New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report

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

On-demand music subscription sector hits new milestones despite slowdown in overall growth
The on-demand music subscription sector experienced a positive 2019, with several international and local services reporting solid operating details. Spotify ended the year in the driving seat, with subscription gains boosting the service’s market share. Apple Music also registered growth, but the service lost market share to both the leader and Amazon. The three major music groups are benefiting from the rise in access services, with all reporting favorable financial results driven largely by streaming. The rise of the paid subscription from a niche revenue source not so long ago is impressive, and the year-end record company results have illustrated the importance of access services to the companies’ bottom lines. Despite the inevitable slowdown in service take-up in Western countries, developing markets are starting to show that they are well placed to step in and soften any decline.

French recorded-music sales see fourth consecutive year of growth
French music trade association SNEP has reported a fourth straight year of growth for trade earnings from recorded-music sales. For the first time, revenue from audio streaming generated more than half of local record company income. In another first, sales of premium subscriptions overtook physical formats. Subscription sales recorded a very positive year, with the number of net new subscriptions rising sharply. However, it was advertising revenue from audio service that scored the highest growth of any income stream. With the exception of music video, all the buy-to-own formats suffered year-on-year declines. Trade earnings from CD album sales continued to fall, and the vinyl revival took a hit, although the number of units shipped to retail continued to rise along with sales of turntables.

Time for record companies to push the music and gaming space convergence
The gaming sector continues to grow apace, with esports events capable of attracting large in situ and online audiences. While a number of music industry players having recognized the potential of adding music – both recorded and live – to the gaming mix, many have yet to take even baby steps into the space. Esports arenas can clearly double up as music venues, and a number of such mixed-use facilities are either up and running or in the pipeline around the world. Expect to see more of these spots as well as – finally – an increasing number of music companies coming onboard as partners in gaming ventures. More experimentation is necessary to ensure that esports doesn’t remain an electronic music enclave.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry report. China’s relatively buoyant economy is reflected in several sectors of the country’s music industry. Often described as an emerging market, retail sales in the country show the country is more than living up to its long-held potential. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed and with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for digital growth are firmly in place. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last nine or so years but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per capita rate are tiny.

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 India country report

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

European live assets remain prized assets as acquisitions mount
There’s been a huge amount of consolidation in European live music promotions and ticketing over the past few years, and there’s little sign that this trend is going to slow in 2020. Germany’s CTS Eventim and Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) have been behind a raft of acquisitions across the continent, and they both clearly have appetite for more purchases as they build out existing and new territories. Live Nation, as always, has been busy picking up live entertainment companies, and there’s no reason for it to apply the brakes. However, private equity firms see the sector as ripe for investments – and returns – and have already acquired significant assets. There could be a real battle for those independent festivals and ticketing outfits this year as all players look to further develop their portfolios.

Cox challenges the first ever billion-dollar damages award for copyright infringement
US ISP Cox Communications is challenging a $1bn damages award made against it by a Virginia federal court in December after a jury found the ISP guilty of copyright infringement. Plaintiffs were made up of 53 music companies that had identified more than 10,000 instances of infringement carried out by Cox customers. The ISP has claimed that the size of the damages award bore no relation to the offence it was accused of and has requested that the court either reduce the award or hold a new trial. Cox also claimed in its filing that the jury in the trial was urged by the music companies to punish the ISP and ramp up the damages because of its positive financial situation. Cox said the supposed transgressions described in the trial went far beyond the limited acts of infringement alleged.

Spotify reports accelerated user growth with year-end subscribers at the top end of expectations
Music streaming service Spotify has published its fourth quarter and full year results for 2019, detailing both the its financial position and its operating details. Total revenue for the three- and 12-month periods registered healthy growth with premium subscription and ad-supported service income rising at similar rates. However, although the company posted sizable gross profits, sharp rises in operating expenses resulted in operating, and net losses for both periods. Monthly active user (MAU) growth exceeded the previous quarter’s guidance, and premium subscriber numbers ended last year at the top end of the company’s expectations. Notable in the final quarter of last year was the addition of 11 million net new paying subscribers, the highest since the company was launched. Podcasts are proving to be a big hit for Spotify users, with increasing evidence that the content form is aiding user retention.

India country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed India music industry report. For many years, India has been tagged as an emerging market with great potential to become a major market of the future. The country’s population is edging towards 1.4 billion and although economic growth softened in 2019, forecasts suggest better things for 2020. Tapping into what is a market ripe for exploitation has always been high on the recorded-music industry’s list of priorities and in the last couple of years very positive retail sales figures suggest all the optimism for the future has been well placed. For many years, India’s biggest obstacle to recorded-music growth has been piracy, with rising internet penetration providing increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. But developments in the last couple of years have suggested that streaming will be the way out of the piracy problem.

