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.

BMI wins the latest royalty battle in the ongoing rate dispute with Pandora
A New York rate court has decided that US online radio service Pandora must pay BMI, the performing rights organization (PRO), 2.5% of revenue for the use of authors’ and music publishers’ content. In making its decision, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York decided that the rate proposed by BMI was reasonable, despite being at the low end of what BMI had hoped for. However, the rate is still higher that the 1.85% rate Pandora pays to ASCAP. That rate was affirmed by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals in April after ASCAP had appealed a 2014 rate court decision. Previously, Pandora had paid BMI 1.75% of revenue and so, with the online radio service expected to generate around $1bn in revenue this year, the increased royalty payment to BMI could be as high as $75m. Pandora, which ended March with 79.2 million users, has said it will appeal the New York rate court decision.

Public performance gains return Czech authors’ society OSA to growth in 2014
Czech authors’ society OSA has reported a return to growth in royalty collections in 2014 after a slight dip in 2013. Despite a fall in broadcasting income and earnings from abroad, record collections from both public performance and digital boosted the authors’ society’s revenue to a new high. A good year for OSA also included a fall in costs and a subsequent decrease in costs as a share of collections, as well as a rise in distributions to its members.

Growth for all the major music groups in 1Q15
With UMG the last of the three major music companies to publish financial details for the first three months of 2015, a comparison of their respective performances reveals all of the companies posted year-on-year growth. Previous year-on-year comparisons of the three companies’ recorded music and music publishing sectors have been distorted by company acquisitions and sell-offs, and exchange rate fluctuations. However, with most dealings completed more than a year ago, the only major influencing factor in first quarter comparisons was exchange rates. Factoring in fluctuating current rates suggests that all three majors have got off to a good start in 2015. There are, however, still nagging doubts as to whether 2015 will be the year that the recorded music sector as a whole posts positive gains, and whether music publishing can register another year of growth.

On the Radar: BackBeat Solutions
A new “on the radar” section in Music & Copyright begins with a look at BackBeat Solutions, a company that provides pre-packaged deal management, royalties accounting, multi-platform publishing, and content services. It has a client portfolio in Europe and the US comprising tier-two music labels and music publishers. Founder Chris Chambers’ long association with the music licensing area has helped it secure projects for BMG Chrysalis, Fintage House, and Imagem Music Publishing.

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 profile. Optimism about a return to longer-term recorded music growth in the UK was quickly extinguished with the publication of last year’s trade results. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade revenue. However, recorded music sales slipped back again in 2014 with the rising income from streaming services unable to match the drop in downloads and CD album sales. The UK may well register growth again this year though as streaming increases in popularity. Royalty collections matched the recorded music decline last year with PRS for Music registering its first rights contraction since 2010. A rise in broadcast, digital, and public performance collections could not fully offset the fall in overseas income and mechanicals. The live sector remains strong, although research suggests small venues are under considerable pressure, both financially and regulatory.

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