2023 has proven to be an extraordinary year for live music, with some of the biggest names in the industry captivating audiences around the world. Taylor Swift's Eras tour, Beyoncé's Renaissance tour, and U2's highly anticipated opening of the new Las Vegas venue Sphere have all played a significant role in this year's success.
Additionally, the year marked the grand finale of Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Sadly, Bruce Springsteen had to postpone his remaining 2023 tour dates to 2024 due to his recovery from peptic ulcer disease.
David Schulhof, founder and CEO of the MUSQ Global Music Industry ETF, expressed his lack of surprise at the level of attention these tours have received. "People crave the live music experience," he stated. "There's nothing quite like it."
The MUSQ ETF and Sphere Entertainment Co.
The MUSQ ETF was introduced in July and boasts approximately 50 holdings across various sectors, including streaming, content and distribution, live music, satellite and broadcast, and equipment and technology. One of its standout holdings is Sphere Entertainment Co. (SPHR), the proud owner of Sphere, a groundbreaking 360-foot-tall immersive concert and entertainment venue located in Las Vegas. Sphere recently commenced a 25-show residency with an awe-inspiring concert by Irish rock legends U2.
Schulhof enthusiastically shared his excitement for live music enthusiasts, emphasizing that they would undoubtedly relish this remarkable venue. The positive response to Sphere's opening was reflected in its stock performance, with shares experiencing an impressive 11.11% increase after Friday's launch, marking the biggest single-day percentage gain since February 9th.
Other Notable Holdings in the MUSQ ETF
Apart from Sphere Entertainment Co., the MUSQ ETF also includes other prominent companies in its portfolio. These include media technology firm Avid Technology Inc. (AVID), sound technology innovator Dolby Laboratories Inc. (DLB), smart speaker manufacturer Sonos Inc. (SONO), event promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV), venue operator Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSGE), satellite radio provider Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (SIRI), and European ticketing giant CTS Eventim AG & Co (EVD). With $11.7 million in assets under management, the MUSQ ETF is poised for continued growth.
The Impact of Taylor Swift on the Los Angeles Economy
In an intriguing related story, Taylor Swift's devoted fans contributed significantly to the economy of Los Angeles, boosting it by an impressive $320 million through their enthusiasm and support. The demand for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see Taylor Swift, priced at $35,000, resulted in a remarkable economic impact.
With the unwavering devotion of music lovers, the live music industry continues to thrive in 2023. Audiences worldwide eagerly anticipate future tours and new experiences that bring them closer to their favorite artists.
AI and Blockchain Revolutionizing the Music Industry
Former president of music publishing at LiveOne Inc., Schulhof, believes that AI and blockchain are the next big things in the music industry. According to Schulhof, AI is revolutionizing creativity and productivity for artists today, providing them with a myriad of tools to create new music for their fans.
One significant example of AI's impact on music was the news that the Beatles used AI to include John Lennon's voice on a new song. Although this decision divided fans of the iconic Liverpool band, musicians have been pondering the technology's influence.
Schulhof suggests that AI can be applied to the individual audio tracks, or "stems," that artists use to create complete songs. By accessing these stems, artists can create new works that add a unique twist to their music.
However, Schulhof acknowledges that AI also poses challenges to the music industry. The controversy caused by an AI-generated song using cloned voices of Drake and The Weeknd highlighted two significant threats: piracy and market dilution. Despite this, Schulhof believes that the benefits of AI outweigh the risks.
In addition to AI, Schulhof sees blockchain as an opportunity for artists to enhance their relationships with fans, particularly through non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Blockchain technology can also speed up payments to artists, eliminating the common issue of waiting nine months for payment after a song has appeared on the radio. By removing the middleman, blockchain offers a more efficient way for artists to receive compensation.
Blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger of transactions, has gained popularity in recent years, serving as the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Schulhof emphasizes that the combination of AI and blockchain is truly revolutionizing the music industry.
Opinion: The Controversy Surrounding the Beatles' Use of AI
Amidst the excitement surrounding the Beatles using AI to include John Lennon's voice on a new song, there are those who question the necessity and authenticity of this approach.