Music - New Zealand's $100 million industry

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For the third year in a row the New Zealand music industry has experienced double digit percentage growth with wholesale revenue growing by 14.6 per cent in 2017 to $98.8m, driven largely by New Zealand’s ever-increasing adoption and use of music streaming services.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says “We’re thrilled to report New Zealand’s recorded music industry continued its upwards trajectory in 2017. As the local music industry has innovated, adapted and evolved in recent years we are without question a predominantly digital industry here in Aotearoa.”

Wholesale revenue from streaming in 2017 was $61.3m, a huge 42 per cent increase on the 2016 figures. In fact, last year’s streaming revenue is almost as large as the industry’s total wholesale revenue three years ago ($66.2m in 2014).

This strong growth highlights the unprecedented growth and uptake of services such as Spotify and Apple Music in New Zealand.

Whilst physical music declined again in 2017 it remains a very popular medium of music consumption, contributing $14.5m to overall revenue. Interestingly, vinyl purchases continue to grow year-on-year, up nine per cent on 2016 numbers to $2.8m.

Recorded Music NZ’s collective licensing income derived from the broadcast of music on radio and television, and the licensing of businesses who publicly perform music at their premises also increased moderately by 4 per cent to $14.8m.

“Last year’s figures are certainly very positive and encouraging for the local industry. However, $98.8m is still approximately 30 per cent below the peak in wholesale music revenue the country used to see more than a decade ago after enduring a period of sustained market disruption and digital piracy in its many forms,” says Vaughan.

Stream ripping continues to be an issue for rights holders as does the value gap created by certain platforms who are able to take advantage of safe harbour provisions in our Copyright Act which were intended for ISPs only.

“It is clear that music is a growing and thriving sector and to build on this momentum in 2018 Recorded Music NZ will ensure copyright which is the foundation of music, is front and centre with our legislators as we proceed through the review of the NZ Copyright Act,” says Vaughan.

“Without strong copyright law which enables songwriters, performers and recording artists to control how their music is used and how they make a living from their creativity, our local industry will suffer and go backwards.”