People of my generation, like those before us no doubt, like to moan on about the quality of modern music. When I look back at the diversity of the music from the 1980’s that I grew up listening to, I cannot but help feel that this generation is missing out.
As it happens, the 2017 Global Music Report from IFPI indicated that the multi-year decline in global music revenues has bottomed out. The 2016 industry revenues grew by 6% over 2015, with digital revenues up 17% driven by a 60% jump in streaming revenue. In a growth environment, the 2016 revenues matched those last seen in the late 1980’s.
The IFPI will publish the official 2017 revenue figures later this month and it will be fascinating to see if the 2016 growth figures can be matched. As a potential indicator, the US only 2017 digital growth figures were similar to those achieved in 2016. The music sector is one of the earliest examples of the awesome creative destructive ability of the digital revolution, as the graph below shows.
The physical and digital revenues are obvious (e.g. CDs & vinyl, downloads & streaming). Performance rights includes the revenues generated by the use of recorded music by broadcasters and public venues. Synchronisation revenues include the revenues from the use of music in advertising, film, games and television programmes.
As a regular theme of this blog is the impact of the digital revolution under way on so many industries and the need for sectors to adapt through digital transformation of their business models, the graph above is both thought provoking and scary.
Listening to the investment pitch by Spotify this week over the future of the sector, I can’t but help think that the democratisation and disintermediation promised by the internet age has resulted, for the music sector at least, in dominant players dictating homogeneous tastes and culture. The death of individualism seems to be the result, at least until this or future generations get fed up with it.