The Year 2021 Was A Promising One For Music. Here Are Five Reasons Why 2022 Will Be Even Better
The year 2021 has been trying. There are grounds for optimism as we approach 2022. 2021 was an excellent year for music. I’m not referring to the music business but the music ecosystem in some nations worldwide. Music was included in global policy in 2021.
In certain nations, politicians have emphasized artists. Countries that had never invested in their music industries started to increase pandemic assistance for musicians, venues, and record labels. This is only the beginning, and much more work is to be done, but 2021 provides grounds to be optimistic about 2022. I figured I’d enumerate a couple of these reasons.
Despite its inequity, the music business continues to grow:
In most nations, if music is listened to or utilized in any form, someone is compensated. In 2021, a great deal of music was heard. Consequently, the commercial recorded music sector expanded by 7.4 percent last year, and the overall value of music climbed from USD 2.1 billion to $31.6 billion, according to economist Will Page. Profiting from copyright has triggered a fire sale of music licenses, spearheaded by Wall Street.
Blackstone has formed a USD 1 billion music rights fund. Another hedge fund, KKR, acquired the repertoire of Kobalt, an independent music publisher, for USD 1.1 billion. This is not exclusive to North America or Europe. African artists are attracting unprecedented financing. We’ve also seen the rise of commercial groups called independent management entities (IMEs) that disrupt copyright by offering alternative income sources in countries with inadequate or opaque copyright systems. Money speaks, and there is more of it in some corners of the music business. And as a result, the sector is being forced to address many uncomfortable facts, which is the second reason for optimism in 2021.
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Finally, Artist Exploitation and Equity Are Being Addressed
What will change remains to be seen, but the fact that artists’ and songwriters’ rights have been elevated to a higher priority in 2021 is worth applauding. The United Kingdom’s Department of Culture, Media, and Sport’s Committee Enquiry into its music streaming market and the #BrokenRecord campaign sparked a House of Commons debate, an inquiry by the Tournaments and Markets Authority investigating music monopolization, and a heated discussion over the value of music producers and fair income distribution.
Whichever side one takes, it is gratifying to see a discussion over artists’ rights go to the House of Commons. This is not a distinctively British occurrence. Similar talks intensified in 2021, for example, to rectify the inequitable financial system that regulates terrestrial radio in the United States.
Additionally, 2021 brought about beneficial changes in terms of diversifying the industry. The United Kingdom developed a sector-wide strategy, and other nations have followed suit. This year, numerous groups and trade associations representing women, Black artists, professionals, LGBTQI+, and disability activists have arisen; each brings a unique viewpoint, value, and effect to the discussion. While there are still mountains to climb, such as closing the gender wage gap and combating sexual harassment, which is an exceedingly terrible and distressing issue in music, there is evidence that 2021 saw a shift toward growth rather than backward. This is worthy of acknowledgment.
For The First Time, We All Supported A Variety Of Music Companies
Bear in mind that when businesses get public support, it comes from us. And before the pandemic, the majority of funding for music firms in most nations was designated for certain organizations, most of which concentrated on specific genres. The pandemic altered that dynamic, and a far broader spectrum of groups got financing, demonstrating a more genre- and discipline-agnostic approach to public assistance. Artists, venues, and groups who had never received governmental funding before the pandemic got it in the United Kingdom, the United States, and other nations, from the United States’ closed venues operating grants to the United Kingdom’s cultural recovery fund.
Festivals were granted access to insurance policies formerly restricted to cinema and television. It becomes easier to turn individuals away in the future if they need assistance. In 2020 and 2021, an extended support mechanism evolved. This is another excellent development.
Increased Government Investment in and Recognition of Music
The United Nations designated 2021 as the International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. This resulted in the G20’s first-ever cultural summit, promises from members, and hundreds of ancillary events, including the OECD’s first engagement with music and the night economy.
The Creative Europe budget, which includes music, was raised via new financing calls dedicated to supporting music ecosystems. Numerous cities made initial investments in local music economies, from Huntsville, Alabama, which hired a municipal music officer, to Nottingham, United Kingdom, which launched its first music strategy. For the first time, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have made significant investments in the creative industries process. The Philippines established the country’s first national music policy. Zimbabwe conducted its first music assessment with the assistance of UNESCO. External investment in music increased in 2021, as did acknowledgment of music as a vehicle for fostering sustainable development, education, and job creation. This trend will continue in 2022.
That is true. We Have Reasons to Be Optimistic – and Cheerful – in 2022
Around the globe, music receives increasing funding and attention. This focus is illuminating the sector’s structural disparities and the global music industry‘s lack of proper investment. This is not to say that there is no major work. Many nations continue to lack adequate copyright rules, making it almost hard to earn a livelihood as a musician in many countries, which has to change.
The business sector remains disproportionately male, white, and middle income. Income disparity remains significant, with some industry leaders earning more than all UK artists earned in streaming revenue this year. However, progress is being made, and further development is predicted next year. And with that, I remain optimistic about another excellent year for music ecosystems in 2022.
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