The record industry definitely made Santa’s good list this year.

With Christmas just days out and most grown-ups looking for a cosy spot to hibernate, the music majors bring good tidings.

In separate holiday messages to staff, the heads of Universal Music and Sony Music have talked up their companies’ expansion and evolution over the past year.

It wasn’t long ago when the recording industry was in a downward spiral, losing its battle against piracy and struggling with format wars of their own. In the streaming era, business is looking much rosier.

The year 2019 would “go down in history,” noted Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge, as its strategy of investing in local content, global infrastructure and thinking digital pays off.

In the year ahead, UMG would invest in “every conceivable form of media” — short-form, long-form and interactive video, spatial audio, immersive content, gaming and live-streaming – to drive its artists’ careers, Grainge wrote.

“As we’ve seen countless times, the universal nature of music can bring people together,” continues Grainge’s message, reported by Billboard. “In a world that may too often seem nonsensical, music makes sense. We’re lucky to be a part of a company grounded on such a vital, joyous and indispensable aspect of our humanity.”

In his own message, Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer listed off everything from a 30% roster increase to the unexpected current U.S. No. 1 with a 25-year-old song by Mariah Carey.

Rob Stringer
Rob Stringer

On the recorded music side of the company, writes Stringer, “we have achieved our objective from the start of the year to dramatically expand our roster by 30 percent to meet the demands of the increasing distribution of music globally through streaming platforms.

Every market in the world can now find their own local content and, as a truly global player, we need to reflect this whilst continuing to find true worldwide artists and songs. Hits can come from anywhere as exemplified by the range of countries that produced global hits for us in 2019 from Korea to Holland to Colombia.”

Also, Sony Music has re-tooled for the podcasting space and established a presence in every emerging market, as the company pushes on with its strategy of building new creative spaces in every region around the globe.

“We must continue to strive to be not only bigger but, more importantly, better in all aspects of our business strategy so we are primed for sustainable success over the next decade and beyond,” Stringer writes in the memo, published by Billboard and Variety.

“With your collective talent and hard work we are building a creative entertainment company of the future and giving our artists, songwriters and creators the partnerships to thrive in this evolving industry.”

The numbers tell a similar story. According to the IFPI’s most recent Global Music Report, published in April, total music sales for 2018 grew nearly 10 percent to US$19.1 billion, with streaming generating almost half of all revenue.