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Latest trends of the music business in 2021 - WR #97
Weekly Roundups
December 24, 2021

Latest trends of the music business in 2021 - WR #97

Here we are, meeting for the last Weekly Roundup of 2021! I am glad to take a moment and talk a bit about the main trends that surfaced during the week and reflect on how the year went. Let’s dive in!

#1. Illustrating the 2021 music business

Well since it’s our last hurrah of 2021, let’s embrace the obvious. MIDiA Research went ahead and took 2 pieces of news to show the spectrum on which money is flowing in the music industry.

Looking at the fact that Bruce Springsteen sold his catalog to Sony Music for an amount around $500 million, it shows how the investments are going towards safer bets. I mean it’s a pretty good assumption that Bruce Springsteen will keep generating royalties one way or another.

But, there are also a lot of investments in new solutions, mainly in the field of creation. To illustrate this part, consider BandLab’s fundraising of $53 million (with a valuation a bit up from $300 million). This is a very new project, a bet on the future rather than a “sure thing”. So here you have it: both strategies are happening, it’s up to you to make up your mind.

#2. How is the NFT acceptance going?

It would have been difficult to talk about the latest trends without talking about these. It’s been quite the week actually regarding NFT. Instagram announced working towards including them more and more on the platform to increase accessibility. Just as Shopify has added the ability to sell NFT though their own platform. But, for some other parts, like artists and creators, it’s not going as well as it would have us think. Consider what Brian Eno said in one of his latest interview: for it is mainly “hustlers looking for suckers”. As we mentioned in one of our latest articles, Blockchain is still at the very beginning and has already been the place of scams. So what conclusion should we draw from that?

Maybe the hype was all it was: hype. Creating value around a creation is not really new; you'll see a parallel made in this article between signed records and an NFT. It doesn’t change the model and will probably see a normalization arrive pretty quickly. 

#3. What will happen to the music rights business in 2022?

Staying on the valuation of creations for a bit, we’ve had news from the major funds investing in music lately. On the Primary Wave front, this year has been prolific by acquiring catalogs of Prince, Chris Isaak, or James Brown among others. After the impressive raising of funds, Primary Wave now has around $1 billion to spend on catalogs to grow their “House of Legends”. And they’re moving fast.

On another front, Hipgnosis is opting for a pause. To quote Hipgnosis report: “the Company does not intend to offer further shares for cash consideration until after publication of the net asset value per share as at 31 March 2022”. For now the team is looking to curate and work on their current well-furnished catalog.

#4. Merlin is extending its licensing agreement to 47 countries

The global digital rights agency for independent labels Merlin is extending its licensing agreement with the music streaming platform Boomplay operating in Africa. This is news that is following another agreement from the platform with Universal Music Group.

But it’s also good news because, as you may know, Merlin digital statements are compatible with our feature Royalties Manager. So if you’re using our royalty accounting software, it may be helpful!

#5. How does Spotify use data?

To wrap up, let’s enjoy a bit of insight on Spotify’s actions when it comes to data. Using their data to understand a bit more how the listeners behave on your artists? Looking to know if the high quality audio is helping or not? Digital Music News went in depth regarding the data Spotify uses.

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