In 2020 already, we have seen Universal Music Group valued at €30bn when it sold a 10% stake to a consortium led by Chinese technology firm Tencent, and Warner Music Group go public and reach a market capitalisation of more than $16bn. Meanwhile, in February it was revealed that the three major music companies are collectively generating more than $1m every hour from streaming services alone.

Business is good for the music industry’s biggest companies, then. But this stage of the music industry evolution is accompanied by thriving growth for the independent music sector, including indie labels and the ‘artist direct’ segment – artists who are releasing their music through distributors, without a label deal.


Discover more about the music industry evolution around independent artists discussed during Midem Digital Edition in this exclusive Midem content called “Independence and Music Industry Evolution”.


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Artist-direct and music industry evolution

The artist-direct sector was a particular point of interest in Midem’s Artist and Label Services keynote featuring Downtown Holdings, SoundCloud and investment bank The Raine Group.

“This area we’re talking about is absolutely the fastest growing segment in the entire music industry,” said The Raine Group partner Fred Davis, of how the music industry has changed. “It was practically nothing two or three years ago, and this year it will be, we estimate, a $2bn sector. 10% of the entire music industry, growing at a 35 to 40 per cent rate year over year. And that’s why as an investor, we want to be involved in that.”

Justin Kalifowitz, CEO, Downtown Music Holdings also suggested that this year’s Covid-19 pandemic impacts may be accelerating some of the music industry evolution around independent artists, suggesting that more of them are realising:

‘I can do this, i’m sitting at home and the tools are there, and I don’t need to wait to get signed, I don’t need to wait for someone to back me, I’m just going to do this from my bedroom’.


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