This Week In Music: There’s Still A Business Even In The Pandemic – Just Ask Leonard Cohen

Associated Press

Everybody knows, as Leonard Cohen once sang. Everybody knows the music business has taken a hit this year, as there’s no live music, TV and film production is down, releases are being held back, and ad revenues from streaming are diminished.

But here’s an eye-opener, courtesy of a report in Music Business Worldwide:  The industry is still generating about one million dollars per hour of streaming. And what that means to the bottom lines of the major music companies – Universal, Sony and Warner Music – is that while revenues will likely be down this year, they haven’t fallen off a cliff.

In 2019, the global business by those majors generated an estimated $14.93 billion from all formats. So far, MBW claims, they appear to have taken in $6.91 billion in the first half of 2020 from the same income brackets, including streaming, downloads and physical sales, merchandise and other income sources.

While those totals are small comfort to those outside their purview and the struggling live events industry, it does point to music holding its own as an entertainment option, one that may grow as other choices vanish or are severely limited. The appetite is still there.

Now it’s up to innovators to determine how to reach the audience that appears hungry for its product. With recent experiments in multiplayer online concerts drawing impressive results, and Zoom concerts drawing decent crowds, there is a small spark of opportunity beckoning.

Or as Mr. Cohen put it, “The poor stay poor, the rich get rich/That’s how it goes/Everybody knows.

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