In 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
Talking to rights holders in the run up to the CISAC World Creators Summit in Washington, it seems that few agree that any country has the right balance between certain technology companies’ use of music and the abuse of copyright. Google has been on the receiving end of several legal actions by a number of rights holders that have claimed its online video service YouTube has either not acted quickly enough to remove content when asked, or is using content that it has no license for. Ever-troubling for rights holders is the fact that it is their responsibility to check whether music is being used correctly and not the responsibility of the digital-music service. Continue reading
Google has launched a music-subscription service to complement the sale of music downloads from Google Play. The strangely titled Google Play Music All Access will go up against the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and Xbox Music in the US, with overseas rollouts expected soon. There is no advertising-supported tier, and a monthly subscription costs US$9.99. An introductory price of US$7.99 is in place until the end of June. Like its rivals, All Access offers curated playlists and suggested music-discovery options. All Access ties in with Google’s music-locker service, which provides storage for up to 20,000 tracks owned by a user. Continue reading
Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors has revealed how much Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony have benefited in market-share terms from the breakup of EMI and the consolidation of the two music-industry sectors. UMG cemented its position as the largest recorded-music company last year, and Sony is now the clear leader in terms of corporate publishing control. Continue reading
Depending on where a musician sits in the music industry value chain, a top-10 list of what’s most important to an unsigned artist will differ greatly to one compiled by a million-album seller. Scratching a living out of music is something tens of thousands of musicians do every day. Although the Internet has opened up the promotion and distribution of music to anyone with a computer, it has also made selling music a lot more difficult as almost every single release in a digital-music store is available for free somewhere online. Continue reading
Celebrating a rise in global recorded-music trade revenues is something most in the music industry under the age of 30 have never done. After a flattening in trade revenues in 1999, every subsequent year through 2011 saw revenues drop. Last year, however, the industry experienced slight growth, bringing an end to a 12-year contraction streak.
The IFPI cautioned against getting too carried away with the result, and digging into the different national-trade-association results suggests it was right to do so. Moreover, although a 9% rise in digital sales was the driving force behind the return to overall growth, the differences in the performance and transformation of the leading markets effectively make any evaluation of the global recorded-music industry almost irrelevant. Continue reading
Last year the European Commission introduced new proposals for a directive on the collective management of copyright and multiterritory licensing of music. The proposals, which target collection-society transparency and the efficient working of digital-distribution businesses in Europe, are working their way through a series of committees. After that, they must be agreed upon by the European Parliament and European Council of Ministers.
What the directive will not do is interfere with the way music publishers administer their rights. All of the major publishers and a number of independents have withdrawn the rights to certain repertoire for licensing on a multiterritorial basis. Some see these moves as a step towards the creation of a new form of fragmentation, one based on repertoire, rather than national borders. Publishers have long claimed that withdrawing certain repertoire rights streamlines the licensing process. However, music ownership can involve multiple publishers and therefore digital services that want to provide an all-encompassing offering still need to sign more licensing deals than the number of countries they operate in. Continue reading
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
The accuracy of data regarding the reported use of music is key in determining the level of royalties paid to authors, publishers, performers and producers. Improvements in technology to identify what music has been played and performed at all manner of venues and establishments has resulted in higher collections and greater confidence that royalties are reaching the correct recipients. But is there a point where collection costs outweigh the benefits? And if so, are the smaller, less commercial artists the ones in danger of missing out? Continue reading