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Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
25 April 2024, 12:09

Dance music industry value reaches $11.8 billion, IMS Business Report shows

Strong growth across live and recorded reflects rocketing demand, but artists are finding bookings harder to get, and gender inequality remains widespread 

IMS 2024 Business Report

The 2024 IMS Business Report was published yesterday, Wednesday 24th April, and shows the dance music industry is now valued at $11.8 billion, up 17% on the previous 12 months. 

Recorded music also showed signs of growth. Physical sales increased, and streaming rose by 10% in 2023. Within this, non-major labels increased their share, and now account for 31% of the total market. 

Countries including Brazil, Mexico, India and South Africa were all identified as key territories driving and expanding electronic music "fandom" globally, which is growing faster than for any other genre. Within dance music, tech house was the most popular sound, followed by house, techno, "melodic house and techno", and drum & bass. Afro house is now the 23rd most searched for style in the world, above rock, reggae, classic hip hop, and trance.  

Demand for tickets leapt too. Pollster reports the biggest earning tours brought in $9.2 billion over the last year, far exceeding 2019 — the last 'normal' period unaffected by Covid-19, during which equivalent shows generated $5.5 billion. Overall, live companies saw the strongest growth of any business type, achieving 35% gains. Live Nation and Eventim alone now account for $25.1 billion of combined revenue. 

"2022 was an unusual year, in that it reflected the post-pandemic bounce back effect for live. There was a risk that 2023 would struggle to live up to those inflated expectations, but instead the electronic music industry grew strongly once again, with impressive growth across virtually all of its constituent parts," said Mark Mulligan, MD & Analyst at MIDiA Research, and author of the IMS Business Report. 

"What is more, electronic music culture grew its fan bases faster than other leading genres, in part due to the rapid rise of African music and fans, illustrating the growing cultural footprint of electronic music culture and its vibrant global scenes,” he continued. 

Unveiled annually during Ibiza's IMS Summit, which runs all week, the report does acknowledge several challenges. Streaming growth remains difficult to monetise in any way which is fair for artists, and growth is outpaced by expanded rights and licensing.

When asked if gigs are generally paying less, 45% were undecided, but 40% agreed. 41% also believed it was harder to secure bookings, yet live is the biggest income source for the majority (51%). Just one quarter earned more through royalties. 

Women and gender-expansive music makers were found to be particularly disenfranchised. More likely than men to be interrupted, excluded, questioned or judged unfairly, this is reflected in a pay gap. There are double the chances a woman will find out they are underpaid compared to men than vice versa. 

Alongside representation, there are widespread concerns about external economic factors and fan discovery. 85% of industry respondents expect fan spend to be hit in the coming year, 74% said it was now more difficult for artists to cut through, and 70% said artist development was falling through the cracks. Meanwhile, 57% worried about generative AI

“The new IMS Business Report reflects how deeply electronic music is now integrated into mainstream culture - from festivals to films, finance to fashion - with the genre now ever-present in society," said IMS Co-Founder, Ben Turner. "We had shifted from segregated stages or one-off moments to an always-on culture that is hard to get away from. 

"It’s testament to the industry that the valuation is now showing continual growth post-pandemic. The pent-up demand experienced in 2022 is also reflective of a new generation coming through who are proving to be passionate, loyal, and keen to experience everything possible. We are pleased to see the IMS Business Report also grow in stature and impact with all eyes on the genre like never before," he added.

Access the full report here