New issue of Music & Copyright

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

IFPI reports big rise in recorded-music trade sales
Global recorded-music trade earnings increased 8.1% last year, to $17.3bn, from $16.0bn in 2016, according to figures published by the IFPI. The rise marked the third consecutive year of growth since the IFPI began tracking the market in 1997. Revenue from digital formats and services increased 19.1%, to $9.4bn, from $7.9bn, while trade earnings from physical formats generated revenue of $5.2bn, down 5.4%, from $5.5bn. The rate of decline in physical format income was tempered by the ongoing revival of the vinyl format. Performance rights generated $2.4bn of revenue last year, up from $2.3bn in 2016, while synchronization earnings stood at $0.3bn.

Live streaming has a new champion in the making
Audiences have taken to watching live streams of performances at leading festivals and concert venues, with the likes of Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, and Live Nation among those embracing the format. To date, live-streaming efforts have been fairly piecemeal, and no single technology provider has emerged to own the space and push it forward. But this might be about to change, as ambitious provider LiveXLive continues to sign partnership deals with leading promoters. However, simple live streaming may not be enough to win over music fans in the long term; further innovation is needed to make it a highly engaging medium.

Three straight years of collection growth for SACEM
French collection society SACEM has reported a third successive year of growth in collections, with income and distributions both topping previous record levels. Domestic revenue and income from mandates all registered a year-on-year rise in 2017. Collections from broadcasting edged down, and mechanical receipts continued the downward trend, but royalty earnings from all the other main income sources registered growth. Moreover, in a repeat of both 2015 and 2016, private copying and online were the biggest gainers. In addition to the good year for collections, SACEM-member authors’ rights distributions also registered growth. The authors’ society noted that it restated its 2016 figures to reflect contractual changes with the mechanical rights society SDRM, which came into effect last year as part of a push to improve transparency in reporting.

Wolfgang’s Vault operators guilty of copyright infringement over streaming of iconic live recordings
A New York court has sided with some of the world’s biggest music publishers in a long running copyright infringement case involving the unlicensed download and streaming of a number of live performances by some of the world’s biggest artists. The service, Wolfgang’s Vault, has been buying up live audiovisual performances for several years and making them available on different websites. Although the service owners claimed to hold the correct mechanical licenses to distribute the recordings, the court decided otherwise and ruled that the service was guilty of copyright infringement. However, the court did not grant the publishers an injunction to shutter the websites. A future trial will determine if the copyright infringements were willful and set damages accordingly.

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