New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

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

Little change forecast for global recorded music retail sales
Ovum has published new forecasts for retail sales of recorded music that suggest little variation in overall spending levels, but the continuation of the transition from ownership to access. Although global consumer spending on recorded music will change very little in the years to 2020, spending on digital formats and services will overtake physical formats this year and go on to account for almost three-quarters of all sales in just six years. According to Ovum, music subscriptions will lead the charge, dominating retail spending for the foreseeable future. Record companies are set to benefit most from the streaming gains, given the lower costs involved, and are expected to register increased earnings annually.

The corporate live music sector is heading for a record year
All of the leading players in the corporate live music industry have now published financial details for the first half of 2015. An assessment of how the sector has performed suggests the live music industry could well be heading for a record year. Combined earnings for the seven featured companies showed healthy growth overall with only the Brazilian promoter Time For Fun suffering a year-on-year decline in revenue. Live Nation is by far the biggest of the seven events companies detailed but the strongest revenue gains were registered by the most recently listed promoter SFX Entertainment. However, turbulence in SFX’s delisting process has hit the company’s share price and there remains a big question mark over the company’s future.

Music industry gets legal but digital compromise is coming
A recent court case in the US that has gone against the music industry has highlighted the fact that record companies have been ignoring the concept of “fair use”, which allows third parties to use IP-protected content for purposes such as news reporting, criticism, or parody without the permission of the copyright owner. At the same time, online service providers such as YouTube and SoundCloud are coming under increasing pressure from rights holders to license content shared by their millions of users. The music industry is challenging US and European “safe harbor” provisions which enable service providers to disseminate music without licensing the content first. However, while the two parties are currently at loggerheads over who extracts the value produced by artists, they do have strategic objectives in common which may see them working more closely together in the future.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry profile. Japan is the second-largest recorded music market in the world. According to the IFPI, the country ended 2014 behind the US in terms of overall trade revenue but was the global leader for trade income from sales of physical formats. Japan is unique among the leading markets in so many ways: Its trade revenue from sales of physical formats still accounts for more than 80% of total record company income. After several years of decline, digital earnings have started rising again and subscription services are showing considerable promise. Major record company dominance is ably challenged by a number of local independent companies. Japan also boasts one of the world’s largest authors’ societies in terms of royalties collected and it has a buoyant live sector.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.