investing in music
September 2nd, 2017
The recorded music industry is finally growing at a healthy pace again after years of decline, mostly thanks to increasing streaming revenue from the more than 112 million (and growing) subscribers in 2016 – a 61% year-over-year increase from 2015. According to IFPI’s Global Music Report, 2016 saw global music revenues increase to $15.7B, a nearly 6% increase over 2015. Just last week, Warner Music Group reported its best quarter (Q2, 2017) in 14 years, with $917 million in revenue and a 59% increase in streaming cash – far more than enough to offset the continuing decline in digital download sales. These increases are starting to gather the attention of investors, and while a lot of focus continues to be placed on technology and digital media companies in the space, more companies, fund managers, and private investors are starting to look at music rights as a relatively stable diverse asset class that is not impacted by swings in the broader asset markets. These ideas are not new: music royalty investing first came to light when Los Angeles financier David Pullman packaged David Bowie’s catalog in bonds backed by the royalty streams and sold it to Prudential. Mr. Bowie raised about $55 million in the deal....
music and cities
June 2nd, 2017
I travel a lot, for both business and pleasure. I’m always struck by how music, and the sheer presence of it, impacts the culture and ethos of a city. Cities like Nashville and London have a rich musical history dating back a century or more. Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Memphis is known as the home of the blues, and the “Detroit sound” was widely celebrated for many years. In some cases, legacy industries and a bit of luck have made certain cities into music and cultural capitals of the world -- but in many cases, it’s built into the brand of the city by a conscious decision.
As I write this, I’m in Nashville, also known as “Music City USA.” I’ve also recently been in LA, Portland, and Houston – and all four cities have airport music installations. While the music in each airport varies, with country in Nashville and classical in Houston, the attempted effect is the same. New York is currently in the midst of New York Music Month, a citywide celebration of New York’s diverse and thriving music sector, offering free concerts, free rehearsal space, and conference focused on urban development and music.
Some cities have seen the value of music and taken aggressive action to build their city’s brand around it....
american culture of participatory music
February 18th, 2017
Over the course of the last 50 years the ways audiences could obtain music has undergone some radical transformations, and even though it has seamlessly become an important component of everyday modern life, the ever-changing commoditization of how we obtain music has undervalued and somewhat blurred its purpose (and abilities). In all cities within the United States, and many others around the world, music is as accessible as whatever we can fit into out front pockets. Yet, the worldwide impact of music is so innately human that its effects remain regarded as a magic beyond explanation. As 2017 pushes forward, the technologies surrounding the ecosystem of music are starting to take exciting new forms. Advances in AR, VR, interactive concerts, musical equipment, and so much more reveal the potential of a new ear for music in American pop culture with participatory music as its forerunning catalyst.
A phenomenal in-depth book called Music as Social Life, by Tim Turino, dives into many of the different social aspects of music around the globe, and defines...
it's time to stop and look up
January 27th, 2017
In September of last year, the city of Reykjavik agreed that they would shut down their street lights, as well as encourage its residents to turn off their own lights, so that they would have the opportunity to view the northern lights without the light pollution that typically prohibits the city dwellers from experiencing them in all of their glory.
It is an amazing example of how a collective group of people had come to the conclusion, and then formerly decided as a city, that sharing a moment of beauty was more important than keepings the lights on to carry on with normal life. It became the event of the evening, a spectacle, and something that most of its residents were very much looking forward to. In Icelandic culture, nature plays a huge role as a key contributor to overall quality of life. Residents are extremely and the natural beauty of the landscape, and it often serves as the inspiration for much of the music and art that comes out of this small country. Rather than simply acclimating to this natural phenomenon and taking it for granted as something that plays out in the background, they continue to celebrate these moments and push them to the forefront as the event of the evening. These are the moments that I am searching to find, as well as create, as we continue to move forward at such a frenetic pace that we often don't stop long enough to 'look up' in order to experience something so beautiful and life-changing. For most of my life, music has been this spectacle...
the world is full of changes
December 11th, 2016
2017 is upon us, and the world is full of changes. Some people argue that we are on the cusp of the greatest changes to the world since the industrial revolution, with AR/VR, autonomous cars, blockchain, drone taxi and delivery, robots, connected devices, ubiquitous knowledge all rapidly coming our way. Drones are one of this year’s hottest Christmas gifts, and 3D printers continue to evolve.
Creativity is changing quickly too. The ability to connect between fans and musicians (and other artists) has been opened widely in the past fifteen years via the Internet. The ability to communicate and create in real-time from around the world will change the process fundamentally. Machine learning is seeing computers create music on their own – think of the impact of that alone on copyright – can a computer infringe on your music?!?
Music and the body are also coming closer together, with the ability to create music by a move of your hand (or foot, or arm). The experience has also become more visual, and will continue with the impact of virtual reality on live performances. Will there be a reason to leave your house to see a live show? How will all of these tools evolve?
At Thought5 we believe that the best is in front of us, if we know where to look and how to implement. Let’s keep searching for that bright, creative future; something we’re doing already through our work on visual creation, blockchain, and artist business modeling.