The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
IFPI reports second consecutive year of recorded-music income growth
International music trade body the IFPI has reported the second straight year of growth in trade earnings from recorded music. Moreover, the growth rate was the highest this century, with income from streaming more than offsetting declines in income from physical formats and downloads. Significantly, digital accounted for half of the trade revenue total, with streaming making up close to two-thirds of the digital total. The IFPI noted that digital accounted for more than half of trade earnings in 25 markets, with five of those markets crossing the digital tipping point last year. However, the global trade body reiterated previous concerns about the fact that although music is being consumed at record levels, artists and record labels are still not receiving fair remuneration.
ASCAP, GEMA, and PRS for Music all report record financials
Three of the world’s biggest collective management organizations (CMOs), ASCAP, GEMA, and PRS for Music, all registered increases in collections in 2016. US CMO ASCAP reported a new record for royalty collections, with revenue exceeding $1bn for the third straight year. Distributions also edged closer to the $1bn mark. Collections by German CMO GEMA also topped previous records and exceeded the €1bn level for the first time. The CMO said that one of the main drivers of growth was its agreement with YouTube and subsequent retroactive licensing payments. UK CMO PRS reported a record year for performance royalty collections, with almost all the main income sources registering a year-on-year rise. Digital income was boosted by streaming gains, and international royalties – the biggest income source for PRS – registered a big rise, though the growth rate was inflated by exchange rates. Distributions topped £500m for the first time.
Voice set to take command of music listening
Voice recognition is set to become a key battleground for music as smart speakers gain traction among consumers. The appeal of using audio commands to make listening choices and do away with screens and multistep functionality is clear, though it is also evident that the technology needs to be significantly improved to make voice the primary method for navigating extensive digital music libraries. The trailblazer right now is Amazon and its proprietary Alexa platform, which has already found its way into millions of homes via the online retail giant’s Echo home speakers. Amazon has established a lead here and is committed to putting serious resources into voice recognition going forward.
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