What Kind of Year Will It Be for the Record Business? The Forecasts Are Getting Worse, Not Better

Recorded music has been in a state of limbo throughout quarantine: Though live events like concerts and other in-person money-makers have shut down, songs and albums have been buoyed by streaming — so things are difficult, but not terminal.

On April 20th, Olivier Nusse, the CEO of Universal Music France, gave a pre-recorded address to shareholders of Universal Music Group owner Vivendi that summed up the mood of the global industry. Nusse said UMG’s “global executive management team is leading the company to success” but that COVID-19 would “certainly impact physical sales, and merchandising sales [both] on tours and in stores. The impact on streaming should be more limited, and will vary depending on the market and remuneration method. Streaming by subscription, which generates the largest portion of UMG revenues by far, is intrinsically more stable and robust.”

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