Streaming has changed the music industry, from altering the way songs are included on the Billboard Charts, to even influencing the songs played during live shows. It has also led to massive revenues for major labels, as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group generated $2.26bn collectively from streaming in the fourth calendar quarter last year.
When broken down to an hourly basis, this means that the labels generated $1.03m every single hour during the last calendar quarter of 2019. Their total annual revenue across all three labels was almost as much, clocking in at $953k per hour of music streaming.
Universal generated the most revenue in quarter four making a whopping $1.02bn from streaming services on their own. Sony followed right after, along with Warner music, generating $669m and $589m respectively during the same time period.
Some of these figures may not be complete however, as it does not account for the gross revenues it transfers to label distribution partners, such as smaller independent labels.
While the labels have seen a massive increase in revenue from streaming, their growth has slowed down during the past couple of years. The period of 2017 to 2018 saw the three labels’ streaming revenue rise by $1.62bn, while the period of 2018 to 2019 saw an increase of $1.43bn, a significant drop from prior years.
Streaming services such as Spotify have also been seeing recent success. Spotify recorded their first-ever profitable period during the final quarter of 2018, as they added nine million new premium subscribers, and reached 13 new markets.