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Adjust Your Strategy According to the Latest Global Trends

ifpi_digitalmusicAs music continues to shape and color my daily life, what I’m most impressed with is the music industry’s ability to take on the changes and challenges that come its way head on. It makes me proud to work in music, and seeing the innovation and determination that have spawned from the incessant industry developments (and the knowledge at the same time that new developments and twists inevitably lie ahead) inspires me in ways beyond just my professional life.

In that vein, it’s important to look back and review the events of the past year, so there’s always a great buzz in the air when the IFPI Digital Music Report makes its appearance towards the end of Q1 each year. This year’s report is, as always, chock-full of great information, including stats and figures paired with special reports to contextualize the numbers. After combing through it with my orange highlighter, here are the key takeaways of the state of digital music in 2013.


Overall recorded music revenues grew in Europe and Latin America, stabilized in the United States and experienced a sharp 16.7% decline in Japan, bringing global revenues down 3.9% to an estimated US$15 billion.

Not including Japan, global music revenues were only down 0.1%.

Digital revenues worldwide grew by 4.3% in 2013 to US$5.9 billion.

Digital now accounts for 39% of total industry global revenues.

Revenues from music subscription services grew by 51.3%, exceeding US$1 billion:

  • Subscription and ad-supported streaming services now account for 27% of global digital revenues
  • The number of paying subscribers to subscription services increased by 40% to 28 million
  • Revenues from ad-supported streaming services increased by 17.6%, with a large focus on music videos

Digital downloads experienced a slight decline of 2.1%:

  • Still a key revenue stream, downloads account for 67% of global digital revenues
  • The album format is still coveted, and digital album sales remain on an upward curve

Performance rights income more than doubled in 2013, reaching US$1.1 billion globally, an estimated 19% rise. Our Collections services can help you tap into some of that. If you’re interested in signing up, reach out to your client rep!

Synchronization income declined by 3.4%, now accounting for 2.1% of total industry revenue. Our dedicated Sync Licensing team is constantly on the lookout for great opportunities, and we’d love to include more of your music in our pitches to supervisors. Interested? Let your client rep know.

While still on the decline, physical music sales continue to keep a majority share in many major markets, accounting for 51.4% of all global revenues (down from 56.1% in 2012).

Vinyl sales, though still niche, have increased substantially in the US (up 32% in 2013) and in the UK (up 101%!). Record Store Day‘s around the corner, people!

While the industry did experience some decline, it’s encouraging to see digital revenues growing overall, with streaming continuing to establish itself as a viable source of income. The report dives deeper into the impressive growth of the Scandinavian markets, all a few years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of streaming. It’s worth a read, particularly the special report on Sweden, a country which grew from US$144.8 million to US$194.2 million in just three years, with an increased share of digital going from 8% to a whopping 70%, of which subscription services account for 94%. Whew!

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So Much Music… Have We All Blown Our Attention Spans?

January 10, 2013 Industry Trends 1 Comment

jude not listeningFirstly, I would like to “publish” a short essay that recently struck a chord with me. It was written by my brother Emmanuel Rizzi, a contributor to Cornell University’s The Diplomacist blog.

Here goes:

Why the Music-Artist envies the Literature-Artist

What luck has the Literature-Artist to have an individual spectatorship! The form of literature precludes reading en masse – it is an isolating form that requires the undistracted focus of its reader. It thus takes for granted the reader’s attention and is delivered to the reader’s most vulnerable state. Though the average reader may certainly not be attuned to the author’s subtleties of artistry, he is nonetheless reached at his most vulnerable, his most open — the medium gets the best out of each reader.

What difference with music! The free-flowing, amorphous and drifting form of the medium means that it may — and usually is (prior to 20th century advent of recording, must) — be heard and experienced en masse; the form imposes no barrier: it will reach the enlightened listener as readily as the benighted one. In fact, it has a tendency to often reach the unwilling listener! Music requires no singular focus of the listener, who is free to attend to any and all mental or physical activities while hearing the music. It is the rare listener who makes himself vulnerable — for this reason the medium seldom gets the best out of each listener.

It is serious music’s curse (but the blessing of popular music).

