The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Plotting the rise of paid audio subscriptions and the end of smooth lines and growth curves
Earlier this year, global trade body the IFPI reported that audio subscriptions were on course to become the biggest source of revenue for music companies. Digital as a whole overtook physical in 2014, and streaming became the biggest revenue generator in 2016. However, although the CD album was still the single revenue source when streaming is broken out into its three constituent parts, paid audio subscriptions is set to take the lead this year. The rise of the paid subscription from niche revenue source just a few years ago can only be described as rapid, and recent record-company results have illustrated the importance of access services to the companies’ bottom lines. As part of our annual look at the latest developments in the music subscription sector, we explain why streaming is now so important for the recorded-music industry and why the rise of access services is the beginning of the end for the well-established trend of straight-line growth and decline.
ECJ issues ruling on internet sharing platforms’ role in copyright infringement
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued a preliminary ruling in a case referred by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands on the legality of websites and services offering the indexation of metadata relating to protected works, which enable internet users to locate copy-protected works and share them online. The ECJ said that making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works may constitute an infringement of copyright. Even if the copyright-protected works are placed online by the users of the online sharing platform, the ECJ confirmed that the operators of that platform play an essential role in making those works available. The case was first brought by Dutch antipiracy organization Stichting Brein against internet service providers (ISPs) Ziggo and XS4ALL to force them to block the domain names and IP addresses of torrent tracker site The Pirate Bay.
Sharp rise in private copying collections boosts ARTISJUS results
Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS has reported a return to growth in royalty collections following a fall in 2015. A boost from retroactive private copying collections in 2014 was the main cause for the year-on-year decline the following year. However, sharp organic growth in private copying income last year, along with positive results from public performance and cable retransmission, took ARTISJUS’s total revenue close to the 2014 record. Digital collections were particularly positive, although they still accounted for a minor source of income for Hungarian authors. ARTISJUS noted in its business report that the focus of digital exploitation has shifted from downloading to streaming, resulting in much heavier administration in the course of the collection and distribution of royalties. Local VOD services generated around three-quarters of digital royalties, with international music services accounting for the remainder.
UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. The UK’s recorded-music industry is experiencing something of a growth spurt at the moment. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade earnings from recorded music. Although revenue slipped back in 2014, the country has subsequently registered two consecutive years of growth. The retail value of recorded-music sales has also risen year on year with subscription sales and streaming growth more than offsetting lower spending on singles and albums. Royalty collections in the UK are also showing positive signs, with both PRS for Music and PPL registering annual growth. Live music continues to be the most robust leisure sector in the UK with tours and festival appearances still the most secure way for artists to generate revenue. However, despite the relatively buoyant stadium and arena sector, the ongoing decline in the number of smaller music venues is a cause for concern.
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