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 US country report

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

Now is the time to get wise with music discovery as devices get smarter
Voice-controlled speakers are increasingly becoming a popular way to consume music in the home, with streaming services coming to the fore on such systems. The larger technology companies have combined their streaming offerings with smart speaker offers. Also, streaming leader Spotify is regularly touted as a late entrant to the smart device sector. Consumers are also turning to other smart devices, in particular connected TVs, which also boast voice-control features. To date, the industry’s experiments with voice-driven equipment has revolved around promotion, and some have proved successful. However, players need to get to grips sooner rather than later with functionality based on oral commands and requests if they are to be relevant in music discovery in the age of Alexa.

Ariana Grande joins the long list of accused high-profile artist copyright infringers
The growing list of plagiarism accusations against high-profile artists saw another addition in January with the claim by US hip-hop artist and singer songwriter Josh Stone that Ariana Grande and her team of songwriters copied his track You Need It, I Got It for the Grande track 7 Rings. Proving plagiarism 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 is presumed to have heard the original work prior to the writing of the infringing track. Stone’s court filing presents evidence for both elements, with expert testimony from two musicologists as well as an account of meetings with a music producer who went on to contribute to the Grande track. Stone has requested damages and all profits attributable to the alleged infringement.

Physical decline signals overall contraction in Japanese recorded-music sales
New figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats was down last year compared with 2018. Both audio and video suffered a decline in production value and units. There were some bright spots in the figures, with the value and volume of domestic repertoire CD albums increasing year on year along with vinyl LPs. Furthermore, the number of domestic Blu-ray music videos produced was up along with the trade value. However, a difficult year for DVDs had a negative effect on the overall video figures and total physical production. Full-year figures for digital trade earnings are set for publication in February. However, based on digital revenue in the first nine months of the year, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register a market decline, albeit a small one.

US country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed US music industry report. The US is the biggest music market in the world. Last year, the country accounted for more than one-third of global recorded-music sales and close to 40% of spending on tickets to live music events. The US is home to the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment, as well as the two leading authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and the biggest performance rights organization, SoundExchange.

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.

Streaming hits new milestone as US recorded-music consumption rises again
US recorded-music consumption has registered a very positive year, with streaming again boosting consumption levels to record highs, according to Nielsen Music. Particularly notable in the results was that the number of streams served reached the 1 trillion milestone for the first time. Although the number of audio and video streams served increased year on year, it was video streams that registered the highest growth. Unsurprisingly, almost all buy-to-own formats suffered a decline in sales, apart from vinyl LPs, which benefited from two successful Record Store Day events. R&B/hip-hop was easily the most popular music genre in the US last year, ahead of rock and pop. However, the share of sales of most genres varied greatly by format and access method.

Subscription services putting the squeeze on unlicensed music access in Australia
A new report from the Australian government’s Department of Communications and the Arts has found that the level of online copyright infringement is falling. A report detailing infringement levels of the four entertainment categories of music, video games, movies, and TV programs painted a positive picture of entertainment piracy decline. For music, the share of respondents accessing only unlicensed content has halved in five years, with the share accessing only licensed content on the rise. The position for the other content types was also largely positive, with the share of respondents accessing only unlicensed movies and TV programs much lower than five years ago. Video games was the only category not to experience a fall in unlicensed-only share, but the proportion of gamers accessing licensed content only grew in 2019.

European Court confirms that supply of e-books represents a communication to the public
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has published its ruling in a case involving the resale of secondhand e-books. Two Dutch book publisher associations first filed a claim against an e-book reseller in 2014. The associations claimed that the offering of secondhand e-books was an unauthorized communication of those books to the public as determined by the Copyright Directive. However, the reseller argued that its activities were covered by the distribution right, which was subject to a rule of exhaustion if the e-book was sold in the European Union by the rights holder or with their consent. Both a district and appeals court in Amsterdam ruled in favor of the reseller, forcing the associations to take the case to a court in The Hague. A number of questions were subsequently presented by the Hague court to the CJEU to determine if the supply of permanent e-book downloads was covered by the right of distribution to the public provided for by Article 4(1) of the Copyright Directive 2001/29, or the right of communication to the public provided for in Article 3(1) of the directive. The CJEU decided that the supply of e-books for download was covered by the communication right.

