Music sales in Spain rise for the third year in a row, this time 1.7% up

  • Digital business exceeds 100 million euros and represents 61% of the market.
  • Paying streaming surpasses the million subscribers base in 2016.
  • Physical format resist: vinyl sales grow and CD remains interesting.
  • Manuel Carrasco leads the top sellers chart for the first time. 17 titles in Spanish out of top 20.
  • Most successful track: Enrique Iglesias feat. Wisin ‘Duele el corazón’.

Spanish recording industry achieved to grow in 2016 for the third consecutive year. Spaniards spent 163.7 million euros in recorded music, an amount that shyly surpasses last year's registered 161.1 million. The sum of this new increase of 1.67%, following two years of clear recovery, confirms the improving trend in a sector that, hardly hit by piracy and illegal downloads, had suffered important business volume downturn years back. Digital market strengthens and illuminates an optimistic future. Pop in Spanish remains as the music genre that attracts a greater deal of interest among consumers. 2016 closes with Manuel Carrasco leading Spain’s top seller albums for the first time.         


On the rise evolution

Following years of uninterrupted losses in Spain from 2001 (when phonograms were sold valued 603 million euros), year 2014 was the one to register an outstanding upturn of 21% in the recorded music market. Things kept improving in 2015, with sales exceeding the previous hit by 6.85%. This trend is strengthening in 2016, with a moderate 1.67% growth compared to previous years, which allows to close a three-year period accumulating almost 30% increase. Digital music consumption is more and more clearly confirming in our country, which contributes the global figure increase. All forecasts suggested that digital market would overcome physical market sales in 2016, given that 2015 ended with a close 51/49 (physical vs digital). The transfer of consumption model is obvious in 2016, where 61.2% of revenue are already coming from digital sales, compared to 38.8% from traditional music shops.

This rosy picture of the online universe is the effect of the indisputable consolidation of streaming, the songs playing without need to download them to the computer or the mobile device. Along 2016, the figure of one million paying subscribers of streaming music services (Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Deezer, among others) was surpassed in Spain. Subscription revenues increased 37.4%, up to 62.2 million euros, while free ad-supported streaming raised 24.7% to 25.3 million.  In particular, the digital sector went from 79.6 million to 100.2 million euros’ revenues, a steep rise of almost 26 percent.


The resilience of the physical market

Figures of the physical market underline a smooth transition of consumption towards digital. Yet, the income generated by sales of CDs and vinyl exceeds the not at all negligible amount of 63.5 million euros in 2016. During the last year, more than 8.5 million discs were sold in our country, most of them in CD format. Remarkably, there are 433 thousand vinyl records sold this year, compared to 362 thousand sold the year before (a 19.6% increase). A rewarding behaviour of a traditional carrier that interestingly enough does not seem to be an isolated case: in the United States, sales of vinyl records represent more revenues than free tier streaming. In the United Kingdom, the emergence of vinyl specialised shops and the interest it awakes among people under 25 have allowed sales benefits to be over those of digital downloads. Besides, vinyl is once again a carrier the recording companies chose for big releases. The response of consumers and music fans confirms the phenomenon being experienced by this classic format that still maintains its charm, decades after its emergence.


Pioneers of the digital model

Both Promusicae and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) highlight the fact of the recording industry as a pioneer that could adapt, before other cultural sectors did, to the demand of society regarding their current consumption needs. The President of Promusicae, Antonio Guisasola, took the opportunity of the publication of 2016 sales figures to urge the new Government about “the need to make a firm commitment to our country's music creativity as a cultural vehicle” and added that "this means to protect the development achieved so far, which in terms of the industry, goes through a digital model which is still unprotected and, despite all, moves forwards in a field where piracy remains the great threat". "The time has come when the government must set as priority a plan to protect recorded music and develop digital distribution. We have come here on our own and without support, in fact with many difficulties, assuming great investments and with a high-risk percentage". Lastly, Guisasola reminded that the music industry has pioneered the evolution and seek of new business models in the digital field. “In fact, a clear and real example of the efforts the music industry is making to get renewed and to grow on the Internet is to be present in different streaming platforms. In global terms, these services, with Spotify at the head, offer today our music to more subscribers than Netflix, streaming leader for fans of the audio-visual productions".


