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.

SME labels file copyright-infringement claim against Radionomy
A number of SME record company subsidiaries including Arista Records, LaFace Records, US Latin, and Zomba have filed a copyright-infringement and unfair competition claim at the US District Court for the Northern District of California against the online radio service Radionomy. The labels have filed for seven claims for relief, including direct infringement of their rights under US copyright law; contributory copyright infringement; and inducement to infringe. The labels’ court filing states that they are entitled to the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per track infringed. The lawsuit comes just two months after UMG parent company Vivendi acquired two-thirds of the share capital of Radionomy.

Digital transition continues to dent French recorded music trade sales
French music trade association SNEP has reported a second consecutive annual fall in revenue from the sale of physical and digital music formats and digital access services. Despite sharp growth in trade income from subscription services, a big drop in earnings from physical formats and downloads meant the value of the French recorded music market last year was half of what it was 10 years ago. A good year for performance rights lessened the overall decline. In its report, SNEP drew attention to the rise of subscriptions in France – more than 3 million consumers are now paying for a subscription to one of the many services available in the country. However, with physical formats still dominant and downloads dropping away fast, it seems unlikely that the French recorded music market will return to growth any time soon.

Music video providers look to make consumers pay for the short form
The music video has come a long way since the launch of MTV in the early 1980s. Now the format is part of the short-form-video revolution which led the world to consume some five trillion clips last year. Music video consumption has long shifted online – largely into the hands of YouTube. Much of that content has yet to be fully monetized, but there are major moves underway to make more consumers pay.

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. For many years China has been seen as a music market in the midst of development and one that offers great potential for growth. Certainly the country’s marketplace for creative content is developing rapidly. However, there have been a number of false starts, and industry sectors have been left disappointed with China consistently failing to live up to its billing. More recently though, there have been some glimmers of hope. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue was up in 2014 with streaming the big driver of growth. Ovum has estimated growth continued last year, and more is set to come. 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, some creative sectors continue to suffer against a backdrop of unlicensed services and restrictive practices. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last six or so years, but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per-capita rate are tiny.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.