New issue of Music & Copyright

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

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud
UK authors’ society PRS for Music has begun legal action against the online audio streaming service SoundCloud. In a notice to its members, Karen Buse, executive director, membership and international at PRS, said the decision came after “careful consideration” and followed “five years of unsuccessful negotiations” to agree a license. No license means PRS members are not being paid for music streamed by the service. SoundCloud responded to the lawsuit by claiming that it does not need a license for its existing service and said it has deals in place with thousands of rights holders including record labels, publishers, and independent artists. The service described PRS’s actions as regrettable given that commercial negotiations with the authors’ society were ongoing.

Live music competition heats up in Germany as Live Nation muscles in
In August, the global events giant Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) formed Live Nation Concerts Germany (LNCG) with the local concert promoter Marek Lieberberg to promote concerts and festivals in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from the beginning of next year. LNE said at the time that Lieberberg was the fifth largest promoter in the world and that the deal would add more than 700 shows and 2 million fans to LNE’s current platform of 23,000 shows for 60 million fans across more than 40 countries. Under the terms of the deal, Marek Lieberberg will be chief executive officer of the new division with Andre Lieberberg serving as president. However, LNE has already failed once to crack the German live music sector and there are no guarantees the company will succeed this time around.

Crunch time for SFX as company faces possible bankruptcy and break-up
Live music promoter SFX Entertainment is facing the real prospect of being broken up and sold after chairman and CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman failed in his move to take the company private. Sillerman has embarked on a second attempt to take back the company that went public at the end of 2013 but, with a new deadline of the beginning of October – a month that will also see Sillerman face up to legal claims from ex-business acquaintances that they were partly behind the founding of SFX – the future of the company looks bleak. Revenue keeps rising but so do losses and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of company has driven up talk of bankruptcy and driven down the share price.

Physical formats are still the backbone of Japan’s recorded music sector
The Japanese music trade association, the RIAJ, has reported positive physical and digital recorded music trade figures for the first half of this year. Production levels of physical formats and record company earnings from digital sales and services increased year-on-year between January and June raising speculation that the total trade sales for the full year may return to growth after two consecutive years of decline. Although local record companies will welcome a rise in revenue, physical formats still account for around three-quarters of total trade income. Digital sales have proved resilient in the last year or so after some big annual falls, but should sales of CDs start going the same way as they have in many developed markets in the West, Japan’s recorded music sector may face some very tough times again.

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