New issue of Music & Copyright

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Eddy Grant hits Donald Trump with copyright infringement claim over misuse of Electric Avenue
US president Donald Trump has upset a number of musicians by using their music as part of his reelection campaign without their permission. More than 50 big name artists sent an open letter to both the Republican and Democrat parties asking that they stop using their recordings for political purposes. However, the misuse has continued. Neil Young, a longtime critic of the president’s use of his work filed legal action in August at a New York federal court to try and prevent any more performances of his tracks at campaign rallies. Also in August, Eddy Grant filed a claim at the same court following the use of his biggest hit Electric Avenue in a video poking fun at the Democrat nominee Joe Biden. In a court filing, Grant, who is the owner of the master rights in the track, said the Trump team had not applied for a license to use any of his music and no permission to include the track in the video was granted.

Tough few years ahead for BUMA/STEMRA as record decline set to follow new high for collections
Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA are expecting a difficult few years for rights collections with the COVID-19 crisis tearing a hole in the budget set at the beginning of this year. Restrictions placed on consumer movements and the shuttering of the live sector will see combined collections for the societies fall this year, perhaps to the lowest level for 10 years. Distributions are also expected to take a hit. The depressing assessment follows a record year for collections and distributions. Receipts for BUMA topped the previous year’s high and despite mechanicals shrinking around the world, STEMRA registered a flat year with rising digital and private copying receipts almost offsetting declines in broadcast and phono income.

How China will determine the shape of Africa’s music streaming sector
While Africa lags behind in the take-up of music-steaming services, there are signs that Africans do have appetite for such products. The continent has spawned a number of digital music startups, with entrepreneurial Nigeria now something of a powerhouse in the space. Boomplay, which has more than 70 million users and is growing its base apace, is leading the charge and can count on the support of leading Chinese technology companies. It’s not alone. Chinese giants Tencent and Huawei are also rolling out music streaming services in the region and, together with Boomplay backer NetEase, will ensure that Sub-Saharan streaming will have something of a Chinese flavor, at least in the back rooms. Clearly, low incomes and high levels of piracy are barriers to growth, but Africa’s new players would do well to learn from the Spotify play book if they want to make headway in paid-for music.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Austria country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Round Hill takes aim at TuneCore and Believe Digital with copyright infringement claim
Round Hill Music’s publishing division has filed a lawsuit at a New York district court against the independent music distributor TuneCore, its holding company Believe Digital Holdings and their parent company Believe SAS. Round Hill has accused the three companies of reproducing and distributing more than two hundred works owned or administered by the publisher without holding the correct license. Although the system of licensing mechanical rights in the US is changing following the passing of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) and the subsequent introduction of a blanket license, some publishers are not happy that digital music services that have distributed musical works without completing the formal licensing process are effectively being let off the legal hook and so are taking the services to court.

Music publishing shines for UMG in COVID-19 impacted financials
UMG has reported a fairly positive first half year set of financials despite the difficult conditions caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Subscriptions and streaming were again the stand-out revenue source but there was a distinct difference in performance between the first and second quarters. With much of the developed world imposing restrictions on consumer movement from mid-March onwards, revenue in the second quarter suffered a slowdown. Physical sales tumbled in the second three months and the growth rate for subscriptions and streaming fell to its lowest level since Vivendi started reporting access sales figures in 2015. Inevitably, revenue for merchandizing division Bravado and the live entertainment and ticketing unit Vivendi Village suffered a particularly difficult quarter.

Twitch nudges forward under lockdown to carve a stronger music niche
Twitch has had a bountiful COVID-19 pandemic, with usage growing apace. While the online platform is primarily a gamers environment, it has become increasingly popular with emerging artists in the past few years due to its streaming capabilities. Twitch now looks to have serious music ambitions and recently cut artist and record company deals, though its rising popularity has also raised issues over the use of unlicensed works. The company has been part of Amazon since 2014 and would do well to work more closely with its sister Amazon Music, especially as the latter seems to be duplicating services that Twitch has already developed with a good deal of success. Siloing could prove detrimental to both parties.

