The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Sprint-backed Tidal set to challenge the US music-streaming leaders
Music subscription service Tidal has sold a third stake in the company to US mobile operator Sprint. In what is being seen as a win/win for the two companies, Tidal will gain access to new finance, Sprint’s customer base, and a dedicated artist marketing fund, while Sprint will be able to offer its users a music streaming service brimming with exclusives and rare recordings and video footage. Questions have been raised over the price paid by Sprint for its stake. However, if the service boosts the mobile operator’s performance indicators, other operators in the country might follow suit and look more closely at one of the other smaller music services.
Honoring dead artists and managing commercial exploitation is tricky to get right
Unfortunately for many music fans around the world, last year was notable for the number of high-profile artists and performers that passed away. Famous names including David Bowie, Glen Frey, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and George Michael all died in 2016, leaving copyrights to some of the world’s biggest and best-selling musical works to others. In most cases, there are provisions for both what to do with those works and who benefits from them while they are in copyright. However, in some cases, heirs can be forced to make tough decisions to balance preserving an artist or performer’s legacy and the necessary business of commercial exploitation. History has shown there is big money to be made after a popular artist dies, but making sure a legacy created over a number of years is not tarnished by quick decisions can prove difficult.
Japan heading for a full-year fall in recorded-music sales
New figures published by the Japanese recorded-music trade association, the RIAJ, show that the total production value of physical formats and the number of units produced were down in 2016 compared with 2015. Both audio and video formats suffered a production dip; however, the rate of decline was fairly modest compared with some of the sizeable falls experienced in a number of other developed markets. No full-year figures for digital trade earnings have been released yet, but based on digital revenue in the first nine months of 2016, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register a slight overall decline.
Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada’s music industry registered an improved performance in 2016. Recorded-music sales in unit terms grew, on the back of a big jump in streaming. Whether that rise converts to revenue growth will be confirmed in the next couple of months, when the IFPI publishes trade revenue figures for the country. UMG remains the clear market share leader, ahead of SME. However, both majors experienced a dip in market share in 2016, with WMG and the indie sector making gains. Preliminary details published by authors’ society SOCAN show that royalty collections were up for the fourth year in a row, with the level of royalties collected and distributed all breaking previous records. Canada’s live music industry is also thought to have had a good 2016.
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