Imperium Group’s CEO Shazir Mucklai Chats with Milan Ackerman On The Growth Of The Music Industry

Barring a major surprise, 2019 will have been the fifth straight year of growth for the global recorded music industry. Over those five years, its annual revenues have grown from $14.2bn to $19.1bn, taking it almost back to its 2004 level. If 2019 matched 2018’s 9.7% growth, we could be talking about $21bn last year.

Milan Ackerman shares that the indications are good, from the quarterly figures published last year by the major labels, to the RIAA’s mid-year stats showing 16% growth for the US recorded music market, via record-setting revenues for collecting societies and steady subscriber growth for the big, global streaming services.

Ackerman started his career in the event production side of the industry and  also had a passion for discovering new music and artists that were trending.

In 2014, Ackerman discovered Russ on SoundCloud and started building a friendship and working relationship with him. Since then Milan has been able to create one of the most successful independent management companies in music. Milan truly understands the value of digital marketing and applies new school techniques to his traditional management style.

We’re still a way off the revenues that the industry was recording in the peak-CD pre-Napster era, but Goldman Sachs is predicting that streaming alone will be worth $37.2bn a year to the industry by 2030, while Midia Research reckons consumer-spending on streaming (as opposed to trade revenues) could reach $45.3bn by 2026.

Ackerman says, “One of 2019’s most positive trends were the figures coming out of markets that were either slow to benefit from the streaming upswing, or those that have experienced bumps along the way.”

Finally, Ackerman shared this with us: 

Another challenge posed by impressive growth at the industry level comes when some people within that value chain feel hard done by: that they’re not getting their fair share of this tasty new streaming pie.

You can see this in the always-simmering debate about whether recordings get too big a share of the pie, and songs (compositions) get too little. Labels versus publishers feels like a battle that’s ready to break out again, fuelled by those booming industry totals and major-label revenues. DSPs are, unsurprisingly, keen not to have to pick a side.

Another mismatch comes when the strong growth for the industry and key rightsholders rub up against the financial worries of individual artists and songwriters. Streaming’s scale is such that it can make a new artist very rich, very quickly, but creators lower down the popularity charts may have different feelings as they look at their royalty cheques.

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