The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Mid-year trade results hint at a flat year for global recorded music sales
Almost all of the world’s biggest recorded music markets have published their mid-year sales figures. An assessment that the total global trade revenue from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will return to growth suggests the industry is heading for a stable year. Although music subscription services are continuing to experience gains in most of the leading markets, it remains on a knife edge as to whether the rise in record company earnings from access services this year will fully offset the lower income being generated by download and CD album sales. There have been some very positive mid-year results from countries that have suffered steady annual declines in recorded music sales for several years. But such is the ongoing dominance of a small number of markets, a return to global growth remains in the hands of the few.
SIAE reports slight growth in music repertoire collections in 2014
Italian authors’ society SIAE has reported a return to growth for royalty collections in 2014. Following a difficult 2013 when music collections fell and overall royalty income suffered a decline, SIAE said authors’ earnings from music repertoire edged up in 2014 with growth also reported for collections from dramatic works as well as opera. Although income from movies, literary works, and visual arts suffered a decline, the overall collection total for SIAE was positive. Digital music collections rose for the second consecutive year, but, as a share of total income, the collection source is still very low.
Rights holders use carrot and stick approach for music sampling
The art of music sampling had its heyday prior to the music industry’s sharp reversal of fortune. However, rights holders are increasingly eager to monetize the practice. Chasing unauthorized samplers through the courts is one way to do this, although EMI Production Music is choosing to give users of uncleared samples the opportunity to come clean, while also offering a spot of forgiveness for past sampling transgressions. But EMI’s initiative is a short-term promotional exercise above everything, and the threat of litigation will remain the primary mode of licensing enforcement — and revenue collection — going forward. However, those artists looking to legitimately use samples in their compositions are not finding it easy to clear rights and publishers really need to simplify their systems to accommodate them.
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 profile. Sweden has quickly become the world leader in terms of music access, with home-grown service Spotify dominating not only record company earnings from digital music, but also total Swedish recorded music trade revenue. There have been signs of a slowdown in music subscription take-up, but earlier this year the local IFPI branch said it was confident there was still considerable room for growth. The IFPI made its comments after mid-year figures hinted at a return to growth in total trade revenue after a slight dip in 2014. One of the major beneficiaries from the digital growth has been STIM, the authors’ society, with collections last year rising to record levels on the back of authors’ growing digital earnings.
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