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Music Tectonics | How Technology Is Reshaping the Culture and Business of Music

MIDiA’s Mark Mulligan delivered the keynote presentation for this years’ Music Tectonics conference in LA, October 29th.

Discussing ongoing trends, the peak attention economy, and seismic shifts both in consumption habits and the industry itself, the presentation is a must to review. Download the presentation here, and listen to the audio here.

Some of the stand-out information presented in Mulligan’s keynote include:

The attention economy has peaked. For the first time since their explosion, mobile game engagement is shrinking. Music apps can expect a similar trend as innovations in any media sector will take away attention from another sector. There is no more time to take away from the market.

We have reached the end of the mainstream era where massive stars create cultural moments shared by all. The future of amassing large audiences is through one niche at a time across multiple territories around the globe. The broadcast model for expecting large mass audiences to all adopt the same music is over. It’s all about segmentation.

Self-empowered artists will continue to shift the power dynamics of the music industry, even for labels. Many are independent, but regardless of whether they are or not, expect to see more artist-driven approaches to success.

Publishers currently get about 15% of revenue from streaming services. Labels get 50% or more. As a result publishers are shifting their rights ownership now that it is clear that royalties for masters will continue to get a bigger piece of the streaming pie.

Streaming will inevitably plateau. Mulligan presents four options he sees for moving forward when that happens.

The secret sauce of the next music gold rush is how to make money from fandom, not streaming. Mulligan points out China as an example of this move toward monetising fandom rather than consumption. As a country where popular culture has recently been reinvented with the influence of social media, China offers an alternative model to Europe and North America where past industry patterns are still being transposed onto the streaming world. Mulligan thinks the biggest opportunity coming in music is monetising fandom.