Stephen Blackwell, who founded Death and Taxes and successfully led SpinMedia as CEO, is a respected presence in the entertainment sphere. Currently focused on digital media investments, Stephen Blackwell maintains a strong interest in music marketing and sales trends.
One recent major development involved Sony‘s $2.3 billion purchase of a majority stake in EMI Music Publishing from the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi. This process began in 2016 with Sony’s $750 million purchase of the Jackson Estate holdings in Sony/ATV, which includes the Beatles catalog. With the latest round of acquisitions, Sony now owns 90 percent of EMI, with the remaining 10 percent in the hands of the Jackson Estate.
This major media consolidation reflects an urgent imperative for traditional media companies to scale such that they are able to compete on level footing with tech giants such as Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon. Sony is in the tricky position of not producing a best-selling mobile handset while its Music Unlimited cross-platform service departed in 2015 after failing to make a dent against Spotify and iTunes. Holding substantial music IP that includes Elvis Presley and Beyonce, as well as the Fab Four, gives Sony critical content leverage, despite not being at the consumer point of contact.