Those who’ve read this blog for a while know I spent the better part of a decade working in and around the music business, most of it during the industry’s digital evolution.
They also know I unsuccessfully predicted in 2007 that record label revenues would be split evenly between physical and digital formats within 18 months (i.e. early-2009). In my own defence they were exciting times: growth in the sector was running high double digits.
The reality though is that it has taken a little longer than I had thought :-)
So it was with interest I noticed that Warner Music Group announced this morning that online revenues in their North American recording operations reached 47% of total recorded music revenue. Edgar Bronfman Jr. (WMG’s chairman) said of the accomplishment, “We are approaching the digital divide … It is indicative of the great strides we’ve been making to create a more digital-centric business model.”
Digital revenue accounted for 30% of total revenue.
It is worth noting that WMG is well ahead of the curve in the digital space, leading the other three ‘majors’ in this regard. Nonetheless it suggests those in the book biz who are bullish about digital growth need to take a deep breath and chill …