The music industry generates 850 million euros annually in Catalonia, according to a study by Barcelona Music Lab and the Government.

The music industry generates 850 million euros annually in Catalonia, according to a study by Barcelona Music Lab and the Government.

  • This is the first report that analyzes the music industry in Catalonia, according to which the sector is composed of 379 companies that generate more than 4,000 jobs.
  • 51% of Catalan companies in the sector are dedicated to live music, while 27% are dedicated to recorded music.
  • The study, presented this Friday, highlights the strategic importance of this sector for the economy, innovation, and technology in Catalonia, especially in the field of artificial intelligence.
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The music industry generates 854 million euros annually in Catalonia, according to the first study of the music industry in Catalonia conducted by ACCIÓ – the agency for business competitiveness of the Department of Business and Labor – in collaboration with the Barcelona Music Lab foundation. The report, which can be downloaded at this link, was presented on Friday morning at a press conference by the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos i Maduell, the director of Barcelona Music Lab, Miquel Curanta i Girona, and the director of the Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises (ICEC), Edgar Garcia Casellas.

One of the main conclusions of the study is that the music industry in Catalonia is composed of 379 companies that generate more than 4,000 jobs. Thus, the document highlights the strategic importance of this sector for the economy, innovation, and technology in Catalonia. Catalan companies in the sector are mainly dedicated to live music, with 51% of the number of companies and 82% of total revenue. In this segment, there are companies that provide services or solutions for organizing concerts or festivals, such as lighting services, sound equipment, or stage setup services, concert and festival promoters, concert venues, musical spaces, and event production.

Next, the report identifies companies specializing in recorded music, accounting for 27% of the number of companies and 10% of revenue: record labels and music publishers; their auxiliary industry (such as companies that develop digital solutions for music content distribution, rights monitoring, or artist promotion); companies that distribute, aggregate, or curate music content; and recording studios.

Finally, corporate companies represent 9% of the total. These are companies that create or distribute music content specifically for other companies, for example, for advertising, corporate events, or in-store background music.

Catalonia’s Assets in the Music Industry

In addition to having internationally recognized Catalan artists, the report highlights the strategic importance of technology in this sector. It emphasizes that there are currently more than 50 Catalan music tech companies, i.e., companies that develop their own technology for music (such as BMAT, specialized in AI development for music monitoring – with more than 200 employees – or Sonosuite, which has created software for digital content distribution). In this sense, the fact that Barcelona is the first hub for startups in southern Europe and one of the technological centers of the continent is one of the country’s assets that can facilitate the potential growth of the Catalan music industry in the coming years and position it as a reference internationally. Furthermore, the study highlights that one of the characteristics of the music industries in Catalonia is that this positioning coexists with the fact that the Catalan capital has become one of the top locations for live music festivals in recent years, with events such as Cruïlla, Sònar, or Primavera Sound. According to the report, more than half of Catalan companies are dedicated to live music, a key factor that can act as a bridge to transfer technology developed in the knowledge field to the market.

In fact, the knowledge and research ecosystem is the differential asset of the sector internationally and has become the main source of startups generation in Catalonia in this sector. The Music Technology Group (MTG) at Pompeu Fabra University stands out, considered the second most important in Europe in terms of research dimension and impact, with a technological focus on the application of artificial intelligence in various areas of music. Relevant centers such as Eurecat, the Computer Vision Center (CVC), the Research Group on Media Technologies of La Salle, UPC, or BSC-CNS, among others, are also noteworthy. In the field of education, the study points out that Catalonia has a wide range of music-related studies with reference centers such as the Liceu Conservatory, Taller de Músics, the Superior School of Music of Catalonia (ESMUC), or the International Music Business (IMB) School.

Currently, there are nearly 500 students enrolled in master’s and bachelor’s degrees in this sector, while nearly 3,000 people are enrolled in bachelor’s and vocational training programs. Business and Technological Trends The report highlights that one of the trends in the sector in Catalonia and internationally is the application of artificial intelligence in the field of music, and in fact, 90% of R&D and innovation in the industry either involves AI or other technologies that require it. In this sense, it emphasizes the importance of having research teams from major technology companies in Catalonia that develop technology in this sector, such as Dolby, Amazon, Apple, or Microsoft. In fact, these big tech multinational companies are entering into the generation and distribution of content (Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tencent Music, and YouTube Music, along with Spotify, account for nearly 50% of the total music streaming subscribers worldwide), and the report already highlights the AI applications from Meta and Google launched last year, which can transform text into music using this technology. Thus, the report also points out that large companies in the sector are increasingly taking on new areas of business, from record labels increasingly entering the live music field to streaming platforms incorporating segments of business related to management or music production. This is the case with Tencent Music, the leading digital platform in China in the field of music, which works from streaming to content production, promotion, and music publishing. The role of the financial sector in this industry is also growing through the acquisition of catalogs and live music, as musical assets are becoming increasingly interesting for the financial sector. In just over three years, on an international scale, the purchase of musical catalogs by investment funds has exceeded $6.5 billion.

According to the document prepared by ACCIÓ, one of the global trends in the music industry is the disappearance of phases and intermediaries in the value chain due to the growth of digital distribution. It is observed that artists earn more revenue from live music than recorded music – where record labels earn more – and that there is a tendency towards the disappearance of intermediary figures (managers, distributors, record labels, rights management entities, etc.) in a future scenario where artists will increasingly rely on their own platforms for music production and distribution.

Business Opportunities

Based on Catalonia’s assets and the potential of the local music industry, the study identifies new business opportunities for Catalan companies. In the case of recorded music, for example, it suggests opportunities such as developing digital platforms that facilitate the connection between musical groups and their followers, technological solutions to streamline music creation and production processes for artists, monitoring the use and playback of songs in any medium, or capturing new musical interests of consumers. Regarding live music, it identifies opportunities such as developing technological solutions that monitor audience interests and can create personalized events based on their profiles and local markets, or immersive tools that offer unique experiences to concertgoers.

The report also considers that Catalan companies can work to create recyclable or reusable products for festivals, new technological platforms that facilitate online concert tracking and can represent additional revenue streams for promoters, technological systems that optimize queues, as well as lighting and audiovisual solutions for live music productions.