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Cashing In, Artists Take Advantage of Streaming Trends

Artists cashing in on a lifetime’s work by selling their music catalogues is nothing new, however the movement has been gaining momentum as of late. In December of 2021, the New York Times2 reported that Bruce Springsteen sold his catalogue to Sony for an estimated $550 million, which could be the highest amount paid to a single musician. Springsteen joins the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks and the Red Hot Chili Peppers amongst others, all of whom have sold their catalogues in recent years.

So, what may be driving these superstars to part with their music?

As the pandemic swept across the globe, many aspects of our consumption patterns went digital. Demand for music streaming and global subscription services grew exponentially. In the U.S. alone, music consumption grew 11.3% in 2021.3 Streaming of on demand audio grew 9.9% in the U.S., reaching 1.13 trillion songs streamed, while globally streaming increased 26.3% to more than 2.74 trillion.4 Additionally, in the U.S., the MRC Data found that catalogue music, which is made up of an artist’s songs that are older than 18 months, represented 75% of all audio streams, an increase from 66% in 2020.

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Footnotes

  1. Preqin Pro, as at June 2021.

  2. New York Times, "A $550 Million Springsteen Deal? It's Glory Days for Catalog Sales.", https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/20/arts/music/bruce-springsteen-catalog.html, 20 December, 2021.

  3. MusicAlly, "Music Consumption Grew 11.3% in the US in 2021 says MRC Data", https://musically.com/2022/01/07/music-consumption-grew-in-us-2021-mrc-data/, 7 January, 2022.

  4. MRC Data, "Year-End Report, U.S. 2021", https://mrcdatareports.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/MRC_YEAREND_2021_US_FNL.pdf, Accessed 18 January, 2022.

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