Digital Disruption and Music Economics With Former Spotify Chief Economist Will Page

Will Page, former Chief Economist at Spotify and PRS for Music, discusses world trends in the IFPI Global Music Report 2019, his "Batman" life as a young Scottish government economist by day and Straight No Chaser music journalist by night, what economics have to do with the music industry, his enduring love for Ghanian Highlife, the huge value of music copyright, and how music streaming subscription fees are connected to Blockbuster Video memberships.

Will Page is an economist, a DJ, and most importantly, the biggest supporter of Tynecastle Park’s Heart of Midlothian Football Club #boysinmaroon. A graduate of Scotland’s University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh, he began his career as an economist with the Government of Scotland while moonlighting as a music journalist for the Straight No Chaser Magazine.

Soon thereafter, Page became the Chief Economist for the United Kingdom’s largest collection society, PRS for Music. After that, he assumed the same title for Stockholm-based streaming platform Spotify.

Will is now a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts in London, a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, and a non-Executive Director at music licensing company SoundVault. In what little spare time he has, he’s busy at work on his upcoming book Pivot, which is about digital disruption and the economics behind it.

We discuss:
  • His continuing love for soul music, including his DJ mixes on MixCloud and Blackstars of High Life, his documentary on Ghanian Jazz, Afrobeat, and Funk
  • His double agent life in his 20s as a Scottish government economist by day and Straight No Chaser music journalist by night
  • What economics has to do with the music industry
  • His May 2020 Billboard feature, "Peak Streaming: Are We There Yet?"
  • His February 2020 Billboard feature, "Is the Music Copyright Business Worth More Than Ever?"
  • His quotes in John Thornhill's March 2020 Financial Times op-ed, "How Covid-19 Is Accelerating the Shift From Transport to Teleport"
  • His upcoming book on digital disruption, Pivot: Ten Lessons in Tarzan Economics that Help You Navigate Disruption
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