In my mind, Emmanuel’s words ring oh so true. It would be hard, even foolish, to argue otherwise. The appreciation of music has always depended on a reliable attention span, one that is being challenged more than ever in today’s musical landscape.

As of late, I seem to have hit a crisis… I am listening to less and less music, sometimes none at all for weeks at a time. I am inspired by less and less music, and when a song does get my attention, it is rarely for its whole duration. How can this be? I have always had a voracious appetite for music discovery, a boundless open mind for all sounds regardless of genre, and an enthusiasm for active listening rarely matched by my peers. Could this be the “old” me?

Music is now more readily available, more accessible, more plentiful, and on top of that, cheaper than it has ever been. Recording and self-releasing music have greatly profited from the advent of modern technology making it easier than ever to get one’s music “out there.” So why is it I am struggling so much to feel enthusiastic about music today? Could it be that my precious attention span has been eroded by an over-saturation of music? Am I suffering from option anxiety? Perhaps.

Music is everywhere. It’s stored on my phone. It’s on Spotify on my phone. It’s on YouTube on my phone. It’s on Shazam on my phone. It’s on Deezer on my phone. Between all of them I can listen to pretty much every single piece of music I ever want to, and at any given time. And I can connect this to various sound systems wherever I may be, at home, in the office, in my studio… but the sad thing is, I don’t. And I blame the mass availability of music for the sad state of affairs that my music appreciation has become.

I am not going to go on about how the rise of digital has killed off the culture behind owning a physical piece of music and the pleasures associated with it. Too much has already been said on the topic, and in fact I am not one to dwell on the past. The decline of physical as the leading format has always just been a matter of time. The future is now here, technology and hence the music business continue to evolve, and I am happy to be an active part of these changes, both as an artist and as a professional within the industry. But going back to Emmanuel’s essay — there are very few filters left. We get bombarded by an onslaught of music left and right on a daily basis and picking and choosing (i.e. focusing) has become increasingly difficult. Not to mention the competition created by our daily lives’ distractions. Our attention spans have spun out of control. Too much information, too little time.

As is rather clear, this has taken its toll on me personally. I haven’t dealt with it as well as some. But I remain optimistic. The music world is in a constant state of flux and I am sure that my listening habits of old will come back, somehow some way, either through further changes in our industry or perhaps through some further adaptation on my part. Either way, I am excited to find out.

Ladies and Gents, iTunes 11 Has Arrived

November 30, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

iTunes 11 is here! With a complete redesign of both the iTunes player and the iTunes store, we wanted to point out some great new features that you can use to optimize your listening and shopping experience.

First, let’s start with the player itself. You will notice when you first open iTunes 11 that there is no longer a sidebar, which has been replaced with either more browsing space on an album level or has been turned into a browse by artist/genre area. Now — if you weren’t quite ready to give up that sidebar, DO NOT FRET! You can still access it by clicking on the “View” drop-down and selecting “Show Sidebar.”

A few more big changes you will notice with the player are focused around the album view. Apple’s new album artwork layout offers a great way to quickly browse through your albums while still being able to enjoy all of your colorful album artwork. When clicking on any album, an ‘expanded view’ will appear. Not only does this expanded view show you the tracks of that specific album, but if you click the ‘In the Store’ button on the upper-right corner it will also show you Top Songs, Top Albums, and Recommended Songs [from other artists], all of which you can purchase right from your music library. How’s that for some intuitive up-sell!

Gone are the days of the unknown queue when using iTunes ‘Up Next’ feature. This functionality allows you to access a full list of upcoming and previously played tracks by clicking this button  in the Now Playing window. You can also click the arrow button next to any track and either place the track at the front of your queue by selecting ‘Play Next,’ or simply add it to your queue by selecting ‘Add to Up Next.’

Check out the new design of the Mini Player by clicking the button on the upper-right of your player. You will notice that the player is much sleeker in design, only displaying the track name, artist name, and album artwork. Hover your mouse for Play/Pause, Forward, Back, and Volume Control. And notice that you can now also access ‘Up Next’ and search your library right from the Mini Player.

There have also been some big changes to the iTunes Store. Toggle from your iTunes Library to the store by clicking the ‘iTunes Store’ button on the upper-right of your player. This will take you to a fresh new redesign with bigger showcases, sliding bricks and all around bigger album artwork.

