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The Economics of Streaming: Full Stream Ahead?
June 15 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Venue: Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster
Following on from our Artist Economics of Streaming panel, this think tank will consider streaming’s future as a viable and sustainable distribution model.
This event is for: artists; artist managers; lawyers; record labels; publishers; digital and technology platforms; distributors; economists; business development; financiers
If 2015 and 2016 represented breakthrough years for streaming, 2017 is set to be pivotal.
IFPI’s recent Global Report 2017, confirmed streaming’s success in resurrecting an industry that pre-2015 had endured a prolonged 15-year decline in its recorded music fortunes.
Indeed, the IFPI found that 2016’s 5.9% growth could be put down to the huge uptake in subscription streaming with 112 million paying users now subscribing to services such as Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Tidal and Music Unlimited, whose combined revenue rose by 60% during 2016.
With the BPI similarly confirming in its Recorded Music Market Report 2016 that 45 billion audio streams were served in 2016 – an increase of more than 68% on 2015 – little wonder that subscription streaming services are hailed as having singlehandedly rejuvenated the recorded music business.
But what of the economic model underpinning subscription services, and what lies ahead in a market ripe for further consolidation, not least for Spotify, the current market leader, facing stiff and growing competition from huge corporates with more to sell than merely subscriptions to music?
At a time of increased anticipation about Spotify’s already overdue stockmarket floatation, for how much longer can it juggle an equation that is centred around making an IPO that is attractive to investors at a time it has yet to enter profitability, and facing stiff interest rates by its funders for already having missed at least one IPO deadline (2016).
And then there’s YouTube – by far the biggest platform of them all, largely free to use, and whose reliance on safe harbor disavantages rightsholders’ content licensing negotiations and which pays a disproportionately small amount of revenue back to the industry.
Unsurprisingly, speculation abounds as to when – if ever – music streaming might enter profitability, and, as with the case of Amazon and Tidal in particular, the transparency and integrity of claimed subscriber numbers. As long as the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are able to provide music as a loss leader in order to sell other things – be that iPads, advertising or asparagus – the economic model underpinning music-only subscription services is coming under ever-closer scrutiny.
This event will feature keynote speaker and noted academic, Peter Tschmuck, whose recently published book The Economics of Music questions the profitability and sustainability of streaming and speculates on a near future of further market consolidation synonymous with mergers, acquisitions and probable bankruptcies.
The Economics of Music provides a concise and rigorous presentation of the economics of the music business. It highlights the economic principles that govern a business that is an economic good protected by copyright law. The core sectors of the industry – digital, publishing, recording, live music – are examined and how they operate together through a myriad of licencing arrangements.
The revenue streams for recording companies are analysed alongside the income stream of musicians to show how particular formats and platforms affect profit margins and how live performance now outstrips music sales as the primary source of income for today’s artists.
Published by Agenda Publishing, May 2017, this book is available across multiple formats, here. Event attendees can save 20% by purchasing at this event. MusicTank does not profit from this special offer, which is made courtesy of Agenda Publishing.
Keith Harris - Keith Harris Music Ltd
Peter Tschmuck - University of Music & Performing Arts, Vienna
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