A new Golden Age of music

The exponential growth of the digital age, also known as the Web 2.0 era, has, undoubtedly changed every aspect of business behavior. With the global number of internet users now over three billion as of 2014, it is expected that the music industry would also find ways to capitalize on having a web presence. A report titled “The Music Industry in the Web 2.0 Era,” presented to the Copenhagen Business School and available on ReportLinker’s database, demonstrates how the digital world has also changed the music industry.

The music industry has come a long way from reading sheet music. In just a few decades, the industry rapidly progressed from radio to vinyl LP, then to the cassette, the CD and now the digital format. It was not until the digital format era did the illegal downloading of music become a significant problem.  For the first time, the industry fell behind technology and the downfall started with Napster, the music Peer-to-Peer file sharing website that revolutionized modern music listening. Even after countless lawsuits and ultimately a bankruptcy, more music sharing companies still arose.

A new Golden Age of music

It was not until 2001, when Apple introduced the iPod and iTunes music store that the industry started to gain its traction again though still a threat because it encouraged illegal downloading. In 2005, YouTube launched and quickly became the go-to site for music watching and listening. Then, in 2007, Apple released its first iPhone. Music is, again, now on par with technology.

This new technology inspired other start-ups in music streaming services like Spotify where there is no need to download a song because it continuously streams on-demand on the internet. Music is now globalized with access over the internet and becoming a cultural phenomenon, which “meant that producers had to create a model for the production of culture” (pg. 28).

Spotify reports that “40% of individuals between 30 and 64 pirate less when offered the same alternative.”

Music marketing has also significantly changed, where once radio had the most influence on popular culture then MTV, now the internet is the largest medium for marketing music. Music can be marketed in different channels such as YouTube, social media, movie soundtracks and now video game soundtracks. Though the music industry has learned to adapt to modern technology, illegal downloading continued to be a struggle though far less impactful.  Music streaming, like Spotify, became a necessary fix for illegal downloading by making it easier for listeners to access music legally.

Spotify reports that “40% of individuals between 30 and 64 pirate less when offered the same alternative” (pg. 41).  The large part of the anti-piracy fight is the struggle with varying international laws now that music is more global than 50 years ago.  Spotify reported that, when they are introduced into a new country, “illegal downloading for 55% of individuals aged between 18 and 29 when offered a free legal alternative” (pg. 41).

According to a survey produced for this report, 37% of 270 respondents reported illegally downloading music and almost 90% reported having downloaded illegal music at some point.  Seventy-six (76%) of respondents aged 16-30 decreased their illegal downloading.  Sixty-two percent of these respondents reported that the reason for the change in their behavior was due to the use of streaming services instead. Of those who use music streaming services, the majority (57%) used the free version.  If music streaming services were to switch to a paid-only option, 49% reported that they would continue to use the service and 34% reported that they would stop using the service.

It is apparent that the adaptation of technology in the music industry has begun to solve costly issues such as illegal downloading.  It is possible that the industry will see another golden age of music.

How digital service providers can strike a streaming deal


In June, French collecting agency ADAMI released a report on the global market for neighboring rights in collective management, a market the agency believes will grow quickly in the near future.

While the market may be increasing, the rate of royalties from sound recording public performances are very low. ADAMI believes that as more customers stream music, royalties derived from streaming will become a large portion of producers’ and artists’ income.

However, this is not the case in the United States where related rights in collective management are derived only from streaming, making the royalties higher. In the rest of the world, royalties are tied in part to advertising revenue.

Artists and record labels have criticized digital service providers for the tiny royalties paid for streaming. The average royalty is $.006 to $.0084 per play, according to Spotify Artists.

Some big-name artists have pulled their songs from streaming sites in protest. In 2013, Radiohead left Spotify. The band said customers weren’t paying enough to access their albums. The next year, Taylor Swift followed suit.

Streaming sites, meanwhile, are seeking to offer customers a high volume of songs at an inexpensive price.

Streaming Sites Need a Business Strategy

Can the music industry and streaming sites come to a compromise? Business strategies can be implemented that take both parties into account.

Digital service providers could start by stating in their licensing agreement the type of music they want to offer and where. These agreements will be successful as long as the provider understands the music producers’ financial needs.

Then providers can either purchase or negotiate statutory licenses. This is what happened with Merlin, a digital rights agency for indie labels, and several digital service providers. Merlin offers global licensing. It has licenses with Deezer, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spotify, Vevo and YouTube.

Snowite also negotiates licensing deals, but on behalf of the digital service providers.

