New issue of Music & Copyright with South Korea country report

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

Live music sector set to register another record year of growth in ticket sales
The live music sector may have been overtaken by recorded music in the last couple of years in terms of global consumer spend, but of the two, live has been the steadier earner. Measuring the annual performance of the live music sector on a global level is a speculative process. In contrast to recorded music, which is highly organized under the auspices of the IFPI, the live industry has no global trade association. Moreover, despite the recent emergence of a small number of corporate promoters, the live industry is not controlled by a few players, unlike the recorded-music sector, which is dominated by the three majors and music publishing groups. However, national indicators suggest the live industry is in good health. Moreover, based on the corporate leaders’ financial details for the first nine months of this year, the sector looks likely to register a positive 2018.

Napster shows the music industry a different way to generate music streaming profits
Once the nemesis of the recorded music industry, Napster may well now be showing the way for music streaming services to become profitable. The company struggled to make it pay when it first began offering licensed music services, but a refusal to hitch its wagon to a subscriber-growth-led strategy has seen it develop expertise in the niche. A new cost-control-oriented CEO has managed to stem the flow of red ink, and this year is set to be the first in the company’s history to return a profit. Napster clearly has a tightly focused business plan, and the service is benefiting from innovation and the creation of new personal listening experiences. But despite the service’s positive financial position, Napster needs to innovate further on both the content and technical sides if it’s to avoid becoming another streaming also-ran.

Gains in streaming and physical music video boost recorded-music sales in Japan
New figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show digital music sales grew in the first nine months of this year at a faster rate than in the same period of 2017. A big jump in trade earnings from audio subscriptions more than offset lower year-on-year sales of all unit downloads. The positive period for digital sales echoed the RIAJ’s previously reported results for the production of physical formats, and so taken together, Japan’s record companies look to be heading for a very positive year. However, questions remain over the longer-term fortunes for the recorded-music sector, given the ongoing dominance of physical formats. The trend in most developed markets has been for music subscriptions to assume dominance over the once popular CD album, but instead of following the global leaders, Japan may well be heading the same way as South Korea, where both music subscriptions and physical formats happily coexist.

South Korea country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Korea music industry report. South Korea’s recorded-music industry is quite possibly the most advanced in the world. Since the turn of the century, the sector has been through a massive transformation: once almost overrun by piracy, it is now multifaceted with both physical and digital formats and services flourishing. Surprisingly for a developed market, CD album sales are still healthy in the country despite the continued rise of digital sales. Although spending on digital music accounted for the majority of music sales last year (see Figure 1), the growth rate in spending on physical formats in the year narrowed the gap. Korean-produced music is popular worldwide with the K-pop genre benefiting from the so-called Korean Wave, which began in the late 1990s and continues to boost the popularity of South Korean popular culture through online services and social media. Local music groups dominate recorded-music distribution with the major labels accounting for a low market share.

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