In October of 2018, Ei co-produced Mondo.NYC, a music discovery and emerging technology festival dedicated to inspiring, showcasing and supporting musicians. For four days, Mondo.NYC was the epicenter of what’s new in music from both a talent and technology perspective. Read The Creative Crypto’s write up here.
With a predominately fintech background, this was the first direct interaction Ei experienced with the music industry. Here are the key things we learned…
1. The Music Industry is generating revenues!
On the first day, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) presented their update on the state of the music business. During this session, they addressed their Mid-Year 2018 Revenue Report which highlighted the consistently increasing revenues generated in the industry over the last three years. Not surprisingly, the increase is in large part due to the advent of music streaming services and the paid subscription model.
With the innovation of streaming arguably saving the industry, the current state of music presents an interesting scenario related to its future of revenue generation.
75% of the industry’s revenues from 1H 2017 and 1H 2018 came from streaming.
With such a significant dependence on streaming revenues, is this a sign of stability or questionability for the industry?
2. The narrative for the Musician is the same
In the 90s, George Michael likened being a musician to “professional slavery”. How can something like this happen? How could someone as prominent as George Michael use such a severe term? More importantly - 25 years later, with all these technological advances and access to information, things must be different, right?
The past 25 years has seen the industry evolve from records to CDs to Mini-Discs to MP3s to internet radio to today’s streaming & digital subscriptions. When one further dissects this progression, the convenience and price of consuming content has evolved; what hasn’t evolved are the tools to support the most important piece in the process – the content creator!
3. The Industry has an alignment of interests problem
With the 150+ musicians performing at Mondo.NYC, we intimately engaged with up-and-coming content creators and had the opportunity to understand the challenges of “making it” in the industry today. The message was pretty clear: despite all the tools available for musicians to expand their fan base (like social media, for example) and monetize their creative output (streaming & digital subscriptions), the goals and objectives of these platforms are misaligned with those of the musician’s. Is it better than the 90s? Sure. Is the industry where it should be? Absolutely not!
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