Statutory licenses, however, aren’t a perfect solution.The licenses do not apply if there has been a direct deal made between the digital service provider and the record producer.

An example of this are the deals struck between recording labels Big Machine and Glassnote and digital service provider Clear Channel.

Licensing varies from region to region as well. In Europe, many streaming services are licensed directly instead of collectively because record labels prefer not to allow third parties to create licenses on their behalf.

An attorney who specializes in music law should be another essential part of a business strategy. The attorney should be able to negotiate licensing deals, advise property strategy, and know the proper person to speak to at record labels.

It’s worth noting that the burden of arranging a compromise does not lie solely on the shoulders of the digital service providers. It is up to the recording artists and their labels to ask for licensing deals and demanding royalty audit rights.

Melina Druga is an American journalist and author. She has written for ReportLinker since 2011.

The Music Universe 2016 Year in Review

The Music Universe 2016 Year in Review

Welcome to the The Music Universe Year in Review. In our inaugural edition, I will recap some of the more highlighted moments from our website and discuss what’s to come in 2017. We appreciate all of our readers because without you, we wouldn’t have achieved record numbers like we did this year. We’ve grown exponentially over the past three (nearly four) years and I really appreciate the love and support!

One of the biggest draws this year was the I Love 90s Tour announcement that had rap fans all over the country freaking out! We’ve had hundreds of comments asking for more details, but we posted only what we had. I had to create a couple of YouTube videos in order to address everyone! I hope those who wanted to see the tour were able to catch it. I’m not a rap fan, but I do know those artists are integral to adults who were kids in the 80s and 90s, like myself.

While we are always looking at bringing you exclusive and new content, it wasn’t until the third quarter of the year when we had some really cool interview opportunities come up. I got to interview Don Brewer, drummer of Grand Funk Railroad, on the phone as they were prepping a performance at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield, CA — about two hours north of Los Angeles. As a drummer myself, it was an honor to interview someone I had listened to so much growing up since my dad is a huge fan! I also got to review the concert and meet the band afterward which was a great experience!

Another super cool experience was meeting Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood in Fresno in September. Not only did I get to meet them at a pre-show press conference, but I also got to interview them one on one! I didn’t expect that when the arrangements were made, but it was an awesome experience that I’ll never forget. Garth and Trisha couldn’t have been more sweeter or welcoming! Garth even interviewed me a bit as he was really interested in my background when we were being introduced. I also sat eighth row to review the concert the same night Trisha announced that Garth earned his seventh Diamond Award. A super awesome thanks to Garth, Trisha and their PR people for welcoming me to the press conference and show! It was truly such an honor!

With the good, obviously comes the bad. Not only did my family have to suffer the sudden loss of my little brother two weeks after the Garth/Trisha concert, but we’ve lost a lot of celebrities this year. 2016 has been one of the worst in celebrity deaths in recent years.

Unfortunately, we started it off with losing David Bowie two days after Blackstar was released in January. Then, it seemed like it went downhill from there losing (in no particular order) Glen Frey of The Eagles, PrinceKeith Emerson and Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Merle Haggard, Juan Gabriel, Paiste cymbal founder Robert Paiste, George Michael and so many more. Most of these deaths surprised everyone as many concealed their health issues from the public while others were just so sudden, not even their family and closest friends expected it! May they all rest in peace!

Looking ahead to 2017

The Music Universe celebrates its fourth birthday/anniversary on January 24th! We are celebrating with a new and much needed site design! The new design is completely responsive so that means you’ll see the content properly on all of your mobile, table and desktop devices! It’s been in the works since mid-2016, but is taking time as I perfect the layout and design. I hope to unveil it sooner than later, but no ETA as of this writing!

In 2016, I also added a few new writers who are working with me to bring some more exclusive interviews with top stars! No hints will be given until they are confirmed, but you can always bet that we’re working consistently to bring you new and exciting content!

Once again, thanks to all of my writers who have helped me shape this site into a music news outlet that shares information fans want to know. Also, thanks again to the readers, who without, the site wouldn’t be what is today and growing! Raise your glasses high this New Year’s Eve and celebrate a New Year of beginnings and blessings!

The Music Industry in 2016

The Music Industry in 2016

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The industry is changing at a rate not seen since the advent of the record. Once, physical sales dominated the industry and now people stream songs and even entire albums. In 2015, revenue from streaming music accounted for 43% of digital sales, according to IFPI. Soon streaming will overtake downloads as the top digital revenue earner globally. The change has already happened in 23 markets.

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Top 5 Must Own Vinyl Albums

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