The music industry continues to evolve at breakneck speed, as startups, legacy brands, and artists alike look for business models that will succeed in the streaming era. Even as streaming music shoots past the 100 million paying subscriber mark—a milestone led by Spotify and its brilliant blend of machine and human curation—many people are still happy to buy music, as Bandcamp‘s growth and profitability show, and startups like ReplyYes are finding new ways to sell vinyl to fans.
While superstars like Drake and Beyoncé had a blockbuster year in 2016, thanks to innovative album release strategies crafted for the streaming age, most artists are waiting for the economics of streaming music to pay off for them. In the meantime, Kobalt is using technology to track down unpaid royalties, and Songkick aims to bolster touring revenue for musicians with personalized concert listings data. If nothing else, fans can keep up with their favorite musicians on Instagram, which is quickly becoming an indispensable tool for artists.
Click on a company name to learn more about why it made the list.
For using data to find the right tunes
02. PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT
For making Lemonade out of a fractured landscape
For defying the death of downloads
04. OVO SOUND
For making Drake an early winner of the streaming wars
For personalizing concert listings
For sniffing out artists’ royalties across the web
For becoming BFFs with pop stars
08. ATLANTIC RECORDS
For racking up the gold (and platinum)
09. MOOG MUSIC
For finding digital relevance for analog synths
For using chatbots to sell vinyl records