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Music publishing landscape after lockdown
August 12, 2020

Music publishing landscape after lockdown

When it comes to how the world is going to emerge from the spread of coronavirus, everybody knows it’s a guessing game. That being said, the music publishing industry has continued to see significant changes; the whole music industry landscape is evolving.

Which forces the question: which trends will be the most important in the coming months and years? Which strategies will be essential going forwards? This week, we’ll take a look at some emerging trends in music publishing, and what to expect after lockdown.

Music publishing professionals and livestream shows

As everyone in the music industry is trying to wrap their heads around the changes happening today, we still have to figure out what live performances will look like in the future. One of the main trends to keep in mind is that music fans are eager to attend concerts again - at a safe social distance.

Making the most of how the world is changing also provides an interesting challenge for music publishing. From live shows streamed online to virtual venues, there’s going to need to be a new way to process licensing and royalties.

For virtual livestream tours to take off in the long-term, it’s going to be essential to assess the legal and financial viability for all concerned. Reprtoir can assist in making sure that record labels and publishers can effectively manage their catalogs and metadata, making the process of royalties and rights management easier. In that end, here is our tool to help: Catalog Management Solution. This is a straightforward platform that helps music teams to manage sound recordings metadata, contributors, rights holders, royalty splits, and more.

As livestream becomes a important part of the music business scene going forward, it’s going to be essential for actors in the music business to keep a close eye on their data.

Adapting to music publishing trends

Since the start of lockdown, online streaming has seen a decrease in the number of streams but an increase in paid subscriptions. Amid COVID-19, Spotify hit a new high of 130 million subscribers, and is continuing to grow. A focus on streaming platforms means that it’s essential that all information and data should be up to date to ensure that the right information is in place.

Meanwhile, Spotify is shifting more towards becoming a multimedia company, focusing on podcasts and advertising opportunities. This innovation in interactive ads in Spotify is presenting a new opportunity for users of the streaming service.

This focus on streaming has also begun to change the listening habits of the audience. In some ways, this has represented new ways of audiences engaging with music. Rather than the peaks at the start and end of the day that typically indicated commuting to and from work and the gym, most days look just like Sundays - a steady stream of listening.

How people listen has also been adjusted. The integration of music streaming on home devices is becoming an essential part of the listening process, as people look for their smart homes to do more of the work for them (rather than relying on individual apps.)

Rather than focusing on one specific album, listeners are now more interested in exploring broader genre playlists, listening to “sad bangers”. The pace and tempo of the top-rated songs listened to during lockdown have been faster and more upbeat. Alongside the increase of upbeat pop, users also seem to be more interested in exploring back catalog music. Catalog music—songs more than 18 months old—have been on an upward trajectory as people turn to familiar music for comfort.

Changes in the music publishing landscape

In the world of music publishing, there is also some changes on the horizon. Alongside some major acquisitions, Downtown Music Publishing is going to have a change of leadership from September 1st.

British exec Mike Smith will take over the Global President role from September 1st. The 2016 MBW A&R Sir George Martin Award winner moves from Warner Chappell Music in London, where he was responsible for signing Liam Gallagher, Dave, Celeste, and Foals.

In an interview with Music Business Worldwide, Smith mentioned some of his interest and focus in his new role.

There’s two key areas: acquisition in terms of new talent, but also in terms of catalogs and, potentially, publishing companies. I remember conversations five years ago when people were saying, ‘All of the big publishing company [acquisition] opportunities have been and gone.’ Well, publishing continues to be one of one of the most dramatic areas of the music industry [in terms of M&A]. There’s always new artists coming through, and always new catalog [becoming available] to acquire.

With these new changes on the horizon, the future of the music industry looks like it’s going to be an interesting place. 

The truth of life post-coronavirus is that nothing may be the same again - which isn’t always going to be bleak. It’s also an excellent opportunity to show how the music publishing industry can better itself, and come out stronger on the other side. On our end, at Reprtoir, we are fully aware of the challenges we will have to face towards the end of the year. Reach out to us if we can help you in any way to get your business growing!

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