Music industry once again a hot ticket for young workers

Those who 15 years ago would rather have worked ‘at Google or wherever’ are now keen to find employment at record companies, a global industry event heard this week

Notes of concern haven’t been completely silenced within the music industry, but after nine consecutive years of sales growth – confirmed in this week’s Global Music Report from recording industry group IFPI – the overall tone is now much more upbeat.

A generation in search of “exciting” employment is noticing, according to Konrad von Löhneysen, founder and director of German music label Embassy of Music. Speaking at an IFPI panel launching the report on Thursday, he offered this turnaround metric: friends of his are increasingly requesting internships for their children.

“They all want to work in the music business, they all want to work in a record company. No one wanted to do that 15 years ago, they would have rather worked at Google or wherever,” he said.

“Fifteen years ago we were like a dying breed and now we are the hottest employer for young people so it shows that we are doing something right.”

So, too, of course, does the industry revenue increase of 10.2 per cent for 2023. This was driven largely by growth in paid streaming subscribers, but physical revenues and income from performance rights also climbed, taking total trade revenues of $28.6 billion (€26.4 billion).

Taylor Swift, naturally, was the top artist across all formats, with K-pop boy band Seventeen – which had the biggest album – in second place. Every region worldwide grew, with five of the seven posting double-digit percentage gains.

Fending off the threat to copyright monetisation posed by the ascent of generative artificial intelligence (AI) now looms as the large challenge ahead, but for industry veteran von Löhneysen, the “fantastic” nine-year recovery already contrasts sharply with the preceding doom.

“You look at how the atmosphere was in the music business 15 years ago or something, it was very gloomy. It almost felt like the last person in the room was supposed to switch the light off.”

The trick now is do the “homework” that keeps the future bright and stops those lights from blinking.

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