Austria country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Austria music industry report. Austria is one of Europe’s smaller music markets. Although well-developed, with a relatively high per-capita spending rate on music, the country could be described as one of Western Europe’s laggards when it comes to the transition from physical formats to digital. Like its larger neighbor Germany, which plays host to a large sector of consumers wedded to the CD album, physical formats accounted for the biggest share of spending on recorded-music in Austria until 2018. However, digital is now dominant (see Figure 1) with streaming the biggest revenue generator for local record companies. Authors’ rights collections in the country continue to rise and royalty payments to producers and performers remain positive. Consumer spending on tickets to live music events grew last year. However, all the music industry sectors are set to be negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Sweden country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Online platforms not yet liable for the illegal uploading of protected works in Europe
Despite changes to the liability of online platforms set to change in Europe following the passing of a new copyright directive last year, an Advocate General (AG) at the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has published an opinion based on years old legislation in two long-running joined cases referred to the court by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice). The German court had asked for clarification on the position of online video service YouTube and the upload and file hosting platform Uploaded with regards to the uploading of protected works by users to the services. The AG decided that under current EU law, YouTube and Uploaded were not directly liable for any illegal uploads as they only acted as intermediary services. Also, the services were eligible for exemption from liability as they played no active role in the uploaded contents’ distribution.

Four consecutive years of growth for Hungarian royalty collections
Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS has reported a fourth consecutive year of growth in royalty collections. In a repeat of previous years, private copying was the dominant collection source with remuneration growth boosted by retroactive payments following a deal with the hardware manufacturer LG as well as increased receipts from mobile handsets and larger storage devices. Public performance registered a modest year with ARTISJUS reporting higher receipts from the hospitality sector because of the buoyancy in the economy as well as ongoing improvements in payment discipline. Broadcast revenue benefitted from a licensing agreement with the TV2 Group, operator of the second largest commercial TV channel and the payment of backdated royalties. Digital collections grew sharply with the bulk of digital income generated by VOD services in the country. However, digital remains a minor revenue source for ARTISJUS members.

Festivals take a huge hit but the live spirit forges on
The global festival calendar 2020 has been decimated by COVID-19, while there are also creeping fears for next year’s roster. Organizers that push ahead with live, physical events tailored to a pandemic are finding the process highly challenging as virus outbreaks force often precipitous changes to proceedings. In addition, those in the US can be hamstrung by a charged political environment in a presidential election year. However, European organizers are proving adept at festival innovations with new physical formats that adhere to social distancing rules. In addition, some events are deploying digital technologies that, while likely not making up for a lack of festival togetherness, are managing to provide performance-plus experiences.

Sweden country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Sweden music industry report. As home to the world’s biggest on-demand audio subscription service Spotify, Sweden has become one of the world’s most progressive recorded-music markets. The country’s digital share of trade sales last year topped 90% as combined spending on physical formats slipped to a record low. In addition to recorded music, consumer spending on tickets to live music events grew last year and royalty collections continued to break new records authors’ society STIM reporting a ninth consecutive year of collection growth. However, all the music industry sectors are set to be negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

YouTube under fire again in new copyright infringement case
YouTube and Google have been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by the composer Maria Schneider who has claimed she is denied access to the online video service’s Content ID system of copyright protection. The class action lawsuit has claimed that smaller rights holders cannot take advantage of Content ID and so are forced into sending individual takedown notices to YouTube via either a web-form, email, or postal mail for each video their searches identify. The court filing says YouTube operates a two-tier system with the rights of large creators given preference over the rights of smaller independent creators. The filing pulls no punches, describing YouTube as a hotbed of copyright infringement and claiming that restricting access to Content ID is a deliberate act designed to maximize the online video service and Google’s drive for user volume and advertising revenue.

Six straight years of revenue growth for Czech authors’ society OSA
Czech authors’ society OSA has reported a sixth straight year of royalty collection growth. The record year also meant that OSA maintained its position as a billion-koruna society. With the exception of mechanical/audiovisual, all of the main sectors were up last year with public performance registering the highest growth rate. Income from background music, live and cinema all registered double-digital percentage increases. Broadcasting receipts increased year-on-year with just radio registering a collection decline. Digital collections continued to benefit from the rise in the popularity of music streaming in the country. However, despite the growth, digital remains a minor income source for Czech authors and publishers. A higher increase in costs than collections meant costs as a share of the total collected was up year-on-year.

