INTL: Media swings behind BMG's view of the music business



For years BMG has argued that the music industry’s obsession with new music is disproportionate in the streaming age when music by proven and established artists now generates the vast majority of revenue.

It’s a view which has been widely disregarded in the established industry, given the strong incentives placed on “breaking” new artists.

But a growing number of media commentators are beginning to agree with the BMG analysis.

Ted Gioia’s The Honest Broker Substack first hit the headlines this year with his piece later published by The Atlantic asking Is Old Music Killing New Music? where he highlighted the huge and growing share of streaming taken by catalogue recordings.

Warming to his theme, he has now posted a new story, Record Labels Dig Their Own Grave. And the Shovel is Called TikTok. in which he explores the growing trend of labels discovering new tracks on the social media platform. The problem, he says, is that TikTok clips demonstrate their appeal by the volume of traffic they generate, but the more traffic they have, the less leverage they have in negotiations with any label.

“Record labels are digging their own grave,” he writes. “They finally have achieved their dream—which is to make money while doing as little work as possible. But the end result is a world in which they add so little value that no successful musician will want them any longer.”

Meanwhile, the success of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’, the most streamed track in the world this week, 37 years after its release, has had commentators considering the relevance of newer rather than older repertoire.

UK blogger and founder of respected UK music website Drowned In Sound, Sean Adams, wrote on Twitter, “Kate Bush’s success is a reminder of the “new music” fallacy. People are more interested in great music that is new to them than new acts and this week’s best new releases. Greatness never gets old. Theory: An obsession with “new music” has damaged our industry more than piracy.”

Music Business Worldwide’s Tim Ingham further explored the Bush phenomenon with a piece examining why she was not listed as Number One on the Official UK Singles Chart even though ‘Running Up That Hill’ was clearly the country’s biggest record. Revealing that she was the victim of an obscure Official Charts ruling which penalizes older repertoire, he wrote, “This is arguably symptomatic of a wider problem: a record industry whose all-consuming obsession with new and youthful artists hasn’t yet quite been fully re-calibrated for catalog’s power in the streaming age.”

BMG spokesperson Steve Redmond said, “From artist’s demands for fairness to the growing importance of catalogue to the significance of investment funds acquiring music rights, BMG has consistently made the right call on every major structural change which has taken place in the music industry since the advent of streaming. It is fascinating to see the media increasingly reaching the same conclusion as us, that the music industry consistently overestimates the public’s appetite for new music.”

Source BMG

June 17, 2022 12:00am ET by Pressparty  

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