Music's 2023 Report Card

3 big takeaways for music's future

Welcome, artists & builders.

Today, we’ll open up music’s 2023 report cards & look beyond the surface numbers to identify some major shifts in where music’s going. Oh, and lots of charts.

Inside Issue #30

  • 💡 3 big takeaways for music’s future

  • 📊 How the price of music has changed

Music’s 2023 Report Card

3 of music’s biggest 2023 reports recently dropped:

I went deep on each, cross-referencing & compiling with multi-year data.

So, how’d we do?

  • Global recorded music grew 10.2% to a record $28B,

  • US recorded music grew 7.7% to a record $17.1B, and

  • Streaming remains dominant.

But, if you look deeper, there are major shifts happening.

I’ll focus on 3:

1. Passive Streaming is Maxing Out

Paid subscriptions in the US reached 97 million, but growth keeps slowing.

Passive consumption has been pushed to its brink.

Music needs new forms of growth to maintain the last decade’s trajectory. It will come from fandom, interactivity & creation itself.

*Global streaming revenue growth rates are also down:

2019: 21.6%
2020: 18.7%
2021: 23.6%
2022: 11.5%
2023: 10.3%

Emerging markets still have room for growth, but bring far less revenue potential due to a high % of free users & low premium prices.

2. Physical Music’s Resurgence is a Signal

Physical sales are growing at a faster rate than streaming in the US & globally.

In fact, the 5-year growth rate of US vinyl revenue is 182% to streaming’s 62%.

Almost half of global physical sales came from Asia, who are steps ahead in nurturing & tapping fandom (cue UMG launching a JV with HYBE to “implement the K-Pop methodology” in the US this week).

Fans are showing us they want more than streaming.

Something connective, immersive & collectible that's a deeper experience in the artist's world.

I believe the door is wide open for new formats.

3. Direct to Fan is Becoming a Massive Opportunity

Direct to Fan is the fastest growing form of music consumption in the US.

→ Up 27.8% from 2022
→ Direct vinyl is up even more at 38%

A direct artist-fan relationship is more important than ever as we drown out to 120k+ tracks per day & an endless, algo-driven content feed.

→ Consumption is increasingly fragmented
→ Reach is increasingly unreliable

Knowing your fans is now a superpower.


1. Streaming is maxing out
2. The time is ripe for new formats
3. Direct fan relationships are the new gold

You can already see major responses to these shifts, in a focus on superfans, a search for new monetization models, streaming price bumps, and majors looking to box out the encroaching long-tail.

Music's entering a new era.

It’s the 1st year of music’s next decade.

Get on board.

PS: One more bonus trend below

The Price of Music

The average vinyl LP costs $6.35 more than 7 years ago, up 26%.

2017: $24.90
2023: $31.25

Up 26%

But, a streaming sub is only up 10% since 2011.

2011: $9.99
2023: $10.99

It’s nice to have price control.

7-Year growth for US vinyl records:

Avg Unit Price: $24.90 → $31.30 (+26%)
Total Units Sold: 15.6m → 43.2m (+177%)
Total Revenue: $389m → $1.4b (+248%)

Sell. Those. Records.

That’s it for this week. Back to tools & case studies again soon. Let me know if you’re missing those.