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.

European Commission sets out its 16-point plan for the Digital Single Market
The European Commission has published details of how it intends to create a Digital Single Market in the region. The new plan sets out a number of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of 2016. The plan is separated into three specific areas aimed at providing better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe, creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish, and maximizing the growth potential of the digital economy. Of particular interest to the music industry are the Commission’s plans to end geoblocking and its legislative proposals for a new copyright law aimed at reducing the differences between national copyright regimes.

Strong CD sales boost WMG earnings in 1Q15
WMG has reported earnings details for the first quarter of 2015, the second in its 2015 financial year. Total revenue grew year-on-year at both current and constant exchange rates. The company’s recorded music sector had a good three months with earnings from physical formats outshining digital music income. CD albums by Kid Rock and Led Zeppelin led the physical format improvement. Warner Chappell, in contrast, suffered a second consecutive quarter of falling revenue at reported rates, although earnings were up at constant exchange rates.

New battle lines are drawn in the Blurred Lines song plagiarism case
Authors and performers Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford Harris Jr have filed a motion at a California district court requesting a retrial in the case that found Thicke and Williams guilty of copying the Marvin Gaye track Got to Give it Up in the creation of the top-selling track Blurred Lines. The case resulted in a damages award of $7.4m to the estate of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement. In addition to a request by the artists for a new trial, the siblings of Gaye have filed counter-claim motions calling for an injunction to prevent further distribution of Blurred Lines and a declaration that the record companies and distributors involved in the sale and distribution of the offending track should be held accountable for copyright infringement.

Big data powering up music industry marketing
In what has become a fragmented landscape, music executives are increasingly on the lookout for more intelligence. That is why many are turning to big data to gain a better understanding of consumers and their music tastes. The problem the music industry has is that leading data analytics brains and capabilities tend not to be domiciled in record companies and have to be brought into the fold in some way. The result is an increasing number of music-data partnerships, and even big data-driven acquisitions. The likelihood is there will be more of that kind of activity in the future as record companies and events operators look to gain more intelligence on consumers so that they can improve their marketing efforts

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 profile. Although China is often described as a music market in the midst of development and one that offers great potential for growth, the country regularly disappoints and has consistently failed to live up to its billing. However, there are now glimmers of hope that China may just be starting to deliver results. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue was up in 2014 with streaming the big driver of growth. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed and, with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for further digital growth are firmly in place. However, retailers and music services are still competing against a wealth of unlicensed services. Moreover, although royalty collections are growing, given the size of the population, per-capita earning rates for all sectors of the music industry are still among the lowest in the world.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

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