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What’s in the latest issue of Music & Copyright?

Issue and ItalyThe newsletter begins with a look at the ruling by the European Court of Justice on website blocking. In a case referred by the Austrian Supreme Court, the ECJ said an ISP can be required to block subscriber access to websites that infringe copyright. However, any block must ensure a fair balance between the opposing interests that are protected by fundamental rights.

The ECJ said that a person who makes protected content available to the public on a website without the agreement of the rights holder is using the services of the business that provides Internet access to people accessing that subject matter. According to the published ruling, an ISP is “an inevitable actor in any transmission of an infringement over the Internet between one of its customers and a third party.” Therefore, an ISP that enables its customers to access protected subject matter made available to the public online by a third party is an intermediary whose services are used to infringe a copyright.

Our second feature examines the latest figures published by the Brazilian trade association ABPD. As recently as 2011, Brazil was still outside the mainstream globally when it came to trade revenues from recorded music. Its trade revenues from physical recorded-music sales actually rose that year, as did its overall recorded-music trade revenues. But trade revenues from physical formats have begun falling sharply, and gains made by digital services in the country are struggling to counter the demise of the once-dominant CD. According to ABPD, total trade revenues from its member companies, which include all of the majors and most Brazilian independents, were down 4.8% last year, to BRL374.1 million (US$174.4 million), from BRL392.9 million in 2012. Continue reading

Music & Copyright is 500 today

500Today is a big day for all of us at Music & Copyright as we have just published our 500th issue. When the first issue was put together back in September 1992, little did we think that Music & Copyright would still be as popular with subscribers as it is today. A lot has changed in the recorded-music and music publishing sectors over the last 22 years or so, but one thing has remained unmoved, and that is the importance of copyright.

Challenges to rights holders to maintain the value of copyright in an increasingly digital world have meant changes to the way rights are protected and administered. The launch of new digital-music services and means of distributing recorded-music has seen rights administration evolve at national, regional and global levels. However, central to this evolution has been ensuring that rights holders are rewarded for their creative work.

Looking back at some of the early editions of Music & Copyright, most of the names have either long since left the music industry or been swallowed up as part of industry consolidation. However, the headlines for several stories resonate closely with happenings today. For example, the first issue led with the headline European tape levy income may top US$600 million a year and described how the European Commission was examining proposals to protect private copying remuneration. Fast forward to last week and we see that the European Parliament voted in favor of new proposals to modernize the current private copying remuneration system. Other articles in the latest issue also resonate with days gone by with format changes impacting on sales figures and record company consolidation affecting financial results.

As we now look forward to the next 500 issues, I hope Music & Copyright is still delivering the right balance of news and views and that its own evolution has improved the news service. Certainly our feedback since I became editor five years ago (has it really been that long?) would suggest it has.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Has streaming really brought the good times back to Sweden’s recorded-music sector?

Earlier this week Sweden’s local music trade association Grammofonleverantorernas Forening (GLF) proudly reported that total trade revenues from recorded-music sales increased 5.1% last year, to SEK991.2 million (US$152.2 million), from SEK943.6 million in 2012. The rate of growth was lower than the 13.8% year-on-year increase in 2012, but higher than the 0.5% upswing in 2011. Streaming was the big winner, with record company earnings from services such as Spotify and WiMP rising to SEK705.9 million, from SEK541.6 million in 2012. Based on the latest GLF figures, streaming accounted for slightly more than 71% of total trade revenues in 2013, up from 57.4% in 2012 and just 1.5% in 2008.

Sweden sales 2000-2013

In a statement, the GLF CEO Ludvig Werner said three straight years of growth had pushed trade revenues to their highest level since 2004. However, he cautioned that record company earnings are still just 60% of the peak year of 2000.

With all the headlines about Sweden’s streaming boom, it is easy to forget how big the Swedish recorded-music market once was and how far it has fallen. Moreover, there are plenty of questions over how high streaming sales can actually go, particularly given the slowdown in the growth rate of streaming earnings (30.3% in 2013, down from 55.4% in 2012).

In just six years, sales of CDs in Sweden have more than halved, yet there is little published evidence detailing whether those CD buyers have switched to digital or are simply buying less recorded-music. In the early years of digital, falling trade revenues were a clear indicator that consumers were either switching to unauthorized services, or abandoning the recorded-music industry altogether. Download sales have never really taken hold in Sweden and so the big unknown is whether music subscription services have attracted consumers that stopped buying recorded-music, or whether the services are simply causing a redistribution of trade revenues from CDs and downloads.

Rising earnings suggests the growth has come from more than simple cannibalization, but it would be easy to gloss over the possibility that fewer Swedes are spending money on recorded-music, and that those consumers that are spending, are spending more. If that is the case then there will be a limit on how big the streaming boom will take Sweden’s recorded-music sector. No one is expecting streaming sales to keep on rising, but if streaming can’t return record company earnings to 2000 levels, then what can?

Music & Copyright
If you like this blog then Music & Copyright might be just what you are looking for. It is a fortnightly research service covering global copyright and legal issues affecting the music industry. It is unrivalled in its coverage of this complex and fascinating area of the music industry. It is also why our extensive client list includes companies and organizations from all sectors of the music industry operating all around the world. But don’t take our word for it, please get in touch and we will send you the latest issue.