Leading industry stakeholders look to make black music matter more
Black Lives Matter gained serious early traction in the music industry as sector players used the movement to demonstrate their support, as well as air long-standing grievances. Leading record companies quickly rolled out initiatives and backed up promises with financial commitments, while also vowing to back systemic change. While there appears to be widespread recognition that black employees have been unfairly treated in the music business, more needs to be done to rectify the standing and condition of black artists whose output has done much to bolster the healthy balance sheets of the music industry’s commercial organizations. Parity is the core issue here and contracts and payments will rightly come under scrutiny.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry report. Of all the world’s leading recorded-music markets, Japan is the most erratic with some sizable differences in annual performance. Looking back over the last decade, total trade revenue from recorded-music sales has been inconsistent with one or two years of growth followed by a couple of years of decline. However, despite record company income from physical formats continuing to be unpredictable, the digital sector has stabilized. Moreover, following a lengthy reliance on downloads, the subscription sector now generates more than half of the total digital revenue for the local industry.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Brazil country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Tencent makes its assets sing in the global music business
China’s Tencent Holdings is building an impressive portfolio of entertainment assets, including stakes in recorded-music companies, in its home market, in Asia, and in Western markets. The technology giant certainly has global ambitions, and music sits at the heart of its entertainment empire. Interestingly, Tencent, which is on one long acquisitions spree right now, has been successful in monetizing music content in China—no mean feat—and is seeking to squeeze even more value out of the segment by combining it with its significant social media and gaming operations. Always quick to spot opportunities, Tencent has been using the dearth in live music performances due to COVID-19 to launch a live-streamed concert business. The group is well on track to becoming a major global music industry player.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé accused of copyright infringement over Black Effect intro vocal
Rapper Jay-Z, his performer wife Beyoncé, and company BJC Touring are being sued for copyright infringement, a violation of publicity rights, and unjust enrichment by a Jamaican choreographer who claims she was duped into providing a vocal that was used on the track Black Effect. The track was included on the Jay-Z/Beyoncé collaboration album Everything is Love, which was released in June 2018 and went on to achieve commercial success. The choreographer said in the court filing that she was required to sign an agreement to provide services to the defendants without having any legal counsel check over the agreement. Also, the use of the vocal was supposed to be limited to a promotional video but found its way on to the track without permission or credit.

Washington district court grants Amazon motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims
A district court in Washington has dismissed copyright infringement claims made by the heirs of three US authors against the online retail giant Amazon. The heirs had claimed that Amazon was part of an unlicensed process to make available numerous classic works by the authors. Although Amazon did not source the recordings, a separate company pulled together the tracks and through a distributor, made the albums available for sales through Amazon’s download store. Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the authors’ claims and the in June the court granted Amazon’s request. In a published opinion, the judge in the case decided that for a copyrighted work to be considered as distributed as defined by section 106 of the US Copyright Act, actual dissemination of the work must have taken place, rather than simply placing the work in a store for purchase.

Brazil country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Brazil music industry report. Following two consecutive years of contraction, retail sales of recorded-music in Brazil have risen for three years in a row. Streaming, and to a much lesser extent vinyl and synchronization, were the growth drivers with income from access services more than offsetting a collapse in sales of physical formats as well as a dip in performance rights. Umbrella rights organization ECAD reported a return to growth for collections and distributions following a decline in 2018. Brazilian events promoter Time For Fun (T4F) registered a big fall in revenue from live music promotion in the first quarter of this year due the shutdown of the live performance sector.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Germany country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Measuring the impact of a global recession on music spending
An economic recession experienced by a single country or at a regional or global level has inevitable implications for households. Depending on the depth or cause of an economic downturn, effects on consumers may be minor, or could result in bigger changes to their way of life. The current move towards economic contraction for almost all countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic falls into the latter category with real hardship set to fall on many of those affected. National governments are reporting the beginning of recessions (two consecutive quarters of negative growth) but also some optimism that the recessions will be short-lived. However, the consequences will be anything but short-lived with unemployment rates around the world rising fast. How the current situation will impact on the music industry remains to be seen. However, past research suggests that spending patterns on entertainment services change at a slow pace during recessive economic periods with many consumers choosing to cut back on other outgoings instead.

Fair use ruling saves Amazon, Apple, and Netflix from the fishhook
Three of the world’s biggest OTT video streaming services have been granted a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement claim brought by three authors of a children’s song. The claim centered on the use of a short section of the song in a film documentary about a group of burlesque dancers. The film was made available on the services operated by Amazon, Apple, and Netflix. The authors said that the use of the song was unauthorized and subsequently filed a legal case at a New York district court. The three services followed with a motion to dismiss on the grounds of fair use. The court found that the film’s incorporation of the song qualified as fair use under section 17 of the US Copyright Act and so granted the motion.

