Music sales rose robustly for a second straight year, posting growth not seen in two decades thanks to the rapid adoption of streaming, the global industry body said Tuesday. Despite sliding CD sales and downloads, revenue from recorded music around the world grew 5.9 percent in 2016 to total $15.7 billion, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said.
The growth tops the previous year's 3.2 percent increase and marks the fastest rate since 1997 - when the recorded music industry first suffered a jolt with the dawn of the internet age. Streaming revenue jumped 60 percent in 2016. Spotify led the way but the report said the market was buoyed by rising consumer choice among on-demand platforms including Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer. Music executives cautioned that the market remained fragile and that the industry will need to keep adapting, with streaming only in its infancy.
Frances Moore, CEO of the industry federation, said it was critical for the music business to keep investing in artists, who ultimately carry the industry's fortunes. She also renewed calls for a global overhaul in regulations that allow internet companies to skirt most responsibility for users' uploads - which, music executives charge, leads to unfairly low revenue from omnipresent video site YouTube. Music sales expanded in almost all major markets. Latin America had the highest rate of growth at 12 percent, led by a boom in Mexico even as the region's largest market Brazil slipped slightly. The report found that Canadian hip-hop superstar Drake was the most popular global artist of 2016 on the back of infectious singles such as the streaming sensation "One Dance."
Rock legend David Bowie, who died last year, came in second, while Beyonce's conceptual "Lemonade" was the top-selling album worldwide.