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What Spotify and Apple Music's 2023 lists reveal about the music industry

It's more than just the fact that Taylor Swift had a massive year.
Both Spotify Wrapped and Apple Music Replay had the same top artist of the year. Can you guess who?
Spotify

Where the music industry stands since the depths of the pandemic

It looks like live music shows are generating more revenue than before the pandemic. But the number of shows has fallen.
Music stars like Taylor Swift have benefitted from the "premium-ization" of live music shows. But for artists in the middle, rising prices for everything that goes into touring has made it harder.
Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Musicians union challenges Spotify to raise royalties

Streaming accounts for the vast majority of recorded music income, but musicians and producers make fractions of a cent per stream.
The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers wants Spotify to increase the per-stream royalty for musicians and make its revenue data transparent. 
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Spotify

Listeners “care about community and humanity of the music," says Pitchfork’s Patel

The editor in chief of the music site talks about virality versus hooks, how musicians make a living and the future of criticism.
Musicians have had to find new venues since the pandemic started, and the growth of the labor movement has affected the music industry, said Puja Patel, editor in chief of Pitchfork.
Ethan Miller via Getty Images

Vinyl records are selling at twice the clip of a year ago with no signs of slowing down

Sep 20, 2021
Foot-square covers, bonus tracks and poster inserts — what's not to like?
A shopper browses through vinyl albums in Paris, France's Lucky Records Store in March 2021. Vinyl sales have skyrocketed over the past year.
Kiran Ridley via Getty Images

Apple is investing in a company that lets musicians own their work

Mar 31, 2021
UnitedMasters helps artists distribute music, but it is unclear if this type of alternative model will further disrupt the major record label system.
Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Can streaming do better by musicians? SoundCloud says it's willing to try.

Mar 15, 2021
The pandemic has left musicians more dependent than ever on streaming revenue, but that can be a fraction of a penny per listen.
Bad Bunny, whose music was streamed billions of times in 2020, performs during last year's Spotify Awards in Mexico City.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Spotify

For public good, not for profit.

Warner Music's IPO boosted by streaming

May 27, 2020
The offering, postponed from February by the pandemic, values company at up to $13.3 billion.
Recording artist Lizzo at the Warner Music Group's pre-Grammy party in January.
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Warner Music

TikTok helps songs go viral, but does it make them hits?

Feb 12, 2020
Billboard doesn't track plays on TikTok, but viral memes can help drive listens on other platforms.

Streaming rescued record labels. But has it abandoned artists?

Feb 7, 2020
Warner Music is going public just as music sales are growing after years of decline.
Metallica sued Napster over piracy concerns, during an era music analysts refer to as a dark moment for the record industry.
Kevin Winter/Getty