One functionality that iTunes has added to the store is each artist now has a dedicated page. This will contain a Collection page, which showcases all of that artist’s Albums, Songs, Music Videos and Movies along with other artists that listeners have bought. The Artist Info section allows you to browse through the artist’s biography, influencers, followers and contemporaries. Some artists also have a Gallery option, which allow you to view a variety of high-resolution photos from their career.

All of these features make for a robust new store and player. I am sure there is more in store for iTunes in 2013. What do you surmise is coming?

Check out the Apple website for a demo video and more information on these new features.

Innovative Ideas Draw Hope for Digital Music Industry

german apps ondango song2see musicplayrIt’s no news that to a large extent, digital music has hurt the industry. Free downloads instead of buying CD have generated declining revenues for labels over the past 15 years. Yet in the meantime, online music has become a booming business – and there is no shortage of ideas…

There is light on the horizon for the music industry – digital light. Since MP3 files were introduced in the market, people have jumped on the opportunity to get free music from Internet piracy sites. Now, (legal) online music is experiencing a boom, which is compensating for the drop in CD sales. Of course, Internet technology plays an increasingly important role.

The drivers of innovation are not record companies or publishers, they are online companies with innovative ideas. As an example, I have selected 4 German companies with a great business model:

  • revolutionizes the way people listen to and discover music. Integrating different sources from all over the Internet allows users to “play and share their loved music” from a single platform.
  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology is focusing in Songs2See. With Songs2See, learning an instrument is like child’s play. The software takes the concept of music video games to the next level. It uses real musical instruments instead of video game controllers. Users can choose any song title from their own music collection, use the software to create training material and practice with their own instrument.
  • Ondango is a beautifully designed shopping system that helps you sell your products on your Facebook page, by leveraging Facebook’s viral features. You can sell your music, food or just about any product you like. Having a shop on Facebook is new to many people.
  • Pipe is a new way for friends to transfer digital files simply and directly — and in realtime. You can create as any kind of pipelines, the user can exchange files with, whether music, photos, text or graphics.

There are many more start-ups preparing to make their way into the industry, and not only in Germany! So music owners can look forward to a bright and innovative future.

Rdio Gets a Makeover

March 20, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

rdio gets a makeoverAmong the cornucopia (yes, I just made a Hunger Games reference) of announcements made at SXSW was one by the streaming platform Rdio. What it unveiled was a completely new design by Wilson Miner that promises a faster, simpler and more social listening experience.

Not that Rdio wasn’t awesome already… Free to use and easy to share with friends, the digital music service is one of the best streaming services out there right now. Not only does Rdio think as a consumer (no ads, embeddable playlists, ease of discovery), it also listens to what they want. That’s what this slew of changes is all about: getting the listener what it asked for.

Here’s what you’ll find in the new and improved version:

  • A new look and feel — More than just a boring spreadsheet of songs, new Rdio puts music and people front and center.
  • All in one place — Spend less time navigating. Music, playlists and your network are in one view.
  • Add entire albums to playlists — One of Rdio’s most-requested features is now a reality.
  • Browse even faster — Find music at lightning speed because pages remember your place. Browse a continuous stream of albums, explore one and easily return to the place you left off.
  • Listen with your network — From the People Sidebar, see what your network is listening to in real-time and listen along with one-click.
  • Let your network inspire your listening — Wondering if you’ll like an album in the charts or why it appeared in your Heavy Rotation? Under every album, hover over photos to see exactly who listened to it.
  • Sharing made simple — Drag and drop music into playlists or collection and share with others on Rdio without missing a beat. Music can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or via email.
  • Create private playlists – In addition to public and collaborative playlists, now private playlists can be created and shared with just a select few.
  • Easily discover people to follow — Check out Rdio’s latest music influencers in the People Sidebar and find others to follow such as artists, critics, record labels and brands.

As of last week, the new Rdio is available to all subscribers and is currently available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal and Denmark. If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll have to wait a few more weeks – or get a subscription if you want to skip the line! For more info, check out Rdio’s press release or watch the snazzy preview below:

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