number of music streams, across video and audio, played across the world in 2022, up from 4.2 trillion in 2021. (Source: Luminate)

120,000: The number of music files (audio and video) being uploaded to music-streaming services every day. That comes out to around 40 million every year. (Source: Luminate)

34.7%: The year-on-year rise in music-industry revenue in sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 — the largest percentage jump of any region in the world. The region generated more than $80 million last year. Nearly 80 percent of that revenue came from South Africa, where the biggest hit of the year was rapper K.O’s “SETE,” feat. Young Stunna and Blxckie. Year-on-year industry revenue in the Middle East and North Africa rose by 23.8 percent. (Source: IFPI)

27.8%: The share of music consumed in the U.S. last year that was newer than 18 months old. Listener habits lean toward tried-and-true, older music — mainly toward a “shallow catalog” (music older than 18 months, but released in the past 10 to 20-ish years), but also toward a “deep catalog” (evergreen classics from decades further back in the annals). (Source: Luminate Year-End Report) 

1.73 billion: The number of on-demand audio streams secured by the Beatles in the United States in 2022. John, Paul, George, and Ringo were the biggest “deep catalog” artists on streaming in the year. (Source: Luminate via MusicConnect)

$1.78 billion: The estimated amount of global recorded-music royalties generated by DIY or self-uploading artists from digital-music platforms in 2022 — up from $1.5 billion in 2021. (Source: Midia)

$106.07: The average price for a ticket to one of the world’s 100 highest-grossing tours in 2022. In 2017, that number was $21.44 cheaper. (Source: Pollstar)

550.7 million: The number of tickets Live Nation, owner of Ticketmaster, says it sold in 2022, an all-time record that was up from the firm’s prepandemic high of 486.7 million in 2019. (Source: Live Nation SEC filings)

$1.09 billion: The revenue generated by Latin recorded music in the United States last year. It represented 23.8 percent year-on-year growth for the genre, partly driven by Bad Bunny’s all-conquering Un Verano Sin Ti. That growth was, in percentage terms, more than three times the size of overall music-streaming revenue growth in the states in 2022 (+7.3 percent). According to Luminate’s 360 Music survey, 24 percent of music listeners in the U.S. engaged with Spanish-language music as of the first quarter of 2023. (Source: RIAA/Luminate)

21: Number of shows the indie band Gully Boys needed to play to just to break even on a 2022 tour. (Source: Gully Boys)

14 billion: The number of on-demand music streams listened to per week in India at the end of 2022 — up from 9 billion in the first week of the year. For context: The U.S. sees around 25 billion total on-demand music streams a week. (Source: Luminate Year-End Report)

38 million: The number of audio tracks on streaming services like Spotify that didn’t attract a single play, globally, in 2022. There were 67 million tracks that banked less than 10 plays in the year. Where is all of this music coming from? Largely, DIY platforms like DistroKid, which claims to have distributed more than 40 million songs to date.  (Source: Luminate)

$40 billion (approximately): The all-time amount that Spotify has paid music rights holders (artists, songwriters, labels, publishers) since it launched. Where’s that money gone? The three major record companies (Universal, Sony, and Warner) owned a 73.4 percent global market share of digital music in 2022, while their sister trio of major publishing companies took a 60.1 percent share of their global business.  (Source: Spotify/Music & Copyright)

10,100: The number of artists who generated more than $100,000 in royalties (recorded music plus publishing) on Spotify last year. That equates to 0.11 percent of the total number of artists on the platform. (Source: Spotify Loud & Clear/Music Business Worldwide)

14: The amount of Number One records on the Billboard Hot 100 last year. That’s five fewer than 2021’s equivalent number (19), and eight fewer than in 2020 (22). More music than ever is being released today, but the nature of streaming — popular tracks being played over and over, and that form of “consumption” contributing to charts, rather than one-off sales or downloads — means that the biggest hits of all repeatedly stay at Number One. (See Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks of 2022 — nearly a third of the entire year.) (Source: Billboard charts)

13: The amount of Number Ones on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022 that TikTok claims were driven by “significant viral trends” on its platform. (Source: TikTok)

150 million: The number of Americans TikTok claims are using its platform — close to half the country. (Source: TikTok)

$200 million: The reported amount paid by Hipgnosis Song Management for Justin Bieber’s publishing rights (and the artist’s recorded music income stream). It’s one of the very few nine-figure catalog deals in 2023 so far, as acquisitions of this size in music slow to a trickle. (Source: WSJ)


15,977,868: Number of songs created on the AI music-generating site Boomy (as of June 5, 2023). (Source: Boomy)

960,000: The amount of time in years that global music fans spent listening to tracks on streaming services in just the first quarter of this year. (Source: Luminate)

Tim Ingham is the founder and publisher of Music Business Worldwide, which has serviced the global industry with news, analysis, and jobs since 2015.

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