When the global pandemic emerged in 2020, the music industry faced its greatest challenge—live venues were shuttered and countless music events and festivals were indefinitely canceled, taking their predicted revenue with them. Addison Hellum is the CEO and founder of Starling and has a front-row view of the impact of the global pandemic on the music industry.
Hellum describes the pandemic’s impact on the music industry as rapid and brutal. Live performance revenue is one of the tentpoles of the music industry and is not going away any time soon. He says the loss of important revenue streams from live events, such as sponsorship deals, gave the music industry an unprecedented blow, forcing it to devise new ways to monetize music events.
According to Hellum, necessity truly is the mother of invention as the music industry regrouped and made new plans. The famous Glastonbury music festival will be going ahead this summer, although artists will be performing to an empty venue as festival goers will only be able to attend virtually. It’s not only live music that has seen great change in light of the pandemic, but the distribution of music has also been affected with music streaming services becoming almost essential to the industry. However, Hellum can handle the huge upsurge in demand for digital music better than others in the industry. He understands first-hand because his company Starling deals with the distribution of digital music, promotion, and artist management. According to Hellum, the future of the music industry lies within the digital world. He says, “Almost every aspect of music has moved online, from creation and distribution to the streaming of live music events. It is now clear that the future of the music industry is digital.”
Hellum started Starling to not only make a mark on the music industry but to also give independent artists access to the same tools and support of major record labels. His journey saw him managing many electronic music artists, allowing them to share their unique sounds across the web and beyond. While the events of the global pandemic greatly impacted the music industry, Hellum believes that the industry, which thrives on innovation, will survive, and possibly become even stronger than before.