Video games stepping up to fill the live music event space
The live music business continues to have a seriously difficult time of it during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While the livestreaming of music performances initially looked to provide relief, that particular technology does not hold out much commercial promise for artists. Gaming, however, is having something of a good pandemic as citizens forced to stay in place in their homes up their domestic entertainment consumption. Hugely popular titles such as Minecraft and Fortnite are increasingly hosting music events within their gaming environments, with more in the pipeline. Paid-for festivals could prove a lifeline for live performances, while the gaming crowd’s microtransactions habit may prove lucrative too.

Germany country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Germany music industry report. Retail sales of recorded-music in Germany returned to growth in 2019 after two years of modest decline. Continued interest in subscription and streaming sales just managed to offset the drop off of physical formats and downloads. Notable in last year’s sales figures was that access service revenue accounted for more than half of the combined physical and digital total for the first time. Digital generated close to two thirds of the retail total. Sales of physical formats were down year-on-year, but the rate of decline was lessened by a return to growth for sales of vinyl and a slowdown in the demise of the CD album. International pop was again the most popular genre but a sharp rise in spending on hip-hop/rap saw the genre move second and overtake rock. Collections for authors’ society GEMA returned to growth, although the total just missed topping the record set in 2017. Ticket sales to live music events registered another record 12-months. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the sector hard.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with UK country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

How podcasts are carving out a space in the music business
Leading music companies are pushing their way into podcasts as a means of expanding their core audio entertainment bases beyond music performance. UMG is currently focusing on music-related content, for example, while SME is looking for opportunities beyond the music business. Thanks to an aggressive—and ongoing—acquisition strategy, Spotify has emerged as a major player and is now in a position to significantly develop both new business models and the format itself. Expect to see some more experimentation in and around podcasts, with Spotify the mover and shaker behind much of the action.

US Copyright Office report on safe harbors recommends a rebalance is required
The US Copyright Office has published a report looking at the impact and effectiveness of the safe harbor provisions contained in section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The study is the first conducted by the government on the effectiveness of the notice-and-takedown system since its enactment more than 20 years ago. Guiding its analysis, the office said it followed a number of principals and subsequently concluded that the operation of the section 512 safe harbor system has become unbalanced. The report highlights areas where current implementation of section 512 is out of sync with Congress’ original intent, including eligibility qualifications for the service provider safe harbors, repeat infringer policies and knowledge requirement standards. The report is not advocating big changes to section 512 but has instead identified certain areas where Congress could fine-tune section 512 to achieve a better balance between the rights and responsibilities of online service providers and rights holders in the creative industries.

JASRAC reports new highs for collections and distributions
Japanese authors’ society JASRAC has reported a second straight year of growth for collections and distributions with receipts and payments in the 12 months to end-March 2020 hitting new records. Broadcasting collections, JASRAC’s biggest income source returned to growth after a fall in the prior 12-month period. General performance income was also up, along with receipts from cable and satellite as well as background music. A new milestone for digital saw collections top mechanicals for the first time. Digital income was boosted by the uptake of music and video subscription services. CD and video mechanicals were hit by falling sales of hard formats, while games mechanicals registered another positive year on the back of rising games sales. In line with the rise in collections, distributions to its members hit a new record in the latest financial year, with broadcasting the biggest single source of earnings for Japanese authors, ahead of digital and mechanicals.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. Up to the end of last year, the UK’s music industry had experienced a positive few years with all of the major sectors on the up. After several years of decline, recorded-music trade revenue has risen for five years in a row with rising subscription sales and streaming growth, along with rising performance rights and synchronization income more than offsetting the steady decline in spending on physical formats and downloads. Last year the UK maintained third spot in the IFPI’s global ranking, ahead of Germany with trade sales surpassing £1bn ($1.2bn) for the first time for more than 10 years. UMG extended its market share lead over second placed SME with the former gaining share and the latter suffering a small. Royalty collections in the UK are on the rise with both PRS for Music and PPL continuing to register record receipts.

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UMG increases recorded-music market share lead, indies enhance publishing dominance

Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music publishing sectors has revealed the changes in global market share for the three major music groups and the independent sector. In a repeat of the last review, UMG enhanced its position as the global leader. The company registered gains in both digital and physical market shares, while the publishing unit UMPG saw its share rise. Second-placed SME had a flat year for digital but lost share overall because of a dip in the company’s physical format share. For publishing, Sony’s share was down for the second consecutive year. Smaller major WMG saw its digital share rise but the overall recorded-music performance was unchanged year-on-year because of a dip in the company’s physical share. The independent sector had a mixed year with a fall in its digital recorded share more than offsetting a slight rise in the physical share. The sector enhanced its publishing dominance with a second straight year of share growth.

