According to a recent report published by Goldman Sachs analyst Lisa Yang, the global music industry is set to grow to $41 billion by the year 2030.
It is predicted that the majority of this growth will happen from streaming, which is set to account for approximately $34 billion of total revenues – $28 billion of this expected to be from paid subscription services and $6 billion from ad-supported free streaming services.
Another $4 billion is predicted to come from performance rights, and physical and digital downloads are expected to amount to $700 million.
This is great news for companies such as Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment, both of which continue to make record profits in the music industry. For example, UMG is currently valued at $23.3 billion and it’s only expected to grow in the coming years. By 2030, the company’s revenues are expected to be twice their current level.
In addition to this news, 2016 saw recorded music sales in the United States experience their highest year over year growth in nearly two decades, rising 11.4 percent to $7.65 billion in revenue. This marks significant growth that, when combined with the predictions surround streaming, may create a climate wherein the industry as a whole is as powerful as ever before.
Here’s sort of the problem with that. The entities making that money are corporations. That money is not going back into the artists, arguably, and it’s only serving to corporatize the industry as a whole. The impact that such a large amount of growth could have seems like it could be good for everyone but that’s not necessarily true. A select number of people are going to collect those gains while the vast majority of musicians submitting and publishing recorded music are going to be exploited, more or less.
How this rise in growth impacts the way that music sounds, the ways in which live tours are booked, and paying attention to who breaks through into mainstream culture is going to be interesting to watch.
For independent record labels, independently-owned recording studios, and indie music as a whole may need to seek success elsewhere. There’s already no way to compete with the promotion budgets of these corporate music brands. As they continue to grow in power, the artists who are not already being bought and sold within the corporate system are going to have to depend on their wits and luck to make money.
If you think that trying to make money in the music industry is hard today, a decade from now it will be even tougher. Yes, tech has opened up many opportunities for music placement in TV, film, and media in general. There is more music readily available today than ever before and more people making music than ever before. The competition is high and there’s virtually no way other than luck and smart decision making to cut through all that noise. The more powerful the corporate music industry is, the more creative independent producers are going to have to get to compete and make a living.