FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Music Licensing Thrives Despite CD Sales Declines

Despite the decline of physical CD sales, owners of rights to popular music are finding that their investments are more valuable than ever, as music is being licensed for ringtones, advertising and soundtracks to video games.

The value of music catalogs is illustrated in speculation that Michael Jackson may have to sell part or all of his rights to the catalog containing the music of the Beatles and other artists, which he presently co-owns with Sony. Jackson paid $48 million for the catalog in 1985; today it's estimated to be worth about $500 million.

Though the Beatles catalog is one of the most valuable entities in music, other catalogs have increased in value, as new technologies incorporate popular tunes. Ringtones are just one example of a business that the music industry is cultivating as older sales avenues dry up -- proving that the music industry is hardly being wiped out by new technologies, but actually thriving because of them.