Artists have been selling their song rights; valuation of music going down? | The Popjustice Forum

Artists have been selling their song rights; valuation of music going down?

Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by An Insider, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Given that compilations and pure sales are no longer selling, is this an indication that the valuation of music is going down, both new and old? Are artists trying to do a last minute cash in on their assets?
    relby, tea, soratami and 4 others like this.
  2. This happens every few decades for most artists, no?
    Or has to do with songs becoming public domain?
    V3RYP05H likes this.
  3. This music writer is laying out a kind of bleak outlook on the industry for the next few years. And yeah, a lot of it has to do with music not being as profitable anymore, at least for Western markets**

    I specify Western markets because there've been indications of a boom in music buying in Asia, particularly in China and South Korea.
  4. So this isn't something artists need to do due to the pandemic? Where does this come from all of a sudden?

    Wouldn't be surprised if Mariah sells haself next.
    Coolrockgirl likes this.
  5. This makes me extremely sad.
  6. I'm sure this isn't good for artists or performers, and labels/companies being unwilling to invest in new talent is not good either. I don't doubt that there'll be challenges, new ways to profit off of other people's work, etc. However, I am wondering if this devaluation could have some positive effects in the long-term. Could this not continue the democratization of the music industry we've witnessed over the past decade or two?

    (I would love to get @Sanctuary's thoughts on this subject as they've provided insight on similar topics before and I could very well be way off the mark)
    Island, Jacques, sexercise and 4 others like this.
  7. Considering how much she stresses the importance of owning your own material (like Prince taught her), especially recently in her memoir, I'd be very surprised if she did
  8. I honestly think if the industry wants to sell again, labels have to find a way to sustainably add value to buying albums, besides just the audio experience. Be it with vinyl or collector’s items like what Taylor and most K-Pop groups have been doing.

    But, this kind of model is only doable for a few acts because of the higher capital involved, which makes me worry for the smaller, indie acts. The music itself would probably be further democratized, but actual label support and backing would probably be on fewer acts than now.
    soratami likes this.
  9. I often tell myself that if I won the lottery I would buy Sky Ferreira's rights and contract from Captiol and form my own struggle pop-girl label and buy the rights to albums by the likes of Mini Viva. I would probably loose all my money but I don't think I'd care.
    MusicalMelody, Rob, Island and 17 others like this.
  10. Someboy

    Someboy Staff Member

    It makes sense to sell for artists whose new music can't possibly match their old highs, regardless of any creative changes, because the model has simply shifted, the business doesn't generate profits the way it used to and their profiles don't generate the same amount of press. Bob Dylan's catalog probably received a bump in value after he won an actual Nobel Prize, and in a different lane, Shakira's team probably saw an opportunity after the universally praised Super Bowl spot.

    I think part of the frustration for Taylor not owning her masters goes beyond artistic integrity, into the obvious loss she's taking in the market. One of the things I think lost in the folklore / evermore discourse is she's eager to put out new content to overshadow past works and rebuild her market power.

    There's a lot of gray areas in entertainment business finances that I think a lot of people are unaware of, and music is the most muddy, with so many cooks in the kitchen in terms of the investment and creation and subsequent distribution of profits. Selling your catalog, whether you're an artist or producer or label, is potentially a way to make a clean financial break from your liabilities and reset for the future.
    Island, Beat, Toxic84 and 5 others like this.
  11. I'm sure someone more clued up on the subject has a better take but this feels... overly bleak.
    I get that all the financial models are shifting but people are always going to want new music.

    I thought industry revenue was up over the past few years? Or is that all pro-streaming propaganda designed to minimise the fact that people paying so little for music just isn't sustainable?
    lushLuck likes this.
  12. Yeah, Taylor obviously won't focus on the money aspect in interviews because she'd look more businesswoman than artist, but it must be frustrating that she couldn't... when the time comes, liquidate the value of her catalog herself.

    We actually discussed this in the thread briefly, but folklore and evermore were most likely business decisions as much as they were creative ones. She wanted to keep her relevance as a current artist in the streaming era, as well as engage her fanbase enough to care to patronize her re-recorded catalog, instead of the old ones.

    It's a reality that most artists probably want to create more content as they get older, but doing so would probably land them in label debt because the new stuff would most likely not as good returns. Getting enough cash on hand would allow them to either just disappear with a privileged financial future ahead or optimistically, they can fund more passion projects for themselves and for the fans... which I feel is where Beyonce is getting to right now.
    Txetxu and lushLuck like this.
  13. I'm not a Spotify insider, but I think a possible issue with streaming would be the cash flows. It can look good revenue-wise, but how quickly do these services pay the labels in cash? Whereas with physical/digital, I imagine you'd get more money upfront.
    Vasilios likes this.
  14. Heritage artists don’t make much from streaming. The labels, maybe. The artists do not. Certainly nothing compared to what a new Best of album release would make in the 90s / 00s. Sure they make money, but no where near enough to support the lifestyle they are used to. So with touring off the table (due to Covid or due to other issues like old age or inability to tour), some people decide to sell.
  15. Alsjskjsks I literally think the same exact thing ALL the time. I envision the amount I’d allot to music videos / who I would sign / the amount of money I would be willing to lose....glad I’m not the only one.
  16. If a PopJustice gay makes it big, he’s morally obligated to fund Tinashe’s career into main pop girl status, yes.
  17. There are a couple of very large investment funds who are hoovering up catalogue rights as we know. I think they are competing hard which will drive prices up and the majority of people who have succumbed are lets face it, old and taking the money now. What I dont get is why these funds think there is an increased level of cashflow that will come from pushing Neil Young or Shakira more via advertising etc but that may be my personal taste!
    Island, Eric Generic and lushLuck like this.
  18. They may be a new breed of art collectors
    or let’s be honest, could be something shady, which the music industry also has a history with dddd
  19. For some of these artists, it's not that deep. If you're in your 70s, then it makes sense to cash-in on decades of future royalties that are going to be earned long after you are gone. If you're Lil' Wayne, you're in financial ruin and facing years of jail time ddd
    Island, lushLuck, Someboy and 3 others like this.
  20. It’s not that big of a deal. This happens frequently and at the end of the day it’s a business and you’ll find that most artists view their career as a job and are just happy they’ve been able to make a living off of doing what they enjoy (some of them don’t enjoy it but it’s what they know). Doesn’t mean anything is devalued.
    lushLuck likes this.
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