Record companies are now selling basically anything they can think of to anyone who will buy it.
With music-streaming services stymieing the practice of buying records, and multinational promoters eating into concert profits, music labels have been forced to dream up new sources of revenue. As a marketing executive at Universal, where he has worked since 2007, Sena had orchestrated deals between artists and brands like A.T. & T., Jeep, and Lifetime Fitness, where new gym members received a gift certificate for fifty free MP3s to build a gym playlist. None were destined to be multibillion-dollar endeavors. In 2014, when Apple paid three billion dollars to acquire Beats—a company built by Dr. Dre, an artist under the Universal Music umbrella—Sena wondered what his big break might be.
Then he found studies reporting that millennials are responsible for almost half of the country’s wine consumption. Other studies showed that millennials were spending a good portion of their disposable income on “experience”-based purchases like music festivals. All of those millennials attending festivals, he reasoned, probably wanted to drink a bunch of wine.