The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
US songwriters edging closer to an end to the 15-year physical mechanical rates freeze
UMG, SME, and WMG along with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) have submitted a joint motion to the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) agreeing on the mechanical rates payable on the sale of physical recorded-music products, permanent downloads, ringtones, and music bundles (subpart B configurations) for the five years between 2023 and 2027. Earlier this year, the CRB judges had withdrawn their backing of a previous agreement between the music companies and rights holder groups following criticism that the freezing of current rates was unfair. The CRB judges called on industry stakeholders to either come together and forge a new agreement or face long, drawn-out, expensive litigation. Although the new motion will see rates increase 32%, plenty of other issues aside from the rate rise remain unresolved.
Annual revenue for SME tops the JPY1tn mark for the first time
Sony Corp. has reported a good end to the 2021 financial year for its music division SME. Recorded-music and music publishing sales were up year-on-year in 4Q21 with gains for the two segments more than offsetting a dip in revenue for visual media and platform. For the full year, improved recorded-music and publishing income boosted SME sales past the JPY1tn ($7.7bn) mark for the first time. Streaming drove the recorded-music total in the quarter and full year with higher sales more than offsetting declines in sales of physical formats and downloads. Streaming was also the publishing mainstay although “other” publishing revenue registered a much more positive year than in the prior 12 months. Income for the third division, visual media and platform, was down in the quarter and full year with the prior year periods boosted by the massive success of the anime movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba–Mugen Train.
Deezer comes to market as it takes on music rivals with streaming allies
Deezer has been in the music streaming business a long time but is regarded as something of a second-tier provider in comparison with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. The company is now set to get a stock exchange listing along with large sums of money to help it grow. It’s too late for Deezer to make it big across a broad swathe of markets, so it needs to cherry-pick and decide where there’s real opportunity to make a mark. To date, it has shown it can do this when it joins forces with a strong local partner, and there’s no reason to believe that this strategy can’t deliver going forward. Also, Deezer has already shown commitment to the fast-growing livestreaming sector and it’s here where the brand has the chance to cut through and perhaps become a major operator.
Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top 10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years, with South Korea and China registering higher gains in trade sales. Last year, however, Canada maintained its position as the eighth-biggest recorded-music market, extending its lead slightly over ninth-placed Australia for the second year in a row. Recorded-music consumption levels were up in 2021, along with trade sales. Streaming registered healthy growth, along with sales of vinyl. Performance rights were down for the second year in a row as the sector continues to suffer the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the third consecutive year, UMG and SME enhanced their market share lead over WMG and the independents. SOCAN is yet to publish full collection results for 2021. However, preliminary estimates by the authors’ society show revenue from licensed music set a new record, beating the previous high set in 2019. After suffering a major downturn, Canada’s live sector has started on the long road to recovery. Estimates suggest it will take several years for ticket sales to return to prepandemic levels.
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