While 2017 will go down as a year marked by the twin tragedies of Manchester and Las Vegas, there were also many positives for the music industry in the past 12 months. The business continued its return to growth, breakthrough British artists (particularly Rag’N’Bone Man and Dua Lipa) were more conspicuous than in 2016, and grime and UK rap became established thanks in part to the all-conquering Stormzy. Then there was Ed Sheeran, Music Week’s Artist Of The Year….
Throughout the week we’ll be providing snapshots of what the industry pinpointed as its best (and worst) moments. And don’t forget, you can read our full review of the year in our bumper Christmas edition, which is out now.
See below for the second instalment (click here for part one) of responses to the key question ‘what was the best thing to happen to the music biz in 2017?’
Martin Bandier, chairman/CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Streaming. While we believe that songwriters should be receiving a bigger share of the revenue, the volume increases in streaming have been so huge that it’s starting to look like the rising tide is lifting all ships. It’s also encouraging that after I publicly called for streaming services to fully credit songwriters on their sites, they are starting to recognise the significance and importance of the song in addition to the artist’s performance.
Miles Leonard, chairman, Parlophone Records
That we saw a new spirit arise from British urban music – where artists and managers showed independence and entrepreneurialism that hasn’t been seen for a while. The artists and their songs had something genuine, real and exciting to say.
Jane Third, global chief creative officer, PIAS
The lid being lifted on (some of) the hidden abuses of power that have gone on behind the scenes in the music business for decades
DJ Semtex, director of artist development, Sony Music UK
The rise and rise of UK Rap. The emergence of new artists brings with it a new generation of execs with a different approach to doing things.
Natalie Judge, general manager, Matador
On a personal tip – Matador’s first UK No.1 with Queens Of The Stone Age’s Villains!
Chris Price, head of music, BBC radio 1/1Xtra
After a quiet year for new UK talent in 2016, and having launched the Brit List partly in response, 2017 has seen a refreshing plenitude of exceptional new names break through. All nine of Radio 1’s Brit List artists in 2017 have seen commercial or critical success – or both – and I’m excited about the prospects for the 2018 crop.
Jamal Edwards, founder, SBTV
Form 696 [being scrapped] – so many people now can do shows and have another income outside of their music and merch. It will help the scene grow. Also, the selling-out of tours for Bugzy Malone, Dave, J Hus. And grime tracks hitting the charts.
John Woolf, co-founder, A-List Management
Best thing that happened was this was the year that grime was truly embraced into the mainstream.
Derek Allen, SVP commercial, Warner Music UK
Ed Sheeran proving that there are still massive volume opportunities for the right album in the UK market.
Alex Boateng, head of urban, Island Records
Big Shaq, because 2 + 2 is 4 minus 1 that's 3, quick maths. And the scrapping of the 696 form for UK live events – it was prejudiced and stopped fans experiencing some amazing moments.
James Stirling, head of content commissioning, BBC Music
It feels odd to suggest this as the best thing but One Love Manchester as a response to the MEN Arena atrocity was overwhelming. I’ve never seen artists, promoters and broadcasters come together so quickly and with such impact. Ariana’s ability to find strength at that moment deserves immense respect.
Jo Whitty, director, Sound City +
Further investigation into ticket touting/ticket bots, which will hopefully combat ticket touting. Nothing more aggravating than losing out on a face value ticket to your favourite band because of a ticket bot!
Peter Breeden, CFO & COO, Warner Music UK
New acts being broken with creditability and longevity who can cut it live like Rag’N’Bone Man, Stormzy and Dua Lipa.
Kilo Jalloh, K2 Management
Seeing urban music going head to head in the charts with all the big names and sometimes even coming out on top.
Dan Chalmers, president, Rhino, East West & ADA UK
Continued growth of streaming, reduction of global barriers, and the new commercial opportunities surrounding the business.
Jim Chancellor, president, Fiction Records & co-MD Caroline International
Streaming starting to show its positive effect on the business as a whole.
Toby Leighton-Pope, co-CEO, AEG Presents
Continued rise in vinyl.
Andrew Parsons, MD, Ticketmaster UK
Best and worst of 2017 was the horror that was the attack on Manchester in May and the incredible reaction that followed it. Never been prouder of an industry able to pull together such an incredible response when the whole country needed it most. One Love was a raw, emotional, joyous triumph.
Joe Harland, head of visual radio, BBC
Man’s Not Hot, because it was the biggest breakthrough music moment of the year, conquering playgrounds, playlists and Parliament alike.
Duncan Scott, general manager, Black Butter Records
Small steps toward equality in the music industry. from the abolition of the racist Form 696 to the spotlight on sexual harassment.
Mike Pickering, A&R consultant, Columbia Records
For me the best thing was the emergence of a brand new youth culture movement from the UK. It’s been a while since the last one but it’s what we are best at. Grime or UK R&B emerged after some time underground, and it has stormed our charts spawning so much new UK talent.
Pete Leggatt, VP of sales & business development, Sony Music UK
Sales volumes on Ed Sheeran and Rag’N’Bone Man albums, demonstrating the strength of the market in the UK.
Ben Mortimer, co-president, Polydor
I felt British music started getting its swagger back. Some great new artists coming through, great new producers and writers coming through. An A&R person’s dream really.
Nick Raphael, co-president, Capitol UK
The continued globalisation and growth of music – this gives us greater opportunities to break our songs and artists around the world.
