Spotify ended the year 2022 with a catalog of over 100 million tracks, according to the company's annual report released on Thursday, February 2nd. This represents a significant increase from the 82 million tracks the streaming service had the previous year, averaging to about 49,000 new songs added per day. Listening to a single day's worth of new music, at three minutes per track, would take approximately three and a half months.
It has been estimated that the number of new tracks added daily is 100,000. In September 2022, Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge stated that 100,000 tracks were being added to music platforms daily, while former Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper estimated roughly 100,000 tracks being uploaded to platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple. These estimates were deemed accurate by Luminate, who reported that only 3,600 new International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) came daily from major distributors.
However, self-reported numbers do not always align with executive statements. In April 2019, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claimed that nearly 40,000 new tracks were being uploaded daily, but the daily average that year was 27,000, according to Spotify's disclosures. In February 2021, Ek stated that the number of daily tracks added to the catalog had surpassed 60,000, but the daily average for 2020 was 55,000, and fell to 33,000 in 2021, according to Spotify's disclosures. It's worth noting that the number of tracks reported by Spotify aligns more closely with the number of ISRCs if variations like remixes and clean versions, which each require a unique ISRC, are taken into account, according to a record label source.
It's possible that the number of new tracks uploaded daily could be higher than 100,000 in total. In addition to Spotify, other platforms like SoundCloud add tracks at a faster rate, licensing music from record labels and distributors, and accepting direct uploads from independent musicians. SoundCloud currently has 40 million artists on the platform and added 45 million tracks from February 2022 to January 2023, averaging 123,000 tracks per day.
The number of new tracks added daily, whether it's 49,000, 100,000 or more, is important for those who want to follow trends, make forecasts, or decide on M&A strategies. The lower number represents the amount of music added to the world's most popular audio streaming platform, while the higher number represents the size of the "creator economy," or the universe of music being produced by novices and professionals alike.
The future of music is more music, as the barriers to entry are now low, allowing virtually anyone to commercially release music. The music creator tools market was worth $4.1 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow from 30 million people paying for music software, skills sharing, and learning to nearly 100 million by 2030, according to MIDiA Research. There are now many established tools for getting music online, such as BandLab and Soundtrap, owned by Spotify, and low-cost distributors like DistroKid and TuneCore. The abundance of music is good for some, such as distributors and developers of music creation tools, but bad for others, such as record labels who must fight to get their tracks heard and risk losing market share. It's a mixed bag for consumers who have unlimited access to music but face a paradox of choice. How the industry will handle all this music is unclear, but what's certain is that there will be a lot of it, and the pace of new releases is only set to increase.
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