BRISBANE, Australia — While COVID-19 forced Australia’s live industry into a depressing, deep freeze in 2020, the same can’t be said for the country’s recording industry.
New wholesale data published by ARIA reveals Australia’s record business expanded by 7.3% to A$542 million ($412 million), during the 12-month period that included the harshest months of the pandemic.
It was the sixth successive year of growth for the recorded music industry, which has been riding the fortunes of streaming services.
Again, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and the myriad streaming brands powered the market, posting total growth of 14% in 2020, for income of A$362 million ($275 million). If there’s one sour note to be gleaned from the numbers, it’s the slowing rate of growth for subscription services, which had raced to 30% growth in 2019.
Vinyl albums are another bright point, spinning A$29 million ($22 million) in sales, up 32% versus the previous year. Sometime in 2021, the vinyl market will overtake the CD business, once a powerhouse format that’s now worth just 5.6% of the total market.
Digital single and album sales continue to trend down, shrinking by 27% year-on-year. Downloads now represent just 6% of the total market.
ARIA’s trade results were reported with no fanfare, and were overshadowed by the news that the Easter weekend Bluesfest was canceled at the eleventh hour due to an outbreak of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant.
The gains seen in the recorded music market “reflects the important role that music played for Australians going through a very challenging year with numerous lockdowns and widespread uncertainty due to COVID-19,” reads a statement.
“Despite the growth in recorded music,” the message continues, “it has been a very challenging year for the music industry as a whole with live music shut down in March 2020 and still running well below capacity.”
ARIA’s results are in-line with the 7.4% global growth announced last week by IFPI.