Ted Cockle, president, Virgin EMI
We used to try and find the 'Mondeo Man' character who'd contribute 50 quid a year to the industry. Thankfully, we're finding millions of folks who are willing to contribute a little more than that via their preferred streaming service. This will allow for some strong marketplace stability.
Mark Gale, director of A&R/international, Universal Music Publishing
The One Love concert in Manchester brought unity and hope.
Pamela McCormick, founder/director, Urban Development
Form 696 has been disposed of finally. It has been a landmark decision and fantastic to have the support of not just key members of the Met Police, but also Culture Minister Matt Hancock and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Finally, a whole genre of music and talent are not singled out and can have the freedom to make a living, safely, from their art.
Jon Barlow, founder, 3 Beat
Manchester One Love concert. The sentiment and message behind the concert was wonderfully delivered. The cross section of artists who performed showed how willing we are as an industry to give too.
Simon Pursehouse, director of music services, Sentric Music
The fact that everyone (including the general public) seems to have realised that secondary ticketing companies are utter bastards who deserve all the negative press they’ve been receiving this past year. The new advertising rules put into place by Google recently are a brilliant step in the right direction, now we just need to hope they take heed in other areas where they can help the music industry as well.
Henry Semmence, MD, Absolute Label Services
The growth of streaming and its positive impact on industry growth.
Richard Robinson, CEO, Help Musicians UK
The much-needed mental health awakening. The untimely deaths of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, as tragic as they were, seemed to be the final push for us to reach this ‘understanding’ that we need to talk about what we can do to prevent further needless deaths and issues. My charity, Help Musicians UK, launched Music Minds Matter, the most comprehensive 24/7 mental health service and support line which supports the whole industry. I’d like to see the music industry working together in 2018 to bring an end to the stigma and focus on supporting those struggling.
Diane Wagg, chair of MMF/Deluxxe Management
The Fanfair Alliance’s massive achievement and progress towards stopping industrial-scale online ticket touting. And One Love Manchester for bringing everyone together and ensuring Love conquers hate.
Thundercat’s album – game changer.
Stan McLeod, CEO/co-founder, Headliner
With a female-dominated team at Headliner, it’s great to see the continued spotlight on women in the industry and the enormous impact they are having. Long may this continue.
Pieter van Rijn, CEO, FUGA
The growth of streaming and the fact that this has proven the subscription model [works].
Richard Davies, founder, Twickets
Ed Sheeran, a truly global artist, vocalising disdain for the secondary market and taking action against it.
Kim de Ruiter, director of marketing, VEON
In general terms, the spirit of optimism surrounding the industry is stronger than ever, having recorded a second year of growth and revenues of $15.7bn in 2016. When you combine this with the IFPI’s latest findings that 96% of all internet users consume licensed music, you have an unbelievable platform for innovation and opportunity. This applies to artists, labels, tech companies and really any business who truly believes in making music an important part of what they do.
Jon Gisby, head of Europe, Vevo
It looks like 2017 will be the year in which streaming revenues exceed CD sales for the first time, accelerating the recovery in overall industry revenue. This is great for mainstream artists but also more widely, with Merlin paying out its billionth dollar in digital revenues to its members this year.
Roxanne de Bastion, artist/FAC board director
The MMF's FanFair campaign was a huge success. There's no relationship as important of that between the artist and the fan, so ensuring that fans don't get exploited and artists don't lose out or get misrepresented in secondary ticketing is a great step in the right direction. The launch of the FAC's BEAT Board (Breakthrough and Emerging Artists Together) was also a super important moment. Some of the most exciting things are happening in the independent sector, so it’s important to champion and listen to the younger artists who are creating sustainable careers without traditional investment.
Peter Leathem, chief executive, PPL
The ongoing return to growth of the global music industry, and the success of the UK industry both at home and abroad. This makes PPL’s role easier when it comes to growing its licensing of broadcasters and businesses across the UK, as they want to make use of the great music that is being produced. It also allows PPL to grow its international collections given the popularity of UK music around the world.
Robert Ashcroft, chief executive, PRS For Music
The growth of streaming (for obvious reasons).
Moe Bah, 2K Management
Seeing platforms like Radio 1 playlisting urban music and giving it the opportunity to reach a mass audience.
David Manders, Liquid Management/MMF board member
There has been some strong progress on tackling unethical secondary ticketing. The Fanfair Alliance – alongside many artists, promoters, agents and managers – have been speaking out and working towards making much needed changes to protect consumers. There’s now a heightened awareness of this situation within Parliament and in the public domain and we are starting to see some results – the recent move by Google to block adverts in search engines for unaccredited companies was a welcome move in the right direction.
Christian D’Acuna, head of programming, The O2
Glastonbury Festival is always my favourite moment of the music calendar. I’m going to miss it in 2018.
Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance
I'm really proud of the work we've done with FanFair Alliance, and making the arguments of those who want major reforms in secondary ticketing. Having built a head of steam, there's a strong chance 2018 will deliver some positive and tangible outcomes.
Paul Reed, general manager, Association Of Independent Festivals
Lots of positives and progress for the live industry this year, the most prominent being the ‘big four’ secondary ticketing sites finally being held to account on various levels due to the work of the FanFair Alliance. From Parliament to Google, the pressure has been ramped up and rightfully so. Elsewhere, the Met finally ditching the discriminatory Form 696.
Jane Abernethy, director of A&R, 4AD
I was really encouraged by Sound Diplomacy’s event in New York this year which explored the intersection of music and property development, and highlighted the ways in which the organisation are working with the mayors and property developers in London and New York to save and create new grassroots music venues in cities, which are so incredibly important to the discovery of new music.