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IMS report dance sector began post-COVID revival in 2021

By | Published on Thursday 28 April 2022


The International Music Summit yesterday published its annual report on the dance and electronic music sector as part of its flagship IMS Ibiza event. The top line stat in that report was that on a global level the sector made a significant recovery in 2021 following the major impact of COVID in 2020, although – with a total valuation of $6 billion – the sector is still not back to 2019 levels.

The IMS report aggregates data relating to all the various revenue streams of the dance sector – including live and clubbing income – hence why its 2020 figures were so significantly hit by the pandemic. According to IMS’s number crunching, in 2020 the dance sector’s revenues slumped 54% to $3.4 billion. Last year’s recovery equated to a 71% increase, but total revenues were still down on the $7.2 billion that IMS reckons the sector generated in 2019.

That’s not especially surprising, of course. Although live and clubbing events did resume last year, there was still a chunk of 2021 where such events couldn’t happen, and extra regulations were often still in force even when they could, with rules varying greatly around the world, but often hitting clubbing particularly hard. So although the revival of live and clubbing got underway last year, it certainly wasn’t anything like a full revival.

Other revenue streams tracked by the report did see growth in 2021. Obviously we know that recorded music revenues across the board have continued to increase throughout the pandemic. In terms of the dance sector specifically, it obviously benefits from that general growth, although the extent to which it benefits depends on the popularity of electronic music on the streaming platforms.

Assessing that popularity in some of the biggest recorded music markets, IMS reports that electronic music grew its market share in the UK and Germany last year, while retaining its market share in the US and Canada. Where there’s growth, in the main dance music is increasing its market share as rap and hip hop sees its share decline a little.

The dance sector is also benefiting from the new digital revenues that are emerging, including livestreaming and digital collectables, and all things NFT and metaverse. And, the IMS report notes, these are particularly important for the many dance acts with smaller but very loyal audiences, who don’t usually do so well from Spotify-style streaming, but who can generate good income from these other online activities.

The report notes: “Streaming isn’t working for all but a tiny number of artists. So, more than ever, we need to focus on building monetisable relationships with our audiences. In 2008, when Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired, outlined how artists need only 1000 true fans to make a living, it seemed like a tantalising but unachievable goal for many. The pandemic accelerated a number of initiatives that now make this aspiration achievable for many more artists”.

You can download the report here.