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IMS report reveals electronic music industry down 2%

The latest edition of the annual IMS Ibiza report has been released, showing a levelling off for a maturing business after years of huge growth

By Jamie Raybould on 24 May 2018

The IMS report Ibiza annual conference

The IMS Ibiza annual conference

The International Music Summit (IMS) business report from the annual conference in Ibiza this year has just been released, and after the incredible growth of EDM in the past few years it seems like the electronic music industry is finally slowing down.

The value of the global industry fell 2%, to US$7.2bn, in 2017, down from $7.4bn the previous year.

As the IMS report shows, whilst overall recorded music revenue in North America grew by 12.8% last year, dance/electronic music fell by 2%. However, the loss of revenue could be due to the more prevalent crossover tracks often classified as pop or R&B rather than EDM or dance, according to the report’s author, analyst Kevin Watson.

In Europe there is a similar story: the year-on-year (YoY) growth overall in the music industry is up 4.3%, but in Germany and the UK, the dance/electronic share of recorded music was down by 4.4%. This is still better historically for Germany, however, as the dance share was just 3.5% in 2013. The UK saw a resurgence in pop and hip hop genres, both of which can and do cross over with EDM, Watson added.

“The value of EDM’s integration into mainstream culture is immeasurable”

However, while growth has plateaued in mature markets, dance music continues to grow in emerging markets such as Asia, where the number of events held in China is set to double in 2018. Additionally, EDM festival franchise Ultra launched 23 new events in 2017, reflecting the growing popularity of dance music shows globally.

Indeed, Ultra’s Attendance of 1m+ at 45 events in 20 different countries puts Ultra on par with the Winter Olympics and Formula 1 motor racing, according to the report.

Looking to the future, IMS – using data from Morgan Stanley and Research & Markets – predicts the electronic music business will be worth nearly $9bn by 2021. While 2017 saw a slight decline in fortunes for the industry, the “value of [dance music’s] integration into mainstream culture is immeasurable”, said Watson, and “growth has started to be captured in other parts of mainstream culture”.


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