Thursday, September 20, 2012

Major Label Death Predictions May Be Premature

Profits image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 music industry blog
Could everyone's predictions about the demise of the major record labels be premature? What we've heard over and over in the press (and sometimes on this blog) is that the major labels were floundering in red ink, about to go belly up any second. While revenue for the industry is less than half of what it was at it's peak, and profits did take a hit for a while, it appears that everyone has missed the point that the labels have been evolving with the business, and they're pretty healthy as a result.

Case in point - according to Billboard, in the first six months of 2012 Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group had together reported profits of $356 million. Yes, that's profits!

Now take into account that EMI doesn't disclose their finances at the moment because they're privately held by CitiBank (at least until the sale to Universal is finalized), and the CEO of BMG Rights Management has said that their profit would be over 250 million Euros this year (about $325 million), and you can see that no one inside the big music corps are worried about their bonuses.

Then the fact that we're heading into the strongest buying season of the year makes analysts think that the major labels will make over $1 billion in profits in total for 2012.

Here's the fact as it stands today - DIY is great for any artist that's either starting out to even a star level, but if you want to break into superstardom, you still need a major. They're the only ones with the infrastructure to take an artist to those heights, at least at the moment.

That said, the more you DIY and the stronger your audience, the greater your bargaining power is. It's almost like there's no middle ground these days when it comes to making a major label deal. Either you're completely at their mercy with a 360 deal or you have all the leverage because you've built an audience without them.

Whatever the case, the major labels are not going away any time soon. Now if only we had a new crop of indies.

You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...