New issue of Music & Copyright with Spain country report

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

Big gains for SoundExchange and PPL boost producers’ and performers’ rights to new level
Performance-rights distributions to record companies (producers) and performers registered another record-breaking year in 2018, with total payments topping the $3bn milestone for the first time. Producers’ and performers’ rights have become an important source of income in recent years given the long decline of recorded-music trade revenue. The return to growth through increased consumer interest in streaming and subscriptions has somewhat overshadowed the importance of performance rights, but the revenue source is a key earnings generator, with growth in distributions last year matching the rate of increase in combined physical/digital trade sales. Measured at both reported and constant exchange rates, global performance rights distributions were up year on year. The US enhanced its position as the biggest country for performance rights, while Europe remains the biggest region.

Claims involving Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Juice WRLD made October a busy month for plagiarism watchers
Copyright infringement claims against high-profile artists and performers are part and parcel of today’s recorded-music industry. Not only are millions of dollars at stake should a claim be successful, but the reputations of artists renowned for their songwriting can also take a hit. Proving one artist or songwriter has copied another’s work requires two key elements. To begin with, there must be substantial similarity between the two works in question. Also, it must be proved that an accused has either heard or be presumed to have heard the original work prior to the writing of the infringing track. October proved to be a busy month for plagiarism cases, with some of the world’s biggest artists involved in claims made against them, their writing teams, and their record companies and publishers.

Streamers’ HD offerings hinge on getting audiences to care about higher-quality music services
“Immersive music” is now a thing. Dolby Laboratories and Sony Corp. have moved into the quality music space with new formats for audiences. Both say that their respective services deliver more engaging experiences, and both are leaning on the latest Echo smart speaker from Amazon to stake claims in the living room. However, high-definition (HD) music-streaming products, with their higher price points, have yet to take off after years in the marketplace. Using a smart speaker to cut through could prove a savvy move when mobile networks can’t yet be relied upon to provide good service. But what is key to the success of HD music is persuading prospective subscribers that, first, they need such services, and second, that they ought to be paying more for them.

Spain country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Spain music industry report. Spain is one of Europe’s midtier music markets. The country’s recorded-music sector has been one of the region’s worst hit by digital piracy since the turn of the century. Although piracy levels are still high, spending on recorded music has recovered somewhat, but the transition from ownership to access has not all been smooth sailing. Last year saw a modest increase in retail sales, with higher spending on digital formats and services just offsetting a decline in sales of physical formats. This year has so far been a different story, with total sales benefiting from both digital and physical growth. The steady improvement in Spain’s economic fortunes have had a positive effect on the country’s different music industry sectors. However, the unemployment rate remains high, particularly among younger consumers, who are traditionally the biggest music consumers. The troubles for local authors’ society SGAE are continuing, even though the society registered higher collections and distributions. Spain’s live sector enjoyed its best ever year in terms of turnover, with festival popularity at an all-time high.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

New issue of Music & Copyright with France country report

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

Global royalty collections see positive year, with growth at reported and constant currency rates
The world’s 20 biggest collective management organizations (CMOs) registered an increase in collections last year at both reported and constant currency exchange rates. The listing, which includes just those CMOs that have published collection results, shows that five of the 20 registered a fall in collections compared with 2016. As always, currency fluctuations affected some CMOs more than others, and overall, the growth rate last year of the combined 20 was higher at reported rates than constant. SACEM remained the leader in terms of total revenue, but BMI and ASCAP took the second and third spots, with a decline in GEMA collections relegating the German society to fourth. The performance of BMI and ASCAP meant the US is the clear leader in terms of collections at country level. Europe is the top region, accounting for close to 60% of the combined top-20 collection total.

Africa faces challenges on its way to becoming a recorded-music contributor
Africa might well be home to a sizable share of the world’s population, but in terms of recorded-music returns, the region is massively underperforming. Aside from South Africa, which has established music distribution and rights administration infrastructure, most countries in Africa have been decimated by high levels of piracy and infighting among collection societies. Ever the optimists, the three major record companies have all made recent moves to reverse the African status quo. The growth of access services in the rest of the world and their positive effects on unlicensed music consumption have given hope to those who believe Africa is an untapped treasure trove. Plenty of local activity and a rapid transformation of digital communications suggest that the time could well be right to move into the region. Few are holding their breath for a turnaround in the short-to-medium term, but longer-term prospects are certainly improving.

Streaming’s winners need to adapt if they want to keep on thriving
Spotify and Netflix are two highly successful children of the streaming revolution and have built market-leading positions with their attractive services. But times are set to become a little tougher for both of them. While the audio- and video-streaming markets will continue to grow, the sectors are becoming more challenging. Spotify’s IPO went smoothly enough, but its public listing means its inability to make a profit is under constant scrutiny, and its streaming business may not be able to deliver on that front; pressure is on the company’s non-core activities to do the job. Netflix faces a new era of tough competition from powerful adversaries and is sure to lose market share; from here on in, it’s all about the content.

