At present, there are three distinct music industries: radio, on-demand music, and concert ticketing. However, we are starting to enter a new phase, where these industries will converge and produce one integrated experience for artists and fans. I’ve taken to calling this full stack music, because at heart it speaks to a holistic experience that integrates these industries through data.
The integration of these three, previously distinct industries will produce a richer experience for artists and fans, unlock a ton of additional subscription, ticketing and advertising revenue for artists and create a better experience for fans. It will resolve the central tension between fans, artists and technology companies that so much ink has been spilled about.
Three Distinct Music Industries
There are three main businesses of music:
Radio. Radio is where music discovery happens, and where the majority of casual music fans engage with music. Ninety-two percent of the U.S. population listens to music at least once per week; on average, they listen for 15 hours. It is critical to artists because a radio station decides which track a fan listens to next, and so radio has an incredible ability to drive new artist discovery. Radio is primarily monetized via advertising, generating $45 billion/year. It also is the primary channel for marketing concerts.
On-Demand Music. This is when the listener decides exactly which song comes next (unlike radio). It started with vinyl, migrated to CDs, migrated to iTunes and finally has migrated to on-demand streaming services like Apple Music, SoundCloud, Spotify and YouTube. Monetization used to be in the form of direct spend (buying a CD); it is now a mix of advertising and subscription.
Concert Ticketing. Paying to see your favorite artist live. This used to be a side business for the music industry. However, over the past 10 years this has expanded to become the main event, growing from $10 billion in 1999 to $30 billion in 2015 in gross ticket sales. It is where artists make the majority of their income — typically 70-80 percent. Most of the growth has come from increasing ticket prices — 50 percent of concert tickets go unsold and attendance has not increased anything like as fast as prices.