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The economics of the music industry have completely changed in recent years as sales of physical copies and online downloads have changed to online viewing websites and streaming subscriptions through companies such as Spotify and Pandora. The music industry is clearly rising, as in the first half of 2017, music industry revenues have reached four billion dollars, compared to the midway point in 2015 with revenue of three billion dollars.  Subscriptions to online streaming websites are accounting for an increasing percentage of total music industry proceeds. Returns from subscriptions to companies such as Spotify or Apple Music have increased by sixty-one percent from 2016, and American subscribers to streaming music sites now equal thirty million people.  

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In the last blog of the leisure industry series, we take a look at the changing music industry.

In previous blog posts, we have analyzed the state of the global music industry, noting the dominance of streaming services as the default method for popular music consumption. As rates from digital and physical music sales remain in decline, revenues from streaming services have risen sharply: worldwide streaming revenues hit a new high of $5.4 billion in 2016. Major services based in various countries—Spotify from Sweden, TIDAL from the Norwegian company Aspiro, Apple Music from the United States, Deezer from France—have seen massive increases in their paid subscriptions, with further growth projected for the next few years. Countries with large music markets, like China, India, and Mexico, have provided large markets of subscribers and listeners. The effects of streaming have played a substantial role in the development of the global music industry—by the end of last year, the industry had accrued revenues of $16.1 billion, reaching its highest rate of growth (5.9%) in 15 years. 

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Throughout the past ten years, the music industry has increasingly embraced digital media formats for music distribution. The adaptability of business models to the digital format, however, has been volatile at best. When methods of distribution for music were primarily physical—vinyls, tapes, and CDs—record labels had more control over their product and how it would be consumed by the masses. As the music industry becomes more decentralized and more streaming services are popping up, a power struggle is occurring between record and indie labels, recording artists, and consumers over the value of music in this day and age.

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With the recent December announcement of music streaming service Spotify launching a free and ad-supported version for mobile device users, it is inevitable that the music industry will begin to see some changes in the near future. In recent years, the revenue accumulated from the purchase of physical music albums has decreased rapidly, but its competitor of digital downloads is also being impacted negatively with the rising popularity of music streaming. As a consequence of this, US digital track sales decreased for the first time ever last year.

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Since 1999, the music industry has experienced years of decline and for those who care about the industry, the past decade has been nothing short of a nightmare. With piracy increasing and record sales diminishing, many were worried that the music industry would never recover. However, recent reports from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shed rays of hope for the music industry. According to these reports, for the first time in 14 years, the global music industry experienced slight growth in trade revenues—increasing by 0.2 percent in 2012. Perhaps better news is that revenues are on pace to grow yet again this year in 2013. Could this signal that the global music industry has finally turned the corner and is poised to experience a new day & age of growth and profits?

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When looking at the composition of the world over the past years, it is not hard to see that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. If you look at a basic product, it is more than likely that the product you are looking at is made from components in various parts of the world. This increasing economic integration called globalization is having profound effects on many countries. Advances in transportation and telecommunications, including the rise of the Internet, are major factors contributing to globalization that have generated further economic interdependence and universal cultural activities. However, these are certainly not the only factors contributing to globalization. Today, I will show you how the entertainment industry has been a major driver of globalization.

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It can be argued that there is nothing more universal in the world than music. Music has brought people and cultures together from the beginning of time. To many people and cultures, music is an important part of life—an art form that enhances life’s appeal. Today, music is not only an art but also an extremely important industry in the global economy. Just as globalization and technology have changed the course of many other industries in the world, these two factors have both dramatically transformed the music industry for better or for worse. Consumers, artists, retailers, record labels, and businesses have all been affected by these changes. Now the question is: “Has globalization created a sustainable shift in the music industry and how have these changes affected the art of music?”

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When taking a company, product, or service internationally one has to take into consideration the variability of laws they will encounter. This tends to be quite the process, and a very complex one at that. Few may be more complex (and more of a hindrance) to business expansion than copyright law, specifically when it comes to the music industry. This makes for a wide array of complications that music empires have to deal with and has even derailed some.

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In France, those that have grown accustomed to downloading free, illegal music and videos from the internet have found themselves facing stricter government warnings and fines. Since the inception of the 2009 HADOPI law, which promotes the distribution and protection of creative works on the internet, French officials have noticed a sharp decline in illegal file-sharing. The three-warning system, which by the end of 2011 had sent out 822,00 warning e-mails, 68,000 second warnings, and 165 cases where offenders have been fined around $2,000 (USD), has had an immense impact on the music and film industries in France. Following the implementation of the law, French music industry revenues have been stabilizing, digital sales markets are growing, and iTunes sales have risen more strongly than in any other European country, most notably by bringing an extra €13.8 million a year worth of iTunes music sales into the economy.

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The music industry incorporates many individuals, more than just those that write the music or perform it. It’s an intricate web of producers, record labels, retailers, managers, and a plethora of other careers that can come about just from music. The music industry has really transformed over the years. In the late 19th century, it was sheet music that brought in the most profits. However in the mid-20th century, records (vinyl, 8 track, cassette, cd, digital) overtook sheet music as the main source of income. In recent years, live music has really taken off. Earlier in the blog series we talked about piracy as potentially being detrimental to the entertainment industry. Nowhere does that ring truer than in music. Illegal downloading has really hurt profits, yet on the other hand it has opened up more avenues to find new artists and possibly buy music and merchandise that wouldn’t have been purchased before. While there are a lot of worries in this industry, some countries are seeing a continued growth. However partly because of the piracy issue, partly because of the digital age of the single, record sales just aren’t enough anymore to keep many in the music industry afloat. So what can be done for the industry?

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The entertainment industry has many different facets, and each country seems to have their own spin on each of these. One thing that seems to be universally enjoyed by every culture is live music. There really is nothing quite like it. Mp3 players and stereos are great, but nothing can replace seeing your favorite band live in concert. The music industry thrives off of this desire. Artists from all different countries plan world tours and plan shows in some of the world’s most impressive venues. Concerts have become their very own version of business. With fans willing to spend such a premium to see their idols, concert venues have turned into extremely lucrative buildings. There are some venues that truly stand above the rest, and make concerts that much better. Here are just a few of the world’s most captivating concert venues: