Apple skips a few beats in streaming battle

July 1, 2016

The $535 bln iPhone maker may be mulling a purchase of Tidal, rapper Jay Z's online music service, to bolster its own. Meanwhile Spotify says Apple is harming it by rejecting an app upgrade. Apple has the clout to fend off rivals, but adding Tidal won't help get its rhythm back.

The Exchange podcast: Brian Wilson’s good vibes

May 13, 2016

The Beach Boys founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer took a break from his "Pet Sounds" 50th anniversary world tour to talk about the iconic album. Wilson shares his studio memories, discusses the pain of writing a new autobiography and offers perspective on music technology.

Also recall the executive formerly known as Prince

By Rob Cox
April 21, 2016

The influence of the artist, who died at 57, extends beyond lasting hits like “Purple Rain.” His battles with the recording industry presaged an era where power drifted away from labels to the musicians. Prince experimented as much with the business as he did in the studio.

Bowie’s financial legacy is actually Hunky Dory

January 11, 2016

The rock legend’s 1997 catalogue securitisation prompted a host of securities backed by unusual assets. Music industry-specific issues meant Bowie’s own bonds were later downgraded. But despite a global financial crisis, the wider field of esoteric ABS has a genuine future.

China’s music dream is out of tune with reality

December 4, 2015

State planners are good at building bridges and roads. Appealing to consumers is harder. Their latest goal is to expand China’s music business to $47 bln by 2020 – almost three times the current size of the U.S. market. It just shows how out of touch bureaucrats are.

Streaming holdout Adele is a business anomaly

November 24, 2015

The British singer is poised to beat album sales set 15 years ago by withholding her new record ‘25’ on the likes of Spotify. Few stars can make such refusals. Streaming music revenue is expected to surpass sales by 2018. Most artists will be destined to go with the digital flow.

Pandora may need to change its tune

October 23, 2015

The internet music company blamed Apple’s new service for its slower user growth. Pandora expects the effect to be short-lived, but investors cut the company’s value by a third. Buying a concert-ticket seller is one strategic shift. Finding more paying customers should be next.

Rob Cox: Wall Street’s rave party feels the drop

By Rob Cox
September 3, 2015

Robert Sillerman’s attempt to roll up the electronic dance music business is collapsing not long after UBS, Barclays and Jefferies helped his SFX Entertainment go public. Live Nation may once again turn out to be the buyer of a Sillerman creation, but this time will be different.

Mega-rejections signal M&A’s Taylor Swift moment

June 22, 2015

U.S. health insurer Cigna brushed off a $54 bln takeover bid from Anthem while pipeline operator Williams spurned Energy Transfer’s $53 bln approach. Meantime, the 25-year-old pop idol forced Apple to pay up for music. In a hot market like this, love won’t be unrequited forever.

Music rally can shake off discordant Taylor Swift

November 3, 2014

The 24-year-old pop star yanked her latest album and catalog from Spotify. The digital streaming service and its ilk offer low per-song royalties but subscriptions give labels higher margins than CDs or downloads. Buyer habits are also changing, even if Swift is stuck in 1989.