Boom of Spanish music

Manuel Carrasco notches up a significant individual victory, ending 2016 as Spain's top seller artist thanks to his eighth album, Bailar el viento. This is the first time that Carrasco, with a long career since his début in 2002, tops the annual classification, which so far this decade had been headed by Sergio Dalma (2009 and 2010), Pablo Alborán (from 2011 to 2014) and Alejandro Sanz (2015). "Bailar el viento" holds this privileged rank with 89,500 units, while his nearer pursuer is Melendi ("Quítate las gafas"), which remains with 53,500 units. With the great merit indeed of being an album that saw the light as recently as the month of November.

Albums sales figures maintain an overwhelming prevalence of Spanish acts, with only few exceptions. British Adele, who already in 2015 had reached top four position with "25", is third in rank with additional 45,600 units sold last year. Leading band Coldplay also extends the success of "A head full of dreams" with a ninth place and almost 29,000 copies sold. "Soy Luna" OST ranks 16th with 23,400 copies. Recent Metallica's "Hardwire to self destruct" approaches 20,000 discs and holds position number 19. These are the only foreign names of Top 20, where are, ordered, Dani Martín with his “La montaña rusa”, David Bisbal (“Hijos del mar”), Malú (“Caos”), Vanesa Martín (“Munay”) or the girl band Sweet California, maybe the year's biggest surprise: eighth with "Head for the stars" and eleventh with the newly published album "3".

Pablo López, Mónica Naranjo, Antonio José, Gemeliers, Alejandro Sanz, Antonio Orozco, Leiva and Bustamante are, in order, the rest of the names holding the first 20 lines of the chart. As a curious fact, Love of Lesbian, most popular Spanish band of festivals, reaches 22nd rank with "El poeta Halley". David Bowie's parting album "Blackstar", best album 2016 for an overwhelming majority of international and Spanish critics, was 23 in the sales charts (18,500 discs), while another mourned myth, Leonard Cohen, was 29th in the rank with his swan song "You want it darker". Among them, Adrian holds rank 25th with his début album "Lleno de vida", and the return of Isabel Pantoja "Hasta que se apague el sol", released in November, settles for position 31. More modest is the position held by Rolling Stones, chart number 40 with their first new songs’ album in 12 years, "Blue and lonesome", although to be truth all 12,000 albums were sold in just four weeks of December. Long career and critic acclaimed artists have to settle for low rank positions in Top 100 chart. Thus, "Keep me singing", the resounding return of Northern Irish Van Morrison does not pass from rank 84. And five positions downwards, ranking 89, we find British Radiohead with "A moon shaped pool".


Dancing songs on the lead

When it comes to Top 100 songs, compiled from streaming and digital download data, more rhythmical and danceable music sweeps away. And Enrique Iglesias has become a classic in this category, leading again the chart this time featuring Wisin and their most popular "Duele el corazón". Aussie Sia gets an extraordinary success with "Cheap thrills", reaching top 2 of the list, while the bronze goes to another extremely often sung song, "La bicicleta", bringing together Carlos Vives and Shakira's talents.

All other privileged places are also occupied by largely supported acts. The success of Columbia band Morat is especially remarkable, with their catchy song "Cómo te atreves" in a well-merited fourth position that brings them as the great revelation with respect to songs. Meanwhile, Canadian Justin Bieber, starring November's multitudinous live concerts in Barcelona and Madrid, is top 5 with "Sorry" and again in the chart top 10 with "Love yourself". Nicky Jam and Drake/Wizkid/Kyla, in positions 5 and 6, confirm the boom of urban rhythms with “Hasta el amanecer” and “One dance”, respectively, while Alan Walker (Faded), Joey Montana (Picky) and Mike Posner and his frantic “I took a pill in Ibiza” complete the Top 10 and go ahead of Coldplay, ranking 11 with the also euphoric track “Hymn for the weekend”.


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