Bob Lefsetz Lets Us Know His Trends for 2019 – Decline of Major Labels and Hip-Hop

Bob Lefsetz (the famed music journalist) has published his latest Trends report. The report provides some interesting insights into what he sees happening over the next year or so.

The major labels will lose power. Their tight grasp on the industry was based on control of distribution and media. They’ve lost control of distribution, Spotify is more powerful than every label.. No label can afford to pull its catalog from Spotify, it’s their number one payer. So the leverage of their catalogs is gone. And by signing so few acts in so few genres, they’re ceding territory to independents. And their distribution deals for indies are too expensive for what they’re getting, Glassnote was at Sony then Universal and is now with AWAL. The only thing the majors have to their advantage is cash, they pay it. But so do the promoters, with much less heinous terms. So, if you can make it on the road you don’t need a major label and if you can make it on the road chances are you’re not making the kind of music the major label is interested in anyway, ergo the ultimate decline. Furthermore, radio and TV continue to decline in power, it’s all about the internet, where the majors are not in charge.

Hip-hop will lose its streaming hegemony. It never had it at Amazon anyway. Streaming services will be forced to reflect broader interests.

Streams first, revenue second. It’s just like tech, you build it, get mindshare and then think about how to monetize. And with mindshare/fans, you can always monetize.

These are just some of his thoughts for the year ahead. If you want to take a look at the full list you can check it out here.

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