Music Execs Weigh-in on Industry

Jun 08, 2010, 10:18 ET from Black Knight Holdings

LOS ANGELES, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- "Tik Tok" might be the sound that doomsayers use as a metaphor for the borrowed time that the music industry is living on, but it also represents a new model for the beleaguered business. Case in point: Ke$ha, the 23-year old pop star whose clock-referencing single racked up the largest Soundscan performance ever for a female artist, selling 610,000 digital downloads in one week last August, on its way to quadruple platinum status. To date, her album "Animal" has sold only roughly 1/5th of that total. 

Owen Husney, one-time manager of Prince, has seen things come 360 degrees.  

"Albums will continue to fade in importance," Husney, currently the president and CEO of First American Entertainment said. "The future is artists creating music in their bedroom studios, selling them on the Internet, and owning all the publishing and mastering. 

Yet Husney isn't alone. Lance Grode, an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Law School and whose law firm represented Bob Dylan, The Eagles, and Michael Jackson, confirmed the re-ascendancy of the single.

"The industry has come full cycle. The single was the dominant format until the mid-1960s, but that model has returned," Grode said. "There are more things competing for the entertainment dollar." 

Indeed in 2009, only 12 records went platinum, and only 2.1% of the 97,751 albums released sold 5,000 copies. This new opportunity has allowed indie bands like Los Angeles-based Faulkner to take advantage. An outfit compromised of members from Canada, Greece, London and New York, the band has released monthly singles on their 8,000 member Facebook fan page, declared songwriters Lucas Asher and Brennan McGuire, one of which was picked up by Clear Channel Radio. And they aren't alone. Mayer Hawthorne, a retro-soulster on Stones Throw sold 150,000 digital singles of "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out," even after the label gave it away free on its website.

Nor has the single's importance been exclusively confined to the music industry. Film and television supervisors have also been noting its ever-increasing impact. 

"It's a downloader's market. The iTunes top 10 matters as much as Billboard," said Julia Michels, the music supervisor on such films as "Just Wright" and "Sex and the City 2." "Labels are using film and television in lieu of radio play, and we're constantly being pitched the single." 

Ultimately, the single's dominance proves that the clock hasn't run out on the music business—it's just been wound back.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Julia Michels

Lance Grode

Lucas Asher

Owen Husney

SOURCE Black Knight Holdings