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Predictions 2024: Tom Allen

February 18, 2024 by Team Downtown

Tom Allen (wide)

Next up in our predictions series, we welcome Curve President, Tom Allen...

How do you predict technology will impact your part of the business and the industry at large in 2024?

How many people have answered some form of AI to this question!?

But of course, it is likely true. How we use AI to be more productive is a current fascination of mine. These new specific GPTs that everyone can define are super interesting. We’re already using them in our team, and we’re constantly exploring ways we can use and improve them. Analyzing data is becoming increasingly easy through AI now too, baked into Excel and Google Sheets, along with other tools. It’s giving powerful analytical tools to more people, without needing to have SQL skills.

Of course, the most interesting place to think about AI is within our products. We have been exploring how we make the royalties processes much more efficient for the end user, from analyzing data for missing or potential revenue, through future revenue predictions, to making matching sales to catalog a much more streamlined process. There’s a lot that can be done, but I’m a pragmatist, and we’re focused on genuine value for our users, not just adding an AI tagline to our product.

What do you think presents the biggest opportunity for creators and their teams?

TA: The continued strength in sales of physical goods, whether that’s vinyl, special editions, or anything is good to see. It indicates that people are buying into the culture of their favorite artists, and not just taking surface-level engagement as the endpoint. The thousand true fans theory is as strong today as it ever was, and platforms like Ochre or Bandcamp making it easier for artists to set up and sell their records.

I like how the mix of D2C, focus on super-fans, and then streaming providing access, is a shift in thinking - Spotify playlists are no longer the sole focus of every marketer! Having this mix in every campaign, and providing the right products for the fans at each level of fanaticism is important.

When we think about what fans are buying into - what is the job this fan is employing the artist to do - when they feel an emotional attachment, a sense of belonging, then it’s clear a stream isn’t going to fill that hole. We’ve always known this in the music industry, but it feels like we edge slightly closer to this in each iteration of it.

What is the most important thing the industry should look to achieve in 2024?

TA: Stamping out fraud in the ecosystem. Online advertising fraud is the second largest revenue for organized crime and has made the online ad ecosystem full of waste - $68bn was lost to fraud. We can’t see the music streaming ecosystems go the same way. So making sure we don’t end up with revenues leaving the music ecosystem is crucial, and efforts are being made on all sides, which is great to see.

In my own business, I’d also like to see royalty cycles shortened from 6 months. This is a legacy from when the process was far more labor-intensive, and the chain from the record store, through sub-distributor, distributor, and label was far slower. Now revenues are paid so much faster and reliably through the digital supply chain, and reporting is far easier. Where we’re in a competitive landscape - artists can sign directly to distributors for label services - then this could be more competitive.

Your artist or business to watch in 2024.

TA: Zach Bryan - that may be old news in the US, but I’m hoping he’ll be big in the UK too.

Business-wise - Legitary is interesting. Doing some great data analysis for people to find issues in their royalty processes.