With 2023 coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on another year in the music business — one that saw both record revenues and widespread upheaval, new technology anxieties and age-old questions of accounting, and ebbs and flows in consumer tastes and business transactions.
It was also a year that heralded a new era of change, with many companies and executives looking to find ways to better position themselves for the remainder of the decade. Whether that was calling for new payment models for the industry, shedding jobs to pivot towards profitability or reviewing their practices to shift into a new era, it’s been a year of existential self-examination for many as all layers of the biz seem to be on the verge of a new era.
At the same time, there were new twists on well-worn paths to success, some conclusions to long-running questions and long-dormant issues that raised their heads once again. Trends that many thought would die down have nonetheless endured, genres rose to the forefront that had seemed destined to forever remain under the radar and long-held truths and partnerships broke down under the bright lights and pressures of the mainstream.
There were also tentpoles of massive success, with record-setting tours and albums and artists that simply blew away the competition, with levels of dominance that only come around once a decade — or a generation. Here, in the waning days of the year, Billboard looks back at 10 of the biggest news stories in the music business this year.
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