If investors are skittish about the pandemic's impact on the music business, they're sure not showing it, as a former Morgan Stanley investment banker joins Metallica in a bid to acquire music catalogs. Meanwhile Nielsen presents data that suggests the resilience of music streaming during the global lockdown, and Billboard analyses the financial moves major music companies have taken to cope with an uncertain future.
Recorded-music consumption has proven resilient: Audio streams are up 16.2% to 420 billion... (and) total album-equivalent audio consumption — a measure of total consumption, including sales of albums and songs, as well as on-demand streams — was up 9.4% year over year.
While music publishing and other forms of intellectual property have long been viewed as recession-proof and have long been a lucrative area of the business, the coronavirus pandemic — which has shut down touring, the financial engine of the music industry, almost completely — has only amplified that perspective.
Faced with a once-in-a-lifetime economic nosedive, many music companies are turning to debt and credit to sustain themselves through the coronavirus crisis.
Though overall streaming dipped in early June, coinciding with nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, both audio and video have now returned to normal. Country in particular has continued to trend upward, posting a remarkable 13% gain in weekly audio streams since the start of the pandemic.