Music & Copyright is published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Spotify accounts filed with UK Companies House show decrease in revenues for 2012

spotify_logo-copy1-1According to its latest filing with Companies House in the UK, where it is based, Spotify posted a decrease in revenues, from £96.5 million in 2011, to £92.6 million in 2012. Advertising revenue increased, from £8.1 million to £9.1 million, but sales of subscriptions were down, from £72.5 million to £64.8 million. Losses after tax for 2012 totaled £10.1 million, reversing a £21 million profit in 2011.
Spotify accounts 2012

It is worth noting that the new figures are for Spotify Ltd only – the Spotify Group accounts came out in July and showed the subscription service generated revenues of €434.7 million (US$584 million) last year, up 128.3% from €190.4 million in 2011. Those accounts were filed with the registry of companies in Luxembourg by its holding company, Spotify Technology. Also worth pointing out is that during the first 5 months of 2011, global premium revenue was recognized in Spotify Ltd. But from as from June 2011 the premium service was provided locally and so the revenue was recognized in the local sales subscriptions.

The rate of growth in the wider subscription sector makes the UK figures a little misleading, particularly given the number of markets Spotify is now available in. Although the company hasn’t updated its subscriber numbers since March (6 million paying users and 24 million active users), both those totals will have increased. By how much, we will all have to wait and see.

Music & Copyright
If you like this blog then Music & Copyright might be just what you are looking for. It is a fortnightly research service covering global copyright and legal issues affecting the music industry. It is unrivalled in its coverage of this complex and fascinating area of the music industry. It is also why our extensive client list includes companies and organizations from all sectors of the music industry operating all around the world. But don’t take our word for it, please get in touch and we will send you the latest issue.

Music & Copyright is published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Why reports on the evolution of the music industry should focus on earnings and not on format wars

For anyone interested in the recorded-music industry and where it is headed, it is difficult to escape the many articles and reports speculating on how music will be served to consumers in the coming years. For those living in Norway or Sweden the answer is already very clear with music subscription services leading the charge to a growth in sales after countless years of decline. Such has been the rise in music subscriptions in the two countries, streaming now forms part of sales charts published each week. IFPI Norway added streaming to album charts from the beginning of November. Previously, the album chart had only included physical sales and downloads. Sweden added streaming to its national album chart in October. IFPI Norway said by including streaming figures the album and singles charts reflected “the total consumption of music in Norway.” Streaming has been included in the Norwegian singles chart since the spring of 2011.

Adding streaming usage to a sales chart is a natural progression in the collation of music sales and recognition of how accessing recorded-music has changed. Excluding streaming from sales charts, particularly in a country where the majority of trade revenues now come from subscription services, would make those charts incomplete, unrepresentative and irrelevant. Continue reading

Imagine if subscribing to music services became as popular as pay-TV

Global musicMusic-subscription services are in the headlines for one reason or another on an almost daily basis. The leading services are either hailed as the savior of the recorded-music industry or are criticized for not paying artists enough for the use of their music. Arguments and differences of opinion will most likely rumble on for years to come until the next big thing emerges promising a brighter future for all.

What should be remembered is that despite the rapid rise to dominance in some northern European countries, the subscription model is still in the early stages of development. Plenty of artists initially held off from making their music available to download stores, but virtually all of the big-name holdouts have now relented. It is also worth noting that subscription services have only just scratched the surface of what they can offer. Take the latest deal between the Norwegian music-streaming service WiMP and the Olav Thon Group (OTG) announced this week. WiMP is to provide unlimited music for users of the OTG’s hotels and restaurants across Scandinavia. If that sort of deal became common elsewhere in the world then subscription revenues would start to look pretty healthy and the doomsayers just might change their minds over the benefits of streaming. Continue reading

Should this website be allowed to have a Facebook profile?

FacebookEarlier this month Music & Copyright conducted its third annual survey of unauthorized music download sites. Like last year and the year before, advertising for a large number of blue-chip companies and media-content services was found on several of the sites surveyed. Most of the companies contacted by Music & Copyright were fairly oblivious to the fact that their ads appeared alongside promotions for “Russian wives” and “Asian babes.” None of the companies placed the ads on the websites, but were displayed through the use of blind advertising networks.

The current issue of Music & Copyright gives all the details on which companies were the worst offenders and which were doing their best to control advertising overspill. But what was interesting this time around was the realization of the problem rights holders face when trying to have content removed from unauthorized music download sites and the support these sites receive from the big social networks. Continue reading

Demystifying Pan-European digital-music rights, second edition

Report coverInforma Telecoms & Media today announced the publication of the second edition of its highly successful report Demystifying Pan-European digital-music rights. The report neatly illustrates what repertoire is controlled by what collection society or licensing hub in 30 of Europe’s most vibrant recorded-music markets. Continue reading

Rock and dance burst the pop music bubble

Bubble_b&w
New research published today by the Informa Telecoms & Media news service Music & Copyright reveals that global retail sales of rock music increased 2.9% last year, to US$6 million, from US$5.8 million in 2011. Pop may still be the world’s most popular type of music, but retail sales of the genre were down 1%, to US$7.4 million, from US$7.5 million. Continue reading

The impact of streaming on download sales and why there is no simple answer to the question of cannibalization

sub vs dldIn the past few months the publication of detailed national digital-music sales figures has illustrated great differences between countries’ digital-music-buying habits. Published analysis of digital-music sales patterns has drawn a variety of conclusions regarding whether subscription streaming services are cannibalizing download sales. However, as subscribing to music starts to become mainstream and download sales begin leveling off, or falling, more and more people are asking whether streaming is to blame. Continue reading