Music Industry Trending Upwards

The music business is on its way back, according to comments made Wednesday by the industry’s most powerful executive. Universal Music Group Chairman Lucian Grainge, ranked at the top of Billboard’s Power 100 list of music’s top executives, spoke of a “return to growth” and a “return to health” for the industry. Grainge pointed out that the industry is finally zeroing in on ways to monetize digital sales of music, and spoke of music piracy as a problem of the past. The comments came as the UMG chief spoke at Wednesday’s Code Media conference in Dana Point, California. Grainge pointed to breakout pop singer Sam Smith as proof that that the industry can still make stars.

Grainge’s appearance at the Code Media event came on the same day that UMG announced a new partnership with Vessel, a start-up online video platform on which UMG will debut new music videos. Interestingly, Vessel already had a deal in place with VEVO, another online video platform in which UMG is an investor. When asked about the Vessel partnership, Grainge was less than enthusiastic. “We’ll see how they’ll do,” responded Grainge. “But if we’re going to transition to premium subscription, it’s a great part of that journey.” Grainge did not offer any insight when asked about Apple’s plan to align itself with major music labels, and also declined comment on the plans of rival Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Geffen Records.