THE BLOG
10/16/2014 03:06 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2014

Millennials & The Music Business: Inverting the Hierarchy

A rising generation native to technology has forever shifted the power in the music business. Born into a world that is on-demand, all access, and is increasingly crowd-sourced, the Millennial (and Post Millennial) generation is re-shaping how music is created, marketed, and distributed.

An insight is making the rounds this week...

If turning 13 in 2014, as pointed out by GroupM, your smart phone was your first phone. You never knew a world without Google or YouTube, and you've never read a paper-newspaper. Most fascinating to us in this viral list-acle, is if you are a music fan turning 13 in 2014, you probably never bought an actual CD.

This fact reminds us how much the music experience has changed in recent years, and also highlights how much the music business continues to evolve in lock step with digital innovation.

In recent years, emerging technology dissolved the concept of physical goods in the music business. LPs and cassettes eventually gave way to the compact disc. The compact disc allowed most people the ability to convert music collections into MP3 audio files, which could eventually be traded peer-to-peer. The inevitable disappearance of physical music that followed dried up relied upon revenue models within the industry.

While as an industry we have studied this moment through an economic lens, truthfully, while consumption of physical music has never been lower, music consumption has never been higher. There has never been a better time for music.

The rise of digital has inverted the hierarchy of influence within the music industry. Ask yourself, just how does an artist break in 2014? The once linear path to musical stardom, where labels granted access and resources, and radio controlled relevance, looks radically different in 2014 as a result of the digital revolution.

Working the system used to have a clear power structure with tangible paths to successfully driving the bottom line: selling physical albums.

Despite the decline in music's business, let's remind ourselves that we just witnessed one of the biggest album releases in music history.

In the music business, we continue to be responsible for empowering artists and providing them with resources. However, to move forward we must understand that we are now dealing with a world where the consumer is the ultimate influencer and they value access over ownership.

Building, managing, and monetizing music stardom is a whole new game. To decode its rules, we will be sitting down with Guy Oseary during this week's REVOLT Music Conference. Guy spearheaded the recent U2 launch through Apple, and will share insights on how to work this new system.