Earlier today the European Commission said yes to Vivendi/UMG’s bid to buy EMI Recorded Music. The full Commission press statement is here . Is anyone surprised at the outcome? Our guess is no. If the Commission didn’t want the deal to go through it would have said so months ago.
In the release there are some big name artists that are part of the Parlaphone sell-off (Coldplay, David Guetta, Tinie Tempah). The statement issued earlier today by the Association of Independent Music’s Chairman and Chief Executive Alison Wenham described these divestments as “the crown jewels of EMI.” But there are also quite a lot of artists and bands being divested whose best days are behind them (Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Jethro Tull, Depeche Mode, Moby) and whose value is going to lessen over time. But, UMG has The Beatles and so the company now has the two biggest UK bands ever (inc. The Rolling Stones) in its stable. Other icons moving under UMG’s control include the Beach Boys, Genesis and Bob Seger. Contemporary big names that pass to UMG include Katy Perry, Emeli Sandé, Robbie Williams, Herbert Grönemeyer, Lady Antebellum and Norah Jones. Continue reading
Over the past decade or so, the assessment of the recorded-music industry has shifted from retail sales to trade value. The complexities and the growing number of business models involved in the delivery of digital music, coupled with unknown retail markups, make quantifying the retail value of recorded-music sales speculative at best. But the enduring appeal of ring tones and ring-back tones in some less-developed countries suggests that the size of the global retail pie has not changed; there are just more players taking a slice. Continue reading
Earlier this week the BBC reported the drop in file sharing following the court-ordered block of the Pirate Bay (TPB) was short-lived (link to article). The BBC said it had been shown data by an unnamed major UK ISP which confirmed that P2P activity on the ISP’s network had returned to just below normal one week after the block was put in place. Should we all be surprised by this? Of course not. Stopping Internet users in the UK from accessing TPB won’t stop them file sharing. What will stop them file sharing is if ISPs blocked access to all file sharing services. Interestingly enough, most ISPs’ customer-use policies make it clear that the Internet service provided should not be used to infringe copyright. In fact, the usage policy usually forms part of a contract, and therefore any breach of this contract should result in the customer’s account being terminated. Such a scenario never happens. Continue reading
For a number of years, the MP3 audio codec dominated digital-music downloading. MP3 was initially synonymous with illegal downloading, but in 2007 the major record companies dropped their opposition to selling music in unprotected formats. Although Apple chose to stick with the AAC codec, most others opted for MP3. Until recently little has changed in terms of quality. But with broadband speeds and household penetration continuing to rise, is now the time for the music industry to up its focus on quality? Continue reading
New research published today by the Informa news service Music & Copyright reveals that global retail sales of pop music increased 2.3% last year, to US$7.5 billion. Pop ended 2011 as the world’s favorite music genre, accounting for 31.9% of global music sales. Total retail sales slipped 3.7% last year, to US$23.3 billion, so the growth of pop sales was all the more impressive. Continue reading
Political change has come to France and the impact of the switch to a socialist president, following the election of François Hollande earlier this month, could be felt by the music industry. Hollande has begun looking at reforming tough anti-piracy measures despite claims from the music industry that targeting file sharers is beginning to generate increased interest in the legal digital sector. Continue reading
Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music-publishing industries has revealed that Universal Music Group (UMG) remained the world’s biggest record company and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) the largest music-publishing company in 2011. The positioning of each of the four major record-label and music-publishing companies was unchanged last year. Although this lack of change could suggest that 2011 offered up “more of the same” in the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors, such an assumption would be wide of the mark. Continue reading
The number of digital-music services in Europe is growing every year and consumers across the continent are being presented with an array of different ways to listen to music. Digital-music delivery and consumption has undergone a rapid transition. However, such has been the speed of the sector’s evolution, new business models specializing in digital-music delivery across Europe have forced those organizations charged with issuing licenses to rethink the way they operate.
Music publishers and collection-societies in Europe have taken to the task in different ways (see below table for major music publisher initiative details). But, in contrast to a few years ago, when digital-music services were required to negotiate countless licensing deals, agreements between music publishers and collection-societies have reduced the necessity for endless rounds of licensing negotiations. Continue reading
Last month the European Composer & Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) held a press conference at the Silken Berlaymont Hotel in Brussels to brief news reporters about a stance it was taking against European broadcasters on behalf of music composers. ECSA accused Europe’s leading broadcasters of forcing composers to give up their rights in return for TV commissions. Big names in broadcasting, such as RTL, ITV, BskyB, TF1, ZDF and Rai, were all accused of operating a system called coercive commissioning – in return for awarding a composer with a commission, the composer must assign all rights in the music to the broadcaster or TV production company. Put simply, no rights, no commission. Continue reading
In the two weeks before the publication of the current issue of Music & Copyright, we conducted a poll of visitors to this blog asking whether Adele’s success disproved the argument that major-record-company dominance hampered market access for independent artists. Unsurprisingly, the majority of voters said no (see chart below). Despite the phenomenal success of Adele, one artist, no matter how big they have become, would certainly not be enough to invalidate the argument. But there have been a number of other indie-label successes that could form part of a case against the arguments concerning market-access restrictions. Continue reading