In the past 20 years or so, all sectors of the music industry have been through massive change. Format transitions, company consolidation and greater scrutiny of copyright and licensing have changed the industry beyond all recognition. But have the changes made for industry improvements, and more important, have the main players learned from their mistakes? The recent discovery of the first issues of Music & Copyright has allowed for a unique look at just how much certain things have changed, and how much they haven’t.
The newsletter’s 20-year anniversary came and went in September, but thanks to a long-standing subscriber, copies of the first 24 issues published have been found and make for interesting reading. Despite containing names that have either long since left the music industry or been swallowed up as part of industry consolidation, the headlines for a number of news stories resonate closely with happenings today. Continue reading
Toward the end of last year, Deezer and iTunes extended their footprints to include several countries that are often considered emerging markets. The growth of broadband Internet use around the world, providing access to a wealth of unauthorized recorded music, has made life difficult for new digital-service rollouts. But with the balance of economic power expected to shift away from the current leaders, is now the time for the emerging markets to start living up to their name? Continue reading
Music buyers in Japan are continuing to confound the rest of world, with digital sales falling and physical-format sales rising. Recent figures published by Japanese music trade association the RIAJ show that the once loved mobile music formats are continuing to suffer big drops in sales. Internet sales are growing but nowhere near fast enough to stem Japan’s digital-music collapse. 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
As the issue of multiterritory licensing comes under the spotlight in Europe, differences in rates charged and rights splits will become more evident. Will an EU directive that breaks down national borders be followed by a bigger push for deeper collection-society harmonization across the region?
With publication of the European Commission’s new multiterritory licensing proposals, Brussels’ efforts to harmonize the EU’s digital-music landscape are looking to build on legislation harmonizing authors’ and publishers’ rights that are managed by collection societies. 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
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
The number of digital tracks available to music customers has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years. At launch, Apple’s iTunes offered only 200,000 tracks, and the company says it now has more than 18 million tracks in its database. Users have never had it so good and to help them find the music they want, a number of digital-media companies are building customized high-performance music-discovery engines, seeking to offer the “perfect” version of such a service. Continue reading
The two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales last year were pop and rock. According to the annual genre study by Music & Copyright, retail sales of pop music stood at US$7.3 billion in 2010, while retail sales of rock music totaled US$6.2 billion. Pop sales had a better year than rock, falling by just 3% compared with rock’s decline of 6.6%. However, sales of jazz, classical and other smaller genres fared worse last year. Continue reading
Spotify is reducing the amount of music that free users of the service can stream, capping it at 10 hours per month. This should not come as a surprise. It is simply part of a “get them hooked, then make them pay” strategy Spotify began when it reduced the free service from unlimited to twenty hours listening a week. Continue reading