If Robert Kyncl’s career is an indication of which part of the entertainment industry is about to take off, then maybe we should put our life savings into a music company. Kyncl—who spent the past decade as a senior executive at the YouTube rocket ship and earlier worked at Netflix—was on Wednesday named CEO of Warner Music Group. Warner, owner of labels such as Atlantic Records and Warner Records, is an iconic company in the music industry. But let’s face it—until recently, music had not been a growth industry for…well, decades.
Kyncl’s decision to leave YouTube for Warner signals just how much music has recovered. After suffering through the dislocation of digital technologies (including piracy) 20 years ago, music companies have found multiple new revenue sources, including licensing deals with everyone from Facebook to YouTube to streaming services such as Spotify. Industry leader Universal Music Group reported 17% revenue growth in the first half of this year on a constant currency basis, following a similar growth rate in 2021. Warner Music, the No. 3 player after Sony Music and Universal, grew revenues 15% last year and slightly more so far this year.