UMG makes share gains at the indies expense
According to Music & Copyright, UMG increased its share of combined physical and digital recorded-music trade revenue last year, to 31.8% from 29.8% in 2018 (see Figure 1). For digital revenue only, UMG’s share was up to 33.8% from 32.4%, while its physical share grew to 25.8% from 23.4%.

Figure 1: Record companies, physical- and digital-revenue market shares, 2018 and 2019
Source: Music & Copyright

SME was the second-largest record company, although its combined physical/digital market share slipped slightly last year to 19.8% from 19.9% in 2018. For the third consecutive year, SME registered a year-on-year fall in its physical format performance with a dip in share to 18.3% from 19.2%. However, following two years of decline, SME’s digital market share was unchanged last year, at 20.2%. The company’s share of all recorded-music trade revenue, which includes licensing and other revenue as well as income from physical and digital music sales, edged down, to 20.3% from 20.5% (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Record companies, total recorded-music-revenue market shares, 2018 and 2019
Source: Music & Copyright

The smaller of the three majors, WMG, experienced a reversal of its 2018 results, when the company’s digital share was down and its physical share up. Last year. WMG’s digital share increased slightly to 17.9% from 17.7%, while its physical share slipped to 11.7% from 13.4%. Overall, WMG’s combined physical/digital share edged down to 16.4% from 16.5%, while its total revenue share was unchanged at 16%.
Despite the changes in the majors’ shares, independent record companies’ combined physical/digital revenue share remained ahead of UMG’s, but only just. The independent company sector’s physical share stayed high at 44.2%, but a fall in the sector’s digital share resulted in the physical/digital share decreasing to 32% from 33.8%.

Slowdown in music publishing
In line the way in which Music & Copyright determines global recorded-music market shares, music publishing market shares are also based on revenue received by each company. Music & Copyright has calculated that global music publishing revenue grew 2.2% last year to $5.59bn from $5.47bn in 2018. The growth rate was notably lower than the 11.4% rise in 2018 and 11.2% increase in 2017. Sony maintained its leading position ahead of UMPG but suffered a fall in share for the second consecutive year. Sony’s share, which is made up of revenue from Sony/ATV, EMI Music Publishing (EMI MP), and Sony Music Publishing Japan, was down a single percentage point, to 26% from 27% (see Figure 3). Sony took the top spot in 2013 following the purchase of EMI MP by a Sony-led consortium in 2012. Sony then acquired the approximate 60% of the interest in EMI MP held by the consortium in November 2018, resulting in EMI MP becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony.

Figure 3: Music-publishing companies, revenue market shares, 2018 and 2019
Source: Music & Copyright

UMPG was the second-largest music publisher last year. Music & Copyright estimates the company’s share grew for the second year in a row, to 21% from 20.2% in 2018. Furthermore, UMPG was the only major publisher to increase its share. Third placed Warner Chappell Music’s share was down last year, to 11.6% from 12.3%. The collective share of independent music publishers was up, to 42.3% from 41.4%.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Finland country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

UMG increases recorded-music market share lead, indies enhance publishing dominance
Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music publishing sectors has revealed the changes in global market share for the three major music groups and the independent sector. In a repeat of the last review, UMG enhanced its position as the global leader. The company registered gains in both digital and physical market shares, while the publishing unit UMPG saw its share rise. Second-placed SME had a flat year for digital but lost share overall because of a dip in the company’s physical format share. For publishing, Sony’s share was down for the second consecutive year. Smaller major WMG saw its digital share rise but the overall recorded-music performance was unchanged year-on-year because of a dip in the company’s physical share. The independent sector had a mixed year with a fall in its digital recorded share more than offsetting a slight rise in the physical share. The sector enhanced its publishing dominance with a second straight year of share growth.

PRS for Music reports record year but warns of difficult times ahead
UK authors’ society PRS for Music has reported a record year for royalty collections and distributions. Despite a flat year for international income, the three main domestic revenue sources of public performance, broadcasting, and digital all registered growth. The continued shift in recorded-music sales in the UK from ownership to access boosted streaming revenue. Digital overtook broadcasting in 2018 to become the second biggest domestic income source, and last year’s rise closed the gap on leading source public performance. Distributions to PRS members benefitted from sharp growth in public performance payouts while international distributions were inflated by backlog payouts and settlements related to prior periods. Inevitably, collections for this year will be greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. PRS noted that public performance and international income will be hardest hit but said it was too early to say how big the financial impact will be.

