eMarketer Offers Broad, Optimistic Music Industry Outlook

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After years of major label losses, RIAA lawsuits, and brick-and-mortar bleeding, the industry is finally recognizing broader music industry gains.

Sectors like live concerts, publishing, and mobile music have been blossoming for years, and non-traditional CD retailers and independent labels have been multiplying their market shares.

Despite the gains, a lopsided view frequently prevails.  Major labels have always played a significant role in the larger business, and their plight seems to dominate media coverage and casual conversation.  In contrast, discussions related to performance licensing, t-shirt sales, and sponsorships deals are harder to digest.  But non-label sectors are feeding off of increased consumer appetites for music, the result of unprecedented levels of media access and consumption.

Just recently, researcher eMarketer started to quantify the broader music industry gains.   The company projected North American industry revenues of $26.5 billion by 2011, an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent from $23.1 billion currently.  Live concerts and publishing will fuel the gains, while digital and mobile assets will offset physical decreases, according to the research group.  “Every major category of the live music industry has been growing and is poised for continued expansion, including ticket sales, merchandise sales, ancillary venue revenue and tour and special-event related sponsorships,” the group noted.  Additionally, the group pointed to stronger branding opportunities ahead. “The climate for marrying brands to musical artists has never been more favorable,” said Paul Verna, senior analyst and author of the report.