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Sean Parker optimistic about the music business’s future

By | Published on Thursday 26 May 2011

Sean Parker

It’s alright everybody, Sean Parker, you know, Sean, co-founder of Napster, Spotify millionaire, involved in one of the unsuccessful bids to buy Warner Music (you’re not going to make me say “played by Justin Timberlake in ‘The Social Network'” are you?) reckons the record industry is “on the verge of being fixed”. Hurrah! OK, what shall we worry about now?

Interestingly Parker’s optimism isn’t really based on the direct-to-fan phenomenon, and its potential to allow even niche artists to build and directly control viable businesses by selling basic content, premium packages and other services to a pre-identified fanbase; rather Parker reckons we are about to see a resurgence in the value of back catalogue as licensed probably subscription-based (directly or via ISP and mobile fees) digital services – Spotify style – come of age.

According to the FT, Parker told the e-G8 conference in Paris: “I think that there is a pretty dramatic change in the way music is monetised that is on the cusp of happening. Back catalogues of record labels are going to become extremely valuable. If you believe this transformation is occurring, if you believe the broken distribution systems are on the verge of being fixed, those recordings are dramatically undervalued”.

He continued: “In the last ten years we have presided over the greatest destruction in value in the history of the music industry. Assuming we can stabilise things and restore growth, it shouldn’t be that difficult to preside over the greatest increase in value in the history of the recorded music industry”.