How Changing Consumer Habits and Technology Amassed Music Into A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Are We Taking On a New Culture?

Now a global multi-billion dollar industry, the art and culture of music is a universal language spoken in lives everywhere. Avenues which contribute to this massive account include independent and major record labels, publishing, increasing distribution channels, merchandise, artist collaborations, social media, digital/subscription/streaming platforms, and host of other industry related activities. It was in 2015/2016 when digital music really set out for a market takeover. Engagement of over 70% of consumers listening to music on streaming platforms have significantly shifted the market as digital streaming sales alone are expected to generate sales of over $5B in the U.S. by 2021. In addition to streaming models, online radio has joined the ranks with leading players Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple, and Pandora providing 24/7 access to music and other media alike. According to a recent report by Nielsen Music, trends indicate Americans spend average of over 30 hours a week listening to music and various media online. By the year 2021 overall revenues are estimated to reach nearly $23B in the U.S. alone.

Having finally gained respect, hip-hop was once said to be a bunch of noise, it was a major contributor to crime, and that it simply wouldn’t last. It was ignored. Well, over the years its influence and genre-dominance of the culture alone brings in well over $10B each and every year. With a customer base and market encompassing all races and nationalities, Hip-hop as a unit has transformed the lives of millions across the globe. At nearly every scale we witness a number of industries steadily accepting artists and other industry-related lovers to carve out entirely new lifestyles and flourishing empires on existing platforms thus building brands and moguls that otherwise may not have had the same success if lead by traditional thinkers.

Outgrown its own roots of only local gatherings and selling music out of car trunks, the genre consistently hits new milestones spanning into television (including Reality TV) & film, record labels, entertainment companies, merchandise and apparel, touring (national and international), countless collaborations, stage plays, sports endorsements, other product endorsements (food/alcohol/water), gaming, real estate, clubs/nightclubs, education, books, public trade/investments, online streaming and social media takeovers, talk radio including podcasts, proudly and widely accepted by America’s first Black President Barack Obama, and more. While the list can go on and on, the idea is these artists are smart. They are visionaries…extremely involved in every aspect of their business ventures, they know and value customer-loyalty and fans, and they understand the value of diversification/multiple streams of income.

Ever-changing consumer demands have drastically changed the way we consume music. Taking full advantage while absorbing the most consumption, not counting album sales, out of all the artists in the U.S. it is Post Malone and Drake holding steady with the most streams, over 3 billion…each! Such formats and other advancing technologies have not only broadened but influenced immediate access thus developing even greater needs for instant lifestyles and speed. On a global scale, the recorded music market makes up more 50% of digital revenues which does not include the nearly 200 million paid subscribers. Some evidence of this growth is due to record labels investing more in artists, effective development in the industry, and technology offering fans access to their favorite artists and music with ease.

The digital market has presented and opened the industry up to even greater grab at wealth. According to a 2017 analysis of Goldman Sachs, the overall music industry is expected to be worth $41B by 2030 while during that same time revenue just from online streaming is projected to be at $34B. “Streaming is a massive game-changer for the recorded music industry…it establishes a much more sustainable business model for the labels” states Lisa Yang, Executive Director, Goldman Sachs. Audiences are increasingly adopting new methods for consuming music. For example, of the $34B prediction…on streaming alone, paid subscription is expected to bring in $28B with another $6B forecasted as the result of ad-supported streaming. These shifts have essentially forced the industry to adapt which has proved successful.

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About Kalandra Robinson 7 Articles
Bay Area native and Business graduate of John F. Kennedy University, Kalandra Robinson enjoys research, writing, and discussions concerning business, entrepreneurship, filmmaking, music, and more. Interests in filmmaking include Robinson currently writing her first short film.

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