Early moves to break the live lockdown illustrate the difficulties in a return to performance
The live music sector has been completely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in those markets that are seemingly past their peak infection, governments are gradually relaxing social-distancing measures and are drawing up schemes to enable live entertainment events to return. But the restrictions that look set to be placed on small music venues and festivals alike will financially hamstring them and strangle any large-scale renaissance. That means alternatives will need to be found to enable operators to survive. Already we are seeing how some sector players are falling back on older infrastructure in order to enable live performances before paying audiences, while others are leaning on innovative technological platforms to reimagine the concert. It may well take a good many makeshift solutions to get through 2020 in any kind of shape to return to better days, perhaps next year.

Finland country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Finland music industry report. Finland is one of Europe’s smaller countries. Despite having a land area rivalling the region’s leaders, the population of Finland ended last year at just 5.5 million. In recorded-music terms, Finland sits just outside of the global top 20. However, despite its modest standing, the country is a market leader with regards to progress in the digital transition from ownership to access. Subscription services already generate close to 80% of combined digital/physical trade income and this share is expected to continue rising as sales of the once-dominant CD album drop away and downloads disappear.

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New issue of Music & Copyright

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Digital gains continue to boost rights collections for KOMCA
South Korean authors’ society KOMCA has reported an increase in collections. However, in contrast with 2018, when all the main revenue sources registered growth, 2019 was mixed. Given South Korea’s advanced recorded-music market, much of KOMCA’s gains in recent years have come from digital sources, and last year was no exception. Digital is now the biggest revenue source for local authors and publishers, having overtaken performance in 2015. Streaming receipts registered healthy growth, boosted by the continued uptake in music subscriptions. Audiovisual income rose sharply due to the increased use of short-form video services. Performance collections, which are mostly generated by karaoke, suffered a small decrease. A solid year for live concerts almost fully offset the dip in karaoke income. Broadcast collections are split evenly between cable TV, IPTV, and terrestrial TV, but all three suffered a decrease in collections. The deregulation of the broadcast sector is bringing big changes, with mergers and acquisitions reshaping the landscape.

How Amazon Music got to grips with the world of music streaming
Amazon Music has, in a relatively short space time, become one of the world’s leading music streaming companies. The outfit has done this by leveraging the huge reach of Amazon’s online retail business, and by tailoring its services to attract a range of customers often beyond the core youthful demographic. Amazon Music now has designs on further growth, and may be able to achieve its goals, at least in part, via Amazon’s fast-expanding Echo speaker business that is clearly a perfect partner for music streaming. Amazon Music has also recognized the importance of creative talent and is making efforts to get closer to artists and to support them. However, Amazon Music’s expansion could be hamstrung by the COVID-19 epidemic that is pushing the world toward a serious recession. It needs to respond to the threat with typical Amazon commercial nous.

Examining the impact of Brexit on the UK music industry
The UK is the world’s third-biggest music market and has been one of the main forums within Europe in debating the hotly contested Article 13 (now 17) of the EU Copyright Directive 2019. The Copyright Directive has been among the most heavily publicized and lobbied pieces of intellectual property legislation in recent memory, seeking as it does to create a digital single market in Europe. Article 17 was passed into European law in 2018, its effect being to close the perceived value gap between remuneration for content creators versus the profits enjoyed by the tech giants, by making digital service providers (DSPs) liable for infringing material on their platforms. Following strong lobbying by the DSPs, the more restrictive effects of Article 17 were somewhat watered down, but the article still imparts a substantially heavier burden on DSPs in relation to infringing content than they previously faced. The final text of Article 17 was approved in March 2019, and the directive is now in force, with a two-year implementation period (though EU member states are not obliged to implement it until June 2021). The Brexit vote, and the subsequent Parliamentary approval of the Withdrawal Agreement in January 2020, led to concern that the Copyright Directive would not be adopted into UK law. This fear was given credence by a statement made by Chris Skidmore, at the time the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research, and Innovation, who confirmed that the UK “ha[d] no plans” to implement the directive. The government has since sought to distance itself from these comments, and indeed, in the context of the Withdrawal Agreement, it is highly likely that the UK will not implement the exact text of the directive per se. It remains to be seen, however, whether the UK will implement local legislation in the spirit of the directive, providing UK creators with similar rights to those now enjoyed by their European counterparts, or whether it will consider a US-style approach, which could be interpreted as more DSP-friendly. Either way, the impact on UK artists and songwriters could be substantial.

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