New issue of Music & Copyright

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

Retail sales of recorded music in the US set to break the $10bn mark
US trade group the RIAA has reported another positive half year performance for retail sales of recorded-music. Subscriptions and streaming were again the star performers with growth in access service spending and advertising easily offsetting declines in sales of other formats. With the exception of advertising revenue from statutory services not distributed by SoundExchange, all the different streaming subcategories registered a positive first half of the year with paid subscriptions alone accounting for more than half of the six months’ total retail sales. The revival of vinyl continued with the growth in sales matching the rise in the prior year period. The average number of paying music subscribers increased at a slightly lower rate, but more that 14 million new subscribers were added in the six-month period.

Subscriptions the highlight in a positive first half year for Spanish recorded-music sales
Midyear retail sales figures published by Spanish music trade association Promusicae show the recovery in recorded-music sales has accelerated, with both digital and physical rising year on year. Subscriptions registered a particularly positive six-month period, generating more than half the retail sales total for the first time. Audio and video advertising revenue also increased. Unusually for a developed market, sales of CD albums were up, with consumer spending on vinyl rising sharply. Of the markets that have published sales details for the first half of this year, Spain is the clear leader in terms of growth rate. Moreover, given that subscriptions now generate more than half of the retail total, continued consumer interest in access services should mean a sixth consecutive year of growth as well as longer-term stability for Europe’s sixth-biggest music market.

Sharp rise in digital collections boosts MCSC royalty receipts to new record
Royalty collections in China have increased for the 10th consecutive year. In September the Chinese authors’ society, MCSC, published its business report for 2018, confirming that total collections had topped the previous year’s record and exceeded CNY300m ($41.8m) for the first time. Furthermore, the year-on-year growth rate was more than twice the rate in 2017, and collections have more than doubled in just four years. A new licensing deal with Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) swelled digital collections to more than half the total royalty receipts. Also registering a positive year was live performance and karaoke. Background collections, MCSC’s second-biggest revenue stream, were down, along with TV and radio income.

Classical streaming services targeting the underserved music aficionados
There’s clearly a growing appetite for classical music streaming, but the market’s leading operators aren’t set up to provide true genre enthusiasts with services they need. And that’s down to both the content they can provide and the way they go about organizing it. It’s no surprise, then, that a couple of start-ups have stepped up to serve the classical music fan with more tailored products that are all about granularity. However, both may well be underestimating the aficionado’s propensity to pay, not just for quality recordings, but also for content that enhances the principal audio experience. After all, the classical-music-consuming public is an affluent and discerning demographic that really ought to be fully served by services launched specifically to fulfill their music needs.

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