France country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed France music industry report. France is the seventh-biggest economy in the world and the third-biggest in Europe, behind Germany and the UK. For recorded-music sales, France is the smallest of the three European countries. However, trade sales have risen for three consecutive years and look likely to rise again this year, with subscription service gains more than offsetting declines in sales of physical formats and music downloads. Digital sales overtook physical and accounted for more than half the combined digital physical total for the first time. UMG enhanced its position last year as the biggest music distributor, with an increase in market share. Authors’ society SACEM registered a fourth consecutive annual growth in collections, with income topping the previous year’s record thanks to a big jump in digital receipts.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

New issue of Music & Copyright with South Korea country report

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

Rollout of 5G networks offers a whole new dimension of music collaboration and connection
With the distribution of recorded music now an access-dominated business, the means by which music fans engage in listening has come sharply into focus. No longer do consumers have to visit a record store to purchase recorded music – almost every track ever released is available at the touch of a button. However, the uptake of access services is slowing in developed markets, and so forward planners are looking to new experiences to keep the growth momentum going. 5G offers music companies just that opportunity. Commercial rollouts of 5G networks are under way, although consumer uptake will take a while to gather pace. But already experiments and trials have shown how the music industry may be able to harness and monetize this new high-speed distribution network.

Digital gains boosts SACEM collections to new record
French collection society SACEM has reported a fourth consecutive annual growth in collections, with income topping the previous year’s record. Domestic and foreign receipts were up year on year, while revenue from mandates edged down. The differing fortunes of general rights and broadcasting saw the former overtake the latter to become the biggest collection source for SACEM. Background music income was boosted by higher average user fees and a rise in the customer base. Broadcasting income was hit by a drop in advertising sales. Digital registered the highest growth rate of the main collection sectors, with revenue more than doubling. New contracts provided the biggest boost to the digital total, although greater consumer interest in streaming added to the total. A higher growth in collections than costs meant the authors’ society’s net operating cost as a share of collections edged down.

Regulation is just the ticket for the live music sector
Regulators and lawmakers are starting to turn their attention to long-standing abuses in the ticketing business, with the lack of transparency over fees and hugely inflated resale prices in their sights. New rules and legislation have already been introduced or are in the pipeline in a number of countries, but all participants in the live music sector have the duty to do more to better protect consumers. Current alliances aimed at tackling bad actors and bad practices need to be strengthened. And there is certainly a role for technological solutions that will make it that much more difficult for scalpers to ply their trade.

South Korea country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Korea music industry report. South Korea’s recorded-music industry is arguably the most advanced in the world. Since the turn of the century, the sector has been through a massive transformation, from being almost overrun by piracy to becoming a multifaceted market where both physical and digital formats and services flourish. Surprisingly for a developed market, CD album sales are still healthy despite the rise of digital access. Although spending on digital music accounted for the majority of music sales last year (see Figure 1), a third consecutive year of growth in spending on physical formats has narrowed the gap. Locally produced music is popular worldwide, with the K-pop genre benefiting from the so-called Korean Wave, which began in the late 1990s and continues to boost the popularity of South Korean popular culture through online services and social media. Local music groups dominate recorded-music distribution, with the major labels accounting for a low market share.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

New issue of Music & Copyright with Italy country report

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

US leading global recorded-music sales to fifth consecutive year of growth
With all the world’s major recorded-music markets and several smaller ones having published midyear trade figures, Music & Copyright’s annual assessment of the results suggests global recorded-music trade earnings from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will register a higher rate of growth this year than in 2018. All the trade associations that have published figures or provided guidance have shown continued gains from music subscription services, and this earnings growth in all but one of the countries has more than offset declines in revenue from other formats. The ongoing dominance of the world’s biggest markets, particularly the US, is continuing, but the rate of growth in the less developed and so-called emerging markets is set to be higher than the global leaders.

Advocate general at European Court of Justice finds no resale right for e-books
Maciej Szpunar, advocate general at the European Court of Justice (CJEU), has provided an opinion in a case involving the resale of secondhand e-books. Often in cases involving disputes over specific points of law, an advocate general is asked to publish their opinion, which can act as guidance to the court when a specific case is heard. The case in question this time centered on the business model of a Dutch e-book reseller. Although the matter has been ruled on twice by district and appeal courts in Amsterdam, a court in The Hague asked the CJEU to answer a number of questions before making a ruling. In his published opinion, Szpunar decided that there should be no market for the resale of e-books because of the potential damage caused to rights holders. Although the advocate general’s opinion related specifically to e-books, his arguments against resale could easily be applied to recorded music.

