As frequent midemblog readers know, after over a decade of hard times, the music industry is buzzing with mirth once again. That buzz isn’t getting killed, either. Streaming at least appears to be, at last, starting to turn real profits for all concerned. Vinyl is back, in a relatively small but strong way. Here at the dawn of 2018, the music business is crackling with intense energy. Let’s find out how, in figures…
$22 billion major label Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed a multi-year contract with social media giant Facebook, for global licensing of its music and publishing catalogues for use in videos and multimedia productions. The motivation is to allow users to “personalise their music experiences”. Facebook’s Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Business Development & Partnerships, says that the new contract is going to allow “music lovers, artists, and writers” to enhance their “creativity, connection, and innovation through music and video.”
Nearly $20 billion got spent on BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) when Universal acquired it in 2007, and the company now is expanding into music-related film and TV production, a deal reflecting how much music lovers are perceived as longing for multimedia experiences. BMG’s CEO Hartwig Masuch has said that this is definitely “a strategic move” because “technology is transforming music into a visual medium.” Is video still in the process of killing the radio star?
$75 billion: YouTube’s estimated worth. The Alphabet-owned company is allegedly leveraging its financial power to go all-in for deals on a new music streaming service to be launched in 2018, known to us right now only as “Remix”. YouTube is of course owned by Google, and Remix is set to overthrow Google Play, the music streaming service which has been around since 2011.
$3.58 billion in 2017 is what Warner Music Group stated as its income (up 10.2% over 2016). The major label has made the globe smaller by signing a streaming music licensing deal with African music service Mdundo. The deal covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria. Mdundo CEO Martin Nielsen says that the deal “makes our service more attractive and that will benefit our users, our African musicians, and our commercial partners.”
$500 billion Chinese digital music platform and tech juggernaut Tencent has signed on the bottom line with Universal (yeah, those guys again!) to distribute UMG’s music in China via its various streaming services. What’s more, Abbey Road Studios China is to be built! UMG has owned the historic London recording studio since 2012. Cussion Pang, CEO of Tencent, says “Leveraging UMG’s resources and our distribution capabilities, we can provide a rich and personalised experience to hundreds of millions of music lovers in China.”
So, will the industry’s recent return to growth prove to be sustainable in 2018? Watch this space…
Top photo: © GettyImages / PeopleImages