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Shallow catalog makes noise in the music industry


Shallow catalog makes noise in the music industry


The Future. As thousands of songs are uploaded to Spotify daily, music is aging faster than ever. However, people are listening to “shallow catalog” — modern pop classics from the last 10 years — more often than new music. This trend might inspire younger artists to sell off their music rights earlier in their careers and ride the nostalgia wave to the bank.

Oldie but goodie
What defines “new” music these days? According to the industry’s primary data provider Luminate, songs younger than 18 months are current, and everything else is catalog.

While current music’s share of total consumption has declined, catalog’s share of total consumption has skyrocketed, reports Bloomberg.

  • Catalog’s share of consumption reached 74% in 2021 compared to 66% in 2020 — and lower in the years before that.
  • Music companies are marketing older albums from artists to support their new releases. Warner Music Group just launched 10-year anniversary campaigns for records from Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran.
  • Streaming has made older songs more accessible to listeners. As music becomes more valuable in the streaming era, more artists are cementing their legacies by selling their catalogs to the tune of millions.

Is current music dead?
Hit songs — like The Weeknd’s “Die For You” from 2016 — are staying on the charts longer, which might force the music industry to adjust its definition of catalog.

Whether a song is current or catalog, it doesn’t matter so long as it’s catchy.

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