In A Year Without Live Music, Streaming, NFTs Fuel Industry Growth

In A Year Without Live Music, Streaming, NFTs Fuel Industry Growth

The international recorded music market expanded by 7.4 percent last year while much of the globe was on lockdown and live, in-person music was not available.

That’s according to IFPI, which represents the recording industry and reported that the sector raked in $21.6 billion in total revenues for 2020, per a press release that cited data from the organization’s Global Music Report.

“[Fueled] by record companies’ ongoing investment in artists and their careers, along with innovative efforts to help artists bring music to fans in new ways, recorded music revenues grew globally for the sixth consecutive year, driven by subscription streaming,” IFPI CEO Frances Moore said in the release.

The organization said in the release that paid subscription streaming revenues climbed 18.5 percent for 2020 and that 443 million users subscribed to paid accounts at the close of the year. Total streaming revenues, which encompasses paid subscriptions and advertising-supported subscriptions, increased by 19.9 percent and represented 62.1 percent of total worldwide recorded music revenues.

According to the release, the expansion in streaming revenues more than made up for the drop in sales from other formats, such as revenues from performance rights and physical revenues.

Even with the bright spots in streaming, musical artists are taking creative approaches to link up with their listeners following a year without in-person shows. To that end, some musicians are offering non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to fans, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

NFTs function as online collectibles, which are “minted” or verified with the help of the blockchain. Users then buy them with digital currencies. Justin Blau, a digital musician who is called 3LAU, has brought in a haul of $17 million over the past month from the tokens, WSJ reported.

For a time, his “Ultraviolet” album held the record for the most paid for one NFT at $3.6 million, according to WSJ.

“It’s a way to monetize your fan base in a way that’s never been possible,” the musician told WSJ, although he acknowledged that he does not anticipate that the very high prices will hold forever.

In another example of artists harnessing NFTs, Kings of Leon was the first band to release a complete album as an NFT, PYMNTS previously reported, noting that if the release creates many sales and engagements among consumers, it likely won’t be the last of its kind.

Time will tell how much interest consumers show for NFTs, but it appears that tokens and streaming are helping to support the music industry in the present day when the pandemic is preventing fans from gathering to see their favorite artists in person.