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Surprising Takeaways From The Billboard Music Industry Executive Survey

Posted by Glen Sears | August 27, 2015 11:53 am | No Comments

billboard music industry executive survey
People often think of music, label, and technology executives as disconnected and greedy, but a report out yesterday from Billboard shows they might not think as differently as consumers.

The survey, given to 50-something anonymous music industry executives, had a few unexpected bits of information inside. We don’t know which executives were polled and what their industry position is. They might be from labels, publishers, distributors, techs, PROs, or others. Let’s assume they’re evenly distributed, being totally honest, and let’s have some fun.

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Even A-List Execs Don’t Think Artists Are Treated Fairly.

In a 3:2 ratio, industry executives stated clearly that the industry isn’t favorable to artists. While it’s a fairly ambiguous question, it does highlight the shifting landscape of opinions on artist treatment. We’ve said recently ourselves that artists aren’t the only ones that “being left behind” by the music industry, but they are certainly one of the many. Everyone deserves to get paid for the music they helped create, and the belief that artists aren’t given proper fairness is a good step forward.

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Everyone Continues to Hate on EDM, but Also on Rap.

It’s no secret that EDM has a tough time gaining legitimacy in the broader music industry. Despite its massive revenue-generating power, EDM behemoth SFX Entertainment is poised for bankruptcy in just a few short weeks. What’s more surprising is that hip-hop, currently enjoying yet another pop culture resurgence thanks to the movie Straight Outta Compton, is the music industry’s least favorite genre. What would Drake think of that?

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Boomers and Gen X’ers Think They Understand Technology Better Than Millennials.

In another 3:2 ratio, music industry executives claim they understand technology better than their teenager. On the one hand that makes sense. No average teen knows how to deploy a global music catalog in 13 formats across more than 50 services. On the other hand, until we see more major brands using GroupMe and participating in hack weeks maybe some 14 year olds might be more familiar with emergent technologies and social platforms.

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Wherever You Work, You Might Wish It Was Apple or Spotify.

This one isn’t a huge surprise. In the music technology world, it doesn’t get much loftier than Apple or Spotify. Even so, it’s still a little surprising that over half of music industry executives (not associates) might leave their current posts to work at a different company. Even after the very public denigration of Apple Music. Good thing these surveys were totally anonymous, huh?

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Nobody Believes In Tidal.

Poor Tidal. The Jay-Z owned high-definition music streaming service has had a really rough go. First their launch is a PR nightmare. Then multiple CEOs are fired or jump ship. Additionally, we’ve covered in great detail how difficult and expensive it can be to run a high-definition music service. It turns out, most music industry execs don’t believe Tidal has more than a year left in it. Whether or not this is true (analysts regularly predict the fall of Apple Music, too) it does prove that Tidal still has a major public opinion mountain to climb.

What Does It All Mean?

Public opinion is generally shaped by trends in ideas, money, and current events. In many ways these surveys are only surprising because we expect music industry executives to be pretty stalwart and seemingly less susceptible to trends and flashes in the pan.

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Everybody loves Taylor Swift, but will they always? Does she have another 10 years in her? Are we all just jumping from ship-to-ship, hoping the tide will rise long enough to make the next musical leap? It’s worth noting that one music executive thought it possible.

“I’m sure everybody will answer Taylor [Swift], but the big question I ask myself is can she sustain this for more than another album or two? I lean towards betting on her, but I’m sure the cost that comes with it becomes exponential over the next few campaigns.”

Billboard seems to have proven that music industry executives are more like us in many ways than we might think. Is that a recent trend? Is that good or bad? We believe music industry executives are key influencers, critical to renewed growth and revenue for the entire musical supply chain. We encourage everyone, from executives all the way to consumers, to think about the future of music, instead of reacting to the present.

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