The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Now is the time to get wise with music discovery as devices get smarter
Voice-controlled speakers are increasingly becoming a popular way to consume music in the home, with streaming services coming to the fore on such systems. The larger technology companies have combined their streaming offerings with smart speaker offers. Also, streaming leader Spotify is regularly touted as a late entrant to the smart device sector. Consumers are also turning to other smart devices, in particular connected TVs, which also boast voice-control features. To date, the industry’s experiments with voice-driven equipment has revolved around promotion, and some have proved successful. However, players need to get to grips sooner rather than later with functionality based on oral commands and requests if they are to be relevant in music discovery in the age of Alexa.
Ariana Grande joins the long list of accused high-profile artist copyright infringers
The growing list of plagiarism accusations