Asia’s growth potential prompts music company outreach
Recorded-music growth in Asia, especially in the huge Chinese market, is attracting the music industry’s leading players. In a relatively short space of time, a number of Asian countries have been transformed from piracy havens to the markets with the biggest growth potential. Record companies are establishing operations in the region, often together with local partners, to both distribute their existing roster of artists and to pick up Asian talent with a view to taking them to the West. And recent successes in the US for South Korean and Chinese acts have demonstrated that there is audience appetite. The trick will be to ensure that the region isn’t treated as a homogeneous entity, though the current signs are that record companies recognize this.

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 Russia country report

The final issue of Music & Copyright for 2019 is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Comparing the performances of the major music groups in 2019
Rising consumer spending on recorded music, coupled with the continued steady growth in music publishing income, is set to boost revenue for the three major music groups this year. Sony will see the biggest overall rise, but this is largely down to the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing at the end of last year. However, UMG and WMG are both set to experience double-digit percentage gains. UMG will maintain its lead in recorded music, although WMG’s revenue for the year will rise at a faster rate than the leader. Sony’s combined music publishing companies will dominate publishing revenue. Warner/Chappell is the only one of the three major publishers likely to suffer an income decline for the year. Digital overtook performance as the biggest revenue source for publishers last year, and that position has been enhanced in 2019.

IPRS celebrates 50th anniversary with record collections and distributions
India’s authors’ society, IPRS, has reported its biggest ever annual increase in rights collections. The results were extremely timely given that the authors’ society is celebrating its 50th year in business. A number of factors contributed to the jump in receipts. TV revenue was boosted by new licensing deals with several of India’s broadcast networks, and a good year for public performance saw total domestic performing rights double in the year. A readmittance to global rights organization CISAC meant IPRS could receive payments from CISAC-member societies. Furthermore, a new licensing deal with YouTube greatly boosted streaming collections. Revenue from synchronization was also up sharply. The positive performance meant distributable revenue and payments to members in the financial year exceeded the previous record levels.

The live sector is aiming to make the touring world a whole lot greener
The global touring circuit could be about to take a hit if more artists back off from going on the road. Environmental sustainability has become a concern among a number of leading artists, while festivals and music venues are doing more to reduce their carbon footprints. However, developing a strategy to deliver greener live music performances is a complex and trying business and is best done in partnership with those with strong environmental expertise. Artists can also do more to promote a greener world by tapping into their creativity and getting on board with a multitude of environmental projects.

Russia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Russia music industry report. Russia is a recorded-music market that is starting to display the potential that music companies have all known existed but have been unable to coax out because of the widespread presence of unlicensed physical and digital formats. The country is the biggest in Eastern Europe and the world’s largest in terms of land mass, spanning 11 time zones. It ended last year with a population of 146.8 million. At 17.1 million square kilometers, Russia’s surface area covers around one-eighth of the world’s inhabited land area. However, despite its size, Russia’s main music industry sectors have long underperformed, and per capita spending on recorded music is painfully low. The transition from physical to digital opened a new front for unlicensed services to flourish, but the move from ownership to access is boosting legitimate sales, and prospects for longer-term growth are very positive. Royalty collections are rising steadily, and most music users in Russia hold a correct license. But copyright infringement cases against unlicensed users remain high. Russia’s live-music segment has continued its recovery, with growth bolstered by steady economic growth and a more stable ruble.

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 Australia country report

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

Subscription services face the challenge of maintaining user growth
Music company revenue from music subscriptions is set to rise this year, as take-up of the likes of Apple Music, Deezer, and Spotify shows little sign of abating. The number of users of subscription services is growing annually, with markets previously lost to piracy starting to come on board. It is, however, inevitable that revenue from subscriptions will slow and services will need to look at new ways to tempt current users to pay more, or to attract streaming holdouts to pay something. Mixed in with these considerations is the issue of price. The cost of an entry-level subscription has remained unchanged in the leading markets, meaning that in real terms, access is gradually getting cheaper. Leading service Spotify has signaled that it is willing to experiment with pricing in Northern European markets, but with music companies at the heart of pricing, a multimarket price increase must be getting nearer.

