TO A TRILLION AND BEYOND: The biz headline for 2022—despite all manner of tumult in the marketplace, the culture and the body politic—is "onward and upward." Total activity was up a robust 9.3%, with total album equivalents north of 870m (all numbers are U.S. unless otherwise specified), more than 70m more than the prior year. Streaming is up 12.2% with a staggering 996b streams (an increase of 108b). Vinyl’s renaissance continues with a year-over-year spike of 3.4% and 35.4m in total sales. That increase would be far more significant if production could keep up with demand; is something being done about that?

In its most recent earnings report, Spotify reported monthly active user growth of 20% to 456m and forecast hitting the benchmark of 200m premium subscribers by year’s end. Its overall growth was led by “rest of the world” and Latin America, unsurprisingly. At its current pace, with an eye on emerging markets, 1b MAU by the end of 2030 is now in the company’s sights.

The Big Three’s most recent quarterly earnings reports were uniformly positive. UMG’s Q3 revenue grew 13.3% year over year, with growth in all segments. Sony Music’s fiscal Q2 saw recorded music and publishing revenue jump double digits over the preceding year—its first half was so strong the company increased its annual forecast to nearly $10b. WMG’s fiscal Q4 revenue spiked 16%, boosting the stock in Steve Cooper’s final fiscal year as CEO. Cooper has set the table exceptionally well for incoming chief Robert Kyncl, with a shrewd suite of tech investments and a successful IPO undergirding the next chapter of Max Lousada’s Recorded Music oversight. Will first-time music head Kyncl’s stature as a technology specialist have a halo effect on the industry as all eyes turn to the growing issue of monetizing TikTok and harnessing that platform to benefit artists? Does he have a magic bullet?

GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT: The pandemic has become essentially a seasonal event, but it’s clear that the live sector—once utterly stymied by COVID—has not only come roaring back but is hitting new heights and will likely not be appreciably slowed by any economic headwinds. Pollstar reports that 2022 set a record with $6.28b in worldwide gross for the Top 100 tours. North America’s Top 200 grew 28.4% compared to 2019. Bad Bunny had the biggest-earning tour, grossing more than $400m worldwide. Will 2023 see new records? Giant stadium tours from Taylor Swift, P!nk, Morgan Wallen, Bruce Springsteen and other superstars will set the pace.

The most recent figures from Michael Rapino’s Live Nation find the giant hitting double-digit attendance growth over the same quarter in 2019, achieving a quarterly record of 44m at 11k events. Gross transaction value on the ticketing side during the first nine months of 2022 grew a staggering 49% over the same period in 2019.

Jay Marciano’s AEG is celebrating a return to relative normalcy, as represented by 15k+ shows, nearly 30m tickets and $3.5b+ in revenue. The return of Coachella (750k tickets), BST Hyde Park (530k), New Orleans Jazzfest (275k) and massive tours by Elton John ($300m in ticket revenue), Kenny Chesney ($130m), The Rolling Stones ($120m) and BLACKPINK (a sold-out arena trek), to name a few, demonstrated that the market had not only rebounded but ballooned, with 2023 looking enormous.

Irving Azoff’s brand is bigger than ever, with mondo tours, big Oak View venue operations and, most appetizingly, the reopening of the Apple Pan (try the Bono Burger!) and Nate N’ Al’s for in-restaurant dining. Pass the blintzes.