What will a music company look like in 2025?


The next MBW op-ed comes from Reservoir CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi (pictured). Reservoir is an unbiased music company primarily based in New York Metropolis and with workplaces in Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto and London. Based as a family-owned music writer in 2007, the agency has grown to signify over 110,000 copyrights and 20,000 grasp recordings with titles courting way back to the 1920s, and a whole bunch of No.1 releases worldwide. In August, Reservoir confirmed that it had acquired Chrysalis Records.


On January 3, 2008, Forbes ran the headline, “Music Trade Weathers Powerful 2007.”

We had simply launched Reservoir and joined the business in holding a collective breath, whereas strategizing tips on how to obtain a robust turnaround in a discipline that had witnessed large upheaval resulting from technological change.

By sure metrics, compelling numbers consultant of longer-term, sustainable progress in the music enterprise have actually solely emerged in the final three years. In fact, most are bullish now, as streaming consumption continues to develop exponentially.

Spotify is publicly traded, boasting over 207 million subscribers globally and simply the opposite month Apple Music reportedly overtook Spotify in paid U.S. subscribers, with 28 million to Spotify’s 26 million. The headlines in the present day sing a totally different tune, as Wall Road analysts consider the music business is on a ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ The query now turns into: how can we harness this progress, make sure that it’s sustainable, and reap the rewards?

Undeniably, rightsholders in the present day are witnessing year-over-year will increase on income. Some predict this progress will final solely a few years, whereas others forecast it will maintain for the long-term resulting from components together with world penetration, accessibility of streaming platforms, sensible speaker adoption, and wifi-enabled automobiles, for instance.

Whereas none amongst us are prophets, the understanding for a lot of publishers is that in order to capitalize on this progress, it is sensible to function as a holistic music company. We now have seen vital convergence all through our business in current years; digital consumption has extra intently aligned label and writer enterprise fashions, whereas ancillary rights offers, technological advances, and a rising willingness to equitably associate with artists and writers, have all led to a extra progressive and revolutionary method in the direction of enterprise.

“We proceed to speculate assets in constructing a grasp rights platform.”

At Reservoir, we’ve expanded our choices to incorporate artist administration providers and we proceed to speculate assets in constructing a grasp rights platform. Being a world company with a vested curiosity in totally different sorts of music rights results in wide-spread income seize in this thriving local weather and finally lets us do extra for our creators.

There are additionally rising market alternatives that warrant additional exploration, as beforehand untapped areas at the moment are regulated and legitimized by digital adoption. Developments in synthetic intelligence can even assist design the subsequent wave of beneficial instruments for the creation course of. Whether or not in manufacturing, A&R, advertising, monetary/reporting techniques or knowledge administration, funding in the most effective expertise is important to any company’s progress and stability.

Expertise informs our enterprise, however individuals nonetheless matter above all else. Ours is a relationship pushed enterprise, in which the standard of our community and folks is paramount; and folks gained’t get replaced by AI. Machine studying will make us extra highly effective, quicker, and extra environment friendly, but it surely gained’t substitute for our ardour, dedication, instinct, and need. Expertise is there to be harnessed and elevate our efficiencies.

We now have been privileged to assemble a stellar workforce of people who contact on an array of disciplines and construct an unparalleled roster and catalog throughout genres, territories, eras and rights varieties. This, plus expanded choices throughout administration providers and grasp distribution, poises us to evolve from defining ourselves as a music writer to a music company. Finally, it ensures that we’re maximizing the present progress, and outcomes in a windfall for these we signify. In an period the place consumption is at an all-time excessive, however the marketplace for content material is so saturated, we can not afford to go away any cash on the desk for our creators.

“We’re set to evolve from a music writer to a music company.”

Furthermore, advocacy in our business has traditionally resulted in vital wins for publishers, labels, and creators alike. In January 2018, the Copyright Royalty Board introduced the largest fee improve for songwriters in US historical past, whereas earlier this yr in Europe, Article 13 handed, additional defending towards copyright infringement on on-line platforms, because of the impassioned championing from rights-holders and their proponents.

It’s essential to be on the entrance strains of change and we take our duty to the business very critically by roles on the boards of commerce organizations throughout the globe. As there may be a nice deal of disparity globally about how rights-holders are compensated, schooling concerning the financial implications of these rights to the creators and the broader business is vital. We advocate as a result of we consider in upholding the values of mental property and it will all the time stay a core a part of what we do.

This work not solely impacts how a lot of the present progress we’re capable of seize for creators, but additionally units the stage for a affluent future, as extra legislative motion is handed to guard creators and set monetization requirements. Every day the needle is moved additional; the bar set larger. There is no such thing as a scarcity of alternatives to chase or avenues to discover. By constructing strong, revolutionary, and world service choices for our creators, we can assist develop their careers and maximize their artistic potential, and thus, our personal companies will undoubtedly proceed to develop and thrive. I, for one, am excited to see what the headlines of tomorrow will learn.


The above interview originally appeared in Music Business USA – MBW’s new annual magazine featuring some of the smartest people, with the best stories, in the Stateside music industry.

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