Congress tries again to force radio broadcasters in the US to pay to play
New legislation aimed at forcing AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US to pay performance royalties to producers and performers has been introduced in Congress. The Ask Musicians for Music (AM-FM) Act would line up terrestrial broadcasters alongside noninteractive online services that do pay a performance right. The US is unique in the industrialized world for not having a radio broadcast performance right for producers and performers. However, despite the anomaly, the US is the biggest country for performance rights, with distributions from collective management organization SoundExchange last year exceeding $950m. Previous efforts at legislating on the matter have failed, and the strength of the radio lobby, along with US politicians’ unwillingness to upset station owners, means the proponents of the latest attempt face an uphill battle.

Evolution of music piracy raises challenges for industry groups
Illicit file-sharing activity continues to trouble the recorded music sector, but stream-ripping has emerged as the leading means of obtaining copyright-infringing music content online. Record companies have little option but to seek legal remedy against perpetrators, to strong-arm third party enablers such as Google and ISPs, and to lobby government to regulate against pirates in efforts to ameliorate the problem. However, new and innovative pirating services will continue to appear and will require responses. It might well be time to take a look at core legislation that has served to protect online platforms from liability for the past two decades.

Australia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Australia music industry report. The Australian economy is suffering from a period of slow economic growth. Retail sales are depressed despite three interest rate cuts, which have reduced the rate to a record low of 0.75%. Moreover, GDP was up just 1.4% in the year to end-June, the slowest rate since the global financial crash 10 years ago. In contrast to the economic gloom, recorded-music sales are on the up, with rising consumer interest in subscriptions boosting trade sales to four straight years of growth. UMG enhanced its sizable market share lead last year at the expense of SME. The latest figures published by APRA AMCOS show royalty collections in Australia are continuing to rise, with digital the biggest collection source, generating more than public performance and TV broadcasting combined. Revenue from ticket sales to live events last year topped A$2bn ($1.6bn) for the first time.

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 Netherlands country report

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

China set to enter the top five as recorded music sales are forecast to continue rising
Ovum has updated its forecasts for retail sales of recorded music. In line with last year’s main conclusion, the recorded-music sector is firmly a growth market, and Ovum expects sales to rise in each of the years up to and including 2024. By the end of the forecast period, retail sales will have increased for 10 consecutive years and have topped the record high set in the late 1990s. Virtually all developed markets are benefiting from rising consumer interest in subscriptions and streaming, and, perhaps most importantly for the sector, many of the much-vaunted and piracy-dominated emerging markets are starting to show their worth. Subscriptions are the biggest recorded-music category and are set to account for two-thirds of total revenue in 2024. Ovum is still expecting the growth rate for recorded-music sales to slow over the next five years as the music subscription sector in most developed markets reaches maturity. But overall spending on subscriptions has been revised upward, and the rate of decline for physical sales has been eased.

USPTO begins consultation about rights protection for artificial intelligence innovation
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has started a process to determine whether a piece of music that has been produced by artificial intelligence (AI) with limited involvement of a person qualifies as a work of authorship as defined by US copyright law. The USPTO has published a series of questions on AI and rights ownership for public comment at a time when the technology is starting to make waves in the music industry. The use of AI in creating music remains a niche concept, with recordings still labeled as experimental. But as the technology backing AI becomes more sophisticated and the use of AI widens, questions about rights ownership are becoming more pressing, particularly given that AI is able to create works with minimal input from human inventors.

Localized content has been key to streamer Joox’s success
Chinese streamer Joox Music has carved out a strong position for itself in Southeast Asia, becoming the leading provider of streamed audio in a number of markets in the region. The company has leaned heavily on its marketing savvy to build national businesses and has aligned itself closely with K-pop, a hugely popular genre among Southeast Asia’s younger demographic. Joox’s emphasis on customizing its content to suit local tastes has also paid off, making it the go-to provider for audiences. The company is in a good position to profit from forecast music streaming in Southeast Asia and may well expand in the region. However, given its presence in South Africa and links to a regional partner, sub-Saharan Africa might offer better prospects.

Netherlands country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Netherlands music industry report. After more than a decade of falling trade revenue from recorded-music sales, the Netherlands is experiencing a sustained period of growth. As in most developed markets in Europe, record company earnings in the Netherlands were hit by the effects of online piracy as a result of the shift from physical formats to digital. However, for the last four years, trade revenue has been on the rise, and further growth is expected for this year and beyond. Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA registered a seventh consecutive year of growth in joint collections, after three straight annual falls. Combined income for the two collection societies edged up last year, with gains for BUMA offsetting the decline for STEMRA. A rise in domestic and international collections for producers’ and performers’ society SENA boosted total receipts for the second year in a row. The live industry experienced a positive 2018, with increases in both the number of visitors to events and revenue from ticket sales.

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