Artists thwarted by streaming look to merchandizing to make music pay
The low level of royalty payments in the music-streaming business has long been a bone of contention among rights holders, and artists have often come out and highlighted just how few dollars most of them get from the billions of annual plays across the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Some companies, most notably Deezer, are investigating different payment systems that better reward smaller artists. In the meantime, however, musicians looking to make a living from their music need to come up with other ways to support themselves. That is why an increasing number are looking to the selling of a range of music merchandize to put money in their coffers. Furthermore, the potential of merchandizing is not just attracting artists: each of the three major record companies is looking to increase its merchandizing play.

Italy country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Italy music industry report. Italy’s recorded-music sector has experienced an erratic few years, largely due to the lingering dominance of physical formats. However, digital trade sales overtook physical formats last year, and the sharp rise in subscription sales more than offset falls in CD album sales and vinyl. The pattern of sales has continued this year, and Italy looks to be heading for a period of growing stability. UMG is the clear leader in market share terms, ahead of second-placed SME, with the former increasing its distributor share at the expense of the latter. Royalty collections have been positive, with only minor changes over the last three years. Total income for authors’ society SIAE edged up last year, but music collections were down slightly. Italy’s live music sector has undergone a number of strategic changes of late, most notably with the launch of Ticketmaster Italia. Earlier this year, the ticketing service partnered with local independent festival promoter Home Entertainment as part of the service’s Italian expansion. Regulators in the country have increased their attention on the secondary ticketing sector, but promoters are still bemoaning efforts to control the practice.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

New issue of Music & Copyright

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

Retail sales of recorded music in the US set to break the $10bn mark
US trade group the RIAA has reported another positive half year performance for retail sales of recorded-music. Subscriptions and streaming were again the star performers with growth in access service spending and advertising easily offsetting declines in sales of other formats. With the exception of advertising revenue from statutory services not distributed by SoundExchange, all the different streaming subcategories registered a positive first half of the year with paid subscriptions alone accounting for more than half of the six months’ total retail sales. The revival of vinyl continued with the growth in sales matching the rise in the prior year period. The average number of paying music subscribers increased at a slightly lower rate, but more that 14 million new subscribers were added in the six-month period.

Subscriptions the highlight in a positive first half year for Spanish recorded-music sales
Midyear retail sales figures published by Spanish music trade association Promusicae show the recovery in recorded-music sales has accelerated, with both digital and physical rising year on year. Subscriptions registered a particularly positive six-month period, generating more than half the retail sales total for the first time. Audio and video advertising revenue also increased. Unusually for a developed market, sales of CD albums were up, with consumer spending on vinyl rising sharply. Of the markets that have published sales details for the first half of this year, Spain is the clear leader in terms of growth rate. Moreover, given that subscriptions now generate more than half of the retail total, continued consumer interest in access services should mean a sixth consecutive year of growth as well as longer-term stability for Europe’s sixth-biggest music market.

Sharp rise in digital collections boosts MCSC royalty receipts to new record
Royalty collections in China have increased for the 10th consecutive year. In September the Chinese authors’ society, MCSC, published its business report for 2018, confirming that total collections had topped the previous year’s record and exceeded CNY300m ($41.8m) for the first time. Furthermore, the year-on-year growth rate was more than twice the rate in 2017, and collections have more than doubled in just four years. A new licensing deal with Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) swelled digital collections to more than half the total royalty receipts. Also registering a positive year was live performance and karaoke. Background collections, MCSC’s second-biggest revenue stream, were down, along with TV and radio income.

Classical streaming services targeting the underserved music aficionados
There’s clearly a growing appetite for classical music streaming, but the market’s leading operators aren’t set up to provide true genre enthusiasts with services they need. And that’s down to both the content they can provide and the way they go about organizing it. It’s no surprise, then, that a couple of start-ups have stepped up to serve the classical music fan with more tailored products that are all about granularity. However, both may well be underestimating the aficionado’s propensity to pay, not just for quality recordings, but also for content that enhances the principal audio experience. After all, the classical-music-consuming public is an affluent and discerning demographic that really ought to be fully served by services launched specifically to fulfill their music needs.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

New issue of Music & Copyright with Poland country report

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

Algorithms may have rhythm, but questions remain over who gets the credit
Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to make waves in the music industry. Algorithms are already composing music – albeit often with a little help from their artist friends – and with the technology advancing apace, audiences will certainly be listening to more AI melodies in the charts. However, composing with a piece of code that learns its skills from existing compositions raises some interesting rights issues that will probably take years to resolve. But that doesn’t mean that artists and songwriters won’t benefit from AI-based solutions on the royalties side as copyright owners become more creative with algorithms.

