According to Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis, the music he's bought is "more valuable than gold or oil". "These great, proven songs are very predictable and reliable in their income streams," he explains. "If you take a song like the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams or Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer, you're talking three to four decades of reliable income." He says hit songs are a stable investment because their revenue isn't affected by fluctuations in the economy.
Streaming changed that, he says, because previously passive consumers were willing to pay a monthly subscription. "Instead of the focus being that one in 350 people would actually pay for music, the focus is on all of them."
Clearly streaming is displacing physical media for economic reasons. As a result, the future is looking dim for reissues, one run releases are becoming the norm and then the music is streamed. Over time, old media should become worth more as there is less and less of it in relative terms. People are buying vinyl knowing that the declining numbers of unplayed records will increase the value of their investment, further inflating vinyl sales numbers.
Then there's this:
In fact, the campaign has been equally critical of both streaming providers and record labels - but Mercuriadis says people should focus first on increasing the global subscriber base of streaming services from 450 million to two billion by the end of the decade. "Because if that becomes reality then the earnings of the songwriters will be very significant".
Of course, this depends upon revisiting the issue of an artist's compensation,which, I suspect, will be swept under the rug in the race for even greater profits for the media conglomerates and their shareholders.
Over time, old media should become worth more as there is less and less of it in relative terms. People are buying vinyl knowing that the declining numbers of unplayed records will increase the value of their investment, further inflating vinyl sales numbers.
Demand is the other critical component of the market equation, and it seems to me that reduces over time through natural attrition as the people who remember the music die out. How much demand for old music hall material from the early 20th century? Very, very little, regardless of sound quality.
I wonder, after all, it seems to me that the new music doesn't seem as good or as popular anymore. For example, I rarely hear new music in the stores, it's mostly older hits. I think the last fifty years produced music that will be around a long time. Of course, I'm biased, however, I do think there was a golden age in the sixties and seventies, there were just so many iconic musicians and so much seminal material. Personally, I think they'll still be milking those cows long after I'm gone.