New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

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

The US Copyright Office selects the Music Licensing Collective and Digital Licensee Coordinator
The US Copyright Office (the Office) has chosen the two groups that will facilitate the new system of mechanical licensing as determined by the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The aim of the MMA is to do away with the song-by-song notice of intention process and create a new blanket compulsory licensing system for digital music services. Moreover, the blanket-licensing structure should reduce the transaction costs associated with song-by-song licensing by commercial services and speed up the process of royalty payments to rights holders. The provisions of the MMA directed the Office to select a nonprofit group operated by copyright owners to administer the new blanket-licensing system from the beginning of 2021. Furthermore, a group representing digital music services has also been selected to coordinate the activities of the music licensees.

Germany records the best midyear music sales performance for more than 20 years
New figures published by the German music-trade body BVMI show that retail sales of recorded music in the first half of this year increased at the fastest rate for more than 20 years. Streaming registered a positive six months despite a slower growth rate than in the prior-year period. Buy-to-own formats also had a better half year with the rate of decline in sales of CD albums and downloads notably less severe. Spending on vinyl was up after a fall in the first half of last year. Despite already being the single-biggest revenue source, audio streaming accounted for more than half of the retail sales total for the first time. Furthermore, with streaming now dominant, the overall performance of the market will increasingly be determined more by the uptake of music subscriptions and less by the rate of decline of the once-dominant CD album.

The lyrics battle is still on, but questions remain over the sector’s creativity
The music industry has fought hard against what used to be a whole host of online, unlicensed song-lyric pirates, forcing a number of them to turn legitimate and many more to the irrelevant periphery. However, there is still a battle going on among licensed providers in what remains a largely unpoliced segment, as evidenced by the recent spat between two leading outfits. Song lyrics are increasingly regarded as a valuable tool by social networks looking to provide their users with ways of boosting engagement with others, especially when it comes to telling “life stories.” But the business has yet to see a great deal of innovation beyond different simple means of sticking words across videos and images; it is time to be more creative with lyrics to develop an edge over the competition.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry report. Of all the leading recorded-music markets, Japan is certainly the most erratic, with some sizable differences in annual performance. Looking back over the last decade, total trade revenue from recorded-music sales has been inconsistent, with one or two years of growth followed by a couple of years of decline. However, despite record company income from physical formats continuing to be unpredictable, the digital sector has become more stable. Moreover, after a lengthy reliance on downloads, the subscription sector is now generating more revenue for the local industry than any other digital income stream.

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