New issue of Music & Copyright with US country report

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

The changing role of bundling in the ongoing digital music evolution
Music bundling with mobile subscription packages is a practice that has been around for almost 10 years. Credited with a major role in boosting the take-up of music subscription services, bundling has evolved over the years from the addition of a music service free with a mobile package to more discounted and promotional bolt-ons. There are exceptions, with some mobile operators persisting with the hard bundle. Moreover, the different regions of the world have distinct differences in what is an appropriate bundle. European mobile operators now offer the least friendly music bundles, while operators in Asia remain a mixed bag of hard bundles and promotional offers, with some persisting with their own-developed services rather than partnering with one of the international services. For a long time, US operators chose not to offer music services. However, two of the country’s mobile providers have defied the developed market bundle trend and gone all in with a hard bundle offering.

Japan set for a full-year rise in recorded-music sales
New figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats increased last year compared with 2017. Although audio formats suffered a decline in both value and volume, a big jump in the value of music DVDs and Blu-rays boosted the overall production value. Japan’s dominant physical music format, the CD album, suffered a fall in both value and volume. Only minor physical audio formats registered any growth. Full-year figures for digital trade earnings are set for publication in February, and based on digital revenue in the first nine months of the year, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register an overall increase.

Vivendi bets on streaming to get the most out of UMG sale
Vivendi is looking to sell a big slice of UMG to the highest bidder, at a time when streaming is making the music business a very attractive proposition indeed. Furthermore, UMG is a very appealing asset right now, based on its impressive lineup of artists and on their performances across platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. There is much speculation regarding possible acquirers, with both private-equity firms and media corporations thought to be in the frame. Vivendi is naturally eager to get top dollar, but it has to ensure that any uncertainty created by the proposed sale doesn’t affect the performance of the very asset it is aiming to dispose of.

US country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed US music industry report. The US is the biggest music market in the world. Not only does it account for around one-third of global recorded-music sales, the country is home to the world’s largest live music sector and the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment. The US also has two of the leading authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and has quickly become the biggest performance rights market for record companies and performers, even though the country’s collection agency, SoundExchange, only collects royalties from digital music services.

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