Increasing revenues, great legal fights, and major technological trends in music listening are all set to make their mark on 2018… and the year’s only just begun!

$1.05 billion – are the total revenues reported by Warner Music Group for the fourth quarter of 2017 (the company’s first fiscal quarter for 2018). This means its revenues were up 14% from a year earlier, with digital revenues making up $533 million or 51% of the quarter’s total. “This marks the first time in over 10 years that our quarterly revenue has exceeded a billion dollars,” according to EVP and CFO Eric Levin. The company is attributing much of its newly-returned financial success to increases in streamed music revenues.

43.8% is the biggest royalty rate increase granted to songwriters in Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) history, and it was made reality on January 27, 2018. That rate will cover the years from 2018 to 2022. The new, increased rate has come about from a court trial that took place from March to June of 2017, when the National Music Publishers Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) went up against tech companies that stream and sell downloads of digital music including Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Apple.

20+ organisations representing nearly all aspects of the music industry, from labels’ interests to artists’ rights, together have endorsed three crucial pieces of legislation which are, at this writing, wending their way through the US Congress. These are known as the Music Modernization Act, the CLASSICS Act, and the AMP Act. Included among the organisations are The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

56.3 million shipments of smart speakers are anticipated in 2018. Smart speaker technology is poised for accelerated adoption in the consumer market. Of those units, 38.4 million are expected to be shipped to addresses in the US alone. The US is expected to remain the number one market, by far, through 2020.  “Consumer acceptance of the smart speaker has been positive overall, despite a few shortcomings,” according to Canalys Analyst Vincent Thielke.

39 million people in the US already own or use at least one smart speaker, at least according to estimates from research conducted by Edison Research and US National Public Radio. Among those surveyed, Amazon’s Alexa reigned supreme in market share with 11 percent. Google Home was a distant second at four percent. When spending time with friends and family, 60% of users make finding and playing music their speakers’ number one priority.


Top photo: © wundervisuals / Getty Images

About Author

Brant David McLaughlin has been a professional writer since 2005. At the behest of best-selling author Gina Smith, he began writing long-form journalism in January, 2014. He lives in the rustic town of Milford, New Jersey.

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