New issue of Music & Copyright with Italy country report

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

US leading global recorded-music sales to fifth consecutive year of growth
With all the world’s major recorded-music markets and several smaller ones having published midyear trade figures, Music & Copyright’s annual assessment of the results suggests global recorded-music trade earnings from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will register a higher rate of growth this year than in 2018. All the trade associations that have published figures or provided guidance have shown continued gains from music subscription services, and this earnings growth in all but one of the countries has more than offset declines in revenue from other formats. The ongoing dominance of the world’s biggest markets, particularly the US, is continuing, but the rate of growth in the less developed and so-called emerging markets is set to be higher than the global leaders.

Advocate general at European Court of Justice finds no resale right for e-books
Maciej Szpunar, advocate general at the European Court of Justice (CJEU), has provided an opinion in a case involving the resale of secondhand e-books. Often in cases involving disputes over specific points of law, an advocate general is asked to publish their opinion, which can act as guidance to the court when a specific case is heard. The case in question this time centered on the business model of a Dutch e-book reseller. Although the matter has been ruled on twice by district and appeal courts in Amsterdam, a court in The Hague asked the CJEU to answer a number of questions before making a ruling. In his published opinion, Szpunar decided that there should be no market for the resale of e-books because of the potential damage caused to rights holders. Although the advocate general’s opinion related specifically to e-books, his arguments against resale could easily be applied to recorded music.

Artists thwarted by streaming look to merchandizing to make music pay
The low level of royalty payments in the music-streaming business has long been a bone of contention among rights holders, and artists have often come out and highlighted just how few dollars most of them get from the billions of annual plays across the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Some companies, most notably Deezer, are investigating different payment systems that better reward smaller artists. In the meantime, however, musicians looking to make a living from their music need to come up with other ways to support themselves. That is why an increasing number are looking to the selling of a range of music merchandize to put money in their coffers. Furthermore, the potential of merchandizing is not just attracting artists: each of the three major record companies is looking to increase its merchandizing play.

Italy country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Italy music industry report. Italy’s recorded-music sector has experienced an erratic few years, largely due to the lingering dominance of physical formats. However, digital trade sales overtook physical formats last year, and the sharp rise in subscription sales more than offset falls in CD album sales and vinyl. The pattern of sales has continued this year, and Italy looks to be heading for a period of growing stability. UMG is the clear leader in market share terms, ahead of second-placed SME, with the former increasing its distributor share at the expense of the latter. Royalty collections have been positive, with only minor changes over the last three years. Total income for authors’ society SIAE edged up last year, but music collections were down slightly. Italy’s live music sector has undergone a number of strategic changes of late, most notably with the launch of Ticketmaster Italia. Earlier this year, the ticketing service partnered with local independent festival promoter Home Entertainment as part of the service’s Italian expansion. Regulators in the country have increased their attention on the secondary ticketing sector, but promoters are still bemoaning efforts to control the practice.

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