IMPF launches Independent Music Publishing Global Market View 2021

Independent influence in digital music licensing key focus of latest study. Market View webinar to be held in the New Year

Brussels, 16th December 2021 The International Music Publishers Forum (IMPF) has launched its second Independent Publishing Market View, which dissects the value of the independent music publishing industry, as well as the sector’s influence on the modern music ecosystem and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. See Report here.

IMPF will host a special webinar to discuss the key insights and findings of this latest report in the New Year, with details to be confirmed.

The market in 2020

This year’s report assembles the global market revenue and percentage share of the independent music publishing industry in 2020. It also looks at how the sector
has managed to deal with the effects of the Covid pandemic, which has had a significant impact on music publishers’ business after a drop in revenues from performance rights.

The total value of the global music copyright business in 2020 was EUR 28.6 billion. Independents account for roughly 28% of the music publishing market in 2020 – approximately EUR 1.68 billion.

Music publishing by region

Europe continues to be the largest region for revenue – but 80% of publisher and composers’ global losses due to Covid were felt in Europe. Indeed, “digital champions” – with the exception of the UK – are all far away from Europe. Mexico, Australasia, South Korea and Canada (in descending order) have digital collections accounting for between 45% (Canada) and 75% (Mexico).

The report looks at the impact of Covid in key territories around the world, as well as mapping out the opportunities in emerging regions such as Africa and India.

Indie publishers’ licensing power

This year’s report also looks at independent publishers’ relationship with the modern digital music ecosystem and, more specifically, their value when it comes to the licensing of music streaming services.

IMPF has looked at the Top 50 songs on streaming platforms across key countries including Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In many key music markets around the world, independent publishers have a significant presence among a territory’s most streamed songs.

Looking at songs as a whole (lyrics and musical composition), on average, 46.8% of songs in Spotify’s Top 50 involve indie music publishers. Data provided by BMAT to IMPF shows that, in key markets such as Canada and Germany, indie publishers control shares on 36% of the tracks in the charts. In France this percentage goes up to 52%, in the UK it’s 40% and in the US 32%. In Brazil and Japan, this percentage is even higher with indie publishers controlling shares on 56% and 76% of tracks respectively.

These shares mean that independent publishers have significant control when it comes to the digital licensing of popular music copyrights in key music markets.

Getting a fairer share of digital revenues

The report also asks serious questions about income from digital services, particularly as streaming increases. It calls for fair remuneration for publishers and songwriters as record labels report dramatic increases in revenues from streaming services.

It flags the issue of streaming rates as “the most important and urgent priority for the wider community… Simply put, CMOs and publishers need to generate a larger share of digital revenue. The amount of revenue that streaming services make off the back of the work of creators and the gross disparity and inequality of what they pay out has reached scandalous proportions.”

IMPF President Annette Barrett said: “It is with a certain amount of cautious optimism that I introduce IMPF’s Independent Music Publishing Global Market View for 2021. The indie publishing sector, and songwriters and composers, along with much of the wider music industry, is learning to cope with one of the darkest, most challenging periods it will ever face as we try to gain a grip on Covid-19. With global music collections falling by over 10% as a direct result of the pandemic, it has taken a great deal of resilience and adaptability to survive.

“As we look to the future, a significant increase in digital revenues cements the new music economy as well as pointing to new frontiers and opportunities. But what has also been made abundantly clear in the past 18 months is the urgent need to ensure fair remuneration for independent publishers and our songwriters from streaming. IMPF will continue to champion this cause, and this report affords all of us, publishers, and songwriters, some of the insight we need to further our own businesses, demonstrate our value and get what we deserve in this new era for our community.”


Quotes from IMPF members

Ender Atis, Budde Music: “It is great to see the evidence that many of today’s biggest streaming hits are published by independents. The high percentages of works with independent publisher involvement on the top streaming charts confirm the significance of our sector in the digital future of music licensing. However, this report also lays out the significant imbalances in that future as things stand. As a sector, we can use this data to know our worth and act accordingly.”

Ichi Asatsuma, Fujipacific: “IMPF’s second global market study provides an overview of the difficult situation our industry is experiencing due to the pandemic, looks at the opportunities that lie ahead, and the work that needs to be done to benefit fully from those opportunities. With this report now an annual fixture, our collective knowledge and understanding of the market – and our value within it – will improve with every year.”

Teri Nelson Carpenter, Reel Muzik Werks: “This is a great resource for independent publishers across the world on an individual and collective level. With this study, we can view the global publishing market from different angles, through different lenses, as it pertains to independents. While distributions are down due to the pandemic, there is great potential in the digital market and non-English repertoire, where indies dominate. This kind of data and insight helps us plot a course for our sector.”

Jennifer Mitchell, Red Brick Songs/Casablanca Media Publishing: “In the most recent study we conducted, we found that 79% of the revenue of our indie members was from foreign sources.  This is a key indicator of how important the global marketplace is for independent Canadian music publishers. Canadian songs and scores are heard around the world on film, tv, streaming services and video games.”

Filippo Sugar, Sugar Music: “This report not only highlights the key issues affecting the music community in 2021, but also helps illuminate our position in the market as a sector and arms us with data to make our case when approaching global institutions and governments to advocate for our business.”


IMPF is a network and meeting place for independent music publishers globally. We want to take advantage of the incredible opportunities to have our music on every service, licensed easily and without borders. And most importantly, we want our writers and our companies rewarded fairly for their work.