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Blighty Beat
CEOS TALK STREAMING
1/19/21

The three U.K. major label CEOs—David Joseph, Jason Iley and Tony Harlow—today appeared before a Government select committee to justify their share of the streaming pie and answer MPs’ probing (and often misguided) questions.

Speaking on behalf of Universal, Sony and Warner, the execs appeared in the third witness session for the ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming. PPL’s Peter Leathem and PRS for Music CEO Andrea C Martin also gave evidence.

In response to the accusation that the major labels, and Spotify, are essentially operating an oligopoly, Iley said: “There is more competition in the music industry now than in my 30 years of doing this job. The independent sector is brilliant and signing some of the best acts and there are opportunities for artists to sign to majors, independents or distribute their own music.”

When questioned about whether the economics of the music industry have caught up with the growth of streaming, Iley said that 80% of Sony’s U.K.  revenue comes from streaming and that the label spends more money on A&R and marketing “than I’ve ever seen in my career.”

Over the course of his three years as CEO, Iley said he’s spent more than £190m in A&R, increased Sony’s labels to 15 from six and spent more than £170m marketing acts. On average, he said, he signs over 50 artists per year and it’s “rare” that an advance for an album deal is less than £200k, while single deals can reach up to £300k.

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