After almost two decades of piracy and scalping, the music business in 2016 can be considered as “not terrible” at least. There were many artists who intended to push the big scene a bit higher this year. There were many events and artists on the surface, such as Beyonce, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, the return of Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose fronting AC/DC. There were also all the songs you could ever want to stream, available on various streaming services.
It’s not like the good old days with $18 CDs are back again, but the record industry has been constantly growing during the last straight years. It’s the first time since 1999. The Recording Industry Association of America says that music spending grew 8.1 percent in the first half of the year. The event promoters also realized that it’s smart to put the Who, the Stones and other veteran rock superstars on the main stage, they could even make $150 million.
Record labels bring in money
Not so long ago, YouTube announced it paid $1 billion to musicians and record labels in 2016. RIAA says that their revenues jumped from $3.2 billion in 2015 to $3.4 billion in the first half of 2016. Those are all good news, but it’s not quite like the artists are getting rich again thanks to their albums and singles. Earlier this year, the manager of Eagles, Irving Azoff sent an open letter to YouTube, saying: “You have built a business that works really well for you and for Google, but it doesn’t work well for artists.” Azoff is leading a coalition of artists critical of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows YouTube to post any song as long as it takes it down with the artist’s permission. He added: “They’re working harder to get tools to make it easier for you to take stuff down, but I get no sense they’re getting ready to pay anything near what they should pay per user.”
Super-healthy concert business
Pollstar claims that the ticket sales jumped 3.1 percent by mid-year. Live Nation says that record-setting revenues and stars like Adele, Stones, Beyonce, Madonna and Paul McCartney were at its best. Beyonce, Luke Bryan and Coldplay were the ones to fill whole stadiums in 2016. Live Nation president of global talent, David Zedeck says: “It’s just strong. There are bands playing stadiums and multiple arenas already in 2017. We’re coming off a strong year and ’17 is going to be the same way.”
Festivals are bigger than ever
Desert Trip, which included artists such as the Stones, McCartney, Bob Dylan, and The Who, overcame “Oldchella” by the reputation, gaining an estimated $150 million in 2015 in Indio, California. And while some significant festivals had an off-year, Coachella, with its’ 600,000 fans and Lollapalooza, with 400,000 fans, had record crowds.
Album releases grab attention again
Beyoncé published “Lemonade” as a surprise via Tidal and HBO, while Drake had benefits from a multimillion-dollar Apple Music marketing campaign. Kanye West struggled with “The Life of Pablo” for some time before finally turning it into an official release for Tidal release. Rihanna, Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean followed Beyoncé’s “secret” recipe as well.