Europe’s top court details its ruling in the long-running Kraftwerk sampling case
At the end of July, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) made a ruling in a case involving Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider‑Esleben, from German electronic group Kraftwerk, and two composers, Moses Pelham and Martin Haas. The case concerns a track called Nur Mir, recorded by German rapper Sabrina Setlur in 1997, which included a two-second sample from the 1977-released Kraftwerk track Metall auf Metall. The ECJ decided that sampling without authorization can infringe a phonogram producer’s rights, but that use of a sound sample taken from a phonogram in a modified form unrecognizable to the ear does not infringe those rights, even without any authorization. The case was initially filed by the Kraftwerk pair 20 years ago, and although the two were initially successful at the first trial and on appeal, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) overturned the previous rulings. The case was returned to the lower court to be reassessed, and several questions of law were subsequently referred to the ECJ. Initially, the ECJ published its decision in a short press release. However, the European body has now explained in more detail why it came to its conclusions.

Subscription streaming drives up midyear recorded-music sales figures in Italy and the UK
New figures published by Italian recorded-music trade group FIMI and UK entertainment retail body ERA show recorded-music sales in the two countries increased in the first half of this year, with a rise in music subscriptions behind the growth. According to FIMI’s trade results, revenue from paid audio subscriptions overtook sales of physical formats, with a rise in income from the former more than offsetting a drop in sales of the latter. Further growth came from ad-supported offerings and video streaming. Moreover, the growth rate in the first half of this year was up on the rate in the prior-year period. ERA’s results did not include any ad-supported or video-streaming details but did show a healthy rise in subscription sales. Despite the continued decrease in sales of physical formats and music downloads, retail sales of recorded music in the UK are well on the way to registering a fifth consecutive year of growth.

Poland country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Poland music industry report. Poland is one of Eastern Europe’s largest recorded-music markets, second only to Russia. However, the country is the region’s leader for trade earnings from the sale of physical formats and revenue from performance rights. For several years, high levels of piracy restricted efforts to establish a digital sector, but rising consumer interest in streaming and subscriptions has meant digital is accounting for an increasing share of overall trade sales. Positive economic results will also have boosted most music sectors in the country. Poland is unique in the European Union (EU) for being the only country not to have fallen into recession following the global financial crash 10 years ago, and the country’s economy is one of the EU’s success stories. UMG maintained its position as the country’s biggest recorded-music distributor, while authors’ society ZAiKS reported a third straight year of collection growth after two years of decline.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email

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.

Recorded-music sales for UMG continue to outpace closest rival SME
French media company Vivendi and Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. have reported financial details for their respective music subsidiaries, UMG and SME. Both companies continue to benefit from high sales of music streaming. For UMG, increased streaming income in the second three months of this year as well as a second straight quarter of unusually strong sales of physical formats boosted overall sales. Licensing income and revenue from merchandising sales also registered year-on-year growth. Not to be outdone, streaming sales for SME increased in the three-month period, the first quarter of the company’s 2019 financial year. Moreover, a modest fall in revenue from physical formats meant total recorded-music income increased year-on-year. Music publishing was the biggest growth sector for SME, with sales and operating income inflated by the acquisition late last year of EMI Music Publishing (EMI MP).

Artists with a gift for fashion stay in vogue
Leading artists such as Madonna and Lady Gaga have long been associated with high fashion and its brands to deliver music diva looks, but at the same time many musicians, especially rappers, have worked hard on developing branded clothing lines to bring their own styles to the street. We have now entered an era where the artist is also becoming a fashion creator, with Rihanna at the apex of the trend following her recent joint venture with luxury group LVMH. Not all musicians are able to clinch apparel deals, but there’s plenty of appetite from brands to work together with them short-term on clothing projects that can boost revenue and deliver marketing uplift.

SIAE reports mixed year for live entertainment in Italy
The Italian live events sector experienced an indifferent 2018, according to annual figures published by Italian authors’ society SIAE. Following a mixed 2017, total live entertainment box office receipts were up, along with audience expenditure and turnover. However, the number of shows/performances/events was down, along with admissions and attendance. In terms of box office, music concerts registered the highest growth of the tracked entertainment sectors, ahead of sports and traveling shows/amusements. Pop accounted for the biggest share of concerts, ahead of classical and jazz. The number of pop concerts edged down last year, while total classical concerts staged increased. Pop dominated box office takings, audience expenditure, and turnover. Cinema, Italy’s biggest sector by box office, suffered a fall in sales. Dance sales were also down year on year.

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% (see Figure 1) 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 are projected to rise further in the next few years. Royalty collections in Sweden are breaking records annually, with authors’ society STIM reporting earlier this year the eighth consecutive year of collection growth.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription, then send us an email