Image Credit: MIDiA Research

Musicians and small labels are taking back control as major labels’ percentage dropped in the last year and independent music grew the most.

The latest figures from Spotify show that the independent revolution we’ve been a part of with artists and smaller record labels around the world is making a huge impact. In 2020, the independent sector grew their market share from 29.7% to 31.1% on Spotify.

The percentage of major record labels meanwhile dropped a pretty large chunk from 70.3% in 2019 to 68.9% last year. It’s worth bearing in mind that these figures represent Spotify’s streaming percentage and don’t necessarily imply a revenue share.

It’s great news for artists of all shapes and sizes who have been taking back the power that has been unreasonably weighed in the hands of major labels and record companies for generations. The internet and digital services have helped to equalise the music landscape as – powered by independent distribution like we offer at RouteNote – artists are able to release music to platforms and earn money for listens without having to go through a major label to reach audiences around the world.

It’s important to note that a large portion of the independent percentage comes from Merlin signed independent music and labels. However independents outside of Merlin are taking a considerable lead, growing from a 12.2% share in 2019 to 15.7% in 2020 – a whopping growth in market share for one year. Meanwhile, Merlin independent’s shares have dropped from 11.7% to 9.1%.

It’s clear that music streaming and independent distributors are redefining the industry that has long held artists hostage in contracts at the will of major labels. Though there are many advantages to signing with a major label, the control over artists’ own music is hugely valuable and these new routes provide an opportunity for them to profit on their own terms. The results are clear, more artists and labels are moving to control their music as they release it into the world.