"Selling yourself to live"

Spotify intheredAR2020Selling music rights seems to be equal to selling the family silver. Artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young have sold all or large parts of their music catalog. This is shocking. I always thought that they valued and wanted total control over their creative output. Also, they don't need money to make ends meet. So what's all this nonsense really about? Let's start with the demand side. Startup companies, financed by risk capitalists, believe that there is money to be made from acquiring music rights in the form of future royalties, licensing, brand deals, and other revenue streams that otherwise would have gone to the artist. They firmly believe that the back catalogs of renowned artists are goldmines, insensitive to economic recession and structural change. Low interest rates fuels the fire and the major labels are competing about the rights, which increases the asset value. The supply side seems to make a complete different assessment. Streaming has changed everything. Nowadays, revenues comes from touring, not from vinyl or cd sales. Reducing uncertainty is the main explanantion for the willingness to sell. I hate streaming. Who could imagine that the new business model would have such a pervasive impact on the industry and disastrous implications for the artists. Furthermore, who can guarantee that the back catalogs of renowned artists will stand the competition from streaming polluters in the future. The old hard-core fans will sooner or later die. And, maybe future technological change will lead to even less money for the artists (if this worst-case scenario is conceivable). Adding to this, US tax legislation makes selling more profitable than earning. It's not so strange if artists take the money and run. Allegedly, a legend like Bob Dylan got a lump sum of 25 times what his song catalog earns each year. And what about the gothic country genre? The genre is spared. Obviously, there's no money to be made here for anyone.   

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