The music business likes us to believe it lives and breathes new music. That the new music is the adrenalin that makes the wheels of commerce go round and round. It turns out new music in the big scheme of things is mere decoration. A pittance compared to the riches raked in from the old.
More than 80 percent of the recorded music industry revenues come from catalogue sales, and according to the latest stats, ‘old’ music claimed 62 percent of all audio streams and a commanding 74 percent of video streams in the US last year
Yup, old geezers and new geezers with a back catalogue are the sweepstake winners on the charts, at the box-office and practically anywhere else you care to count the top earners in music today—excepting the rap world, hit radio and a reel of advertisers paying scratch to pitch ephemera to hipsters
Such data begs the question: is the record industry’s all-encompassing obsession with breaking new artists a wise response to the realities of the modern music business?
Or should the world’s largest labels, in fact, be dedicating more resources to the music which is empirically generating by far the most money?
It’s a debate that’s very much been on the mind of Hartwig Masuch, CEO of BMG and Music Business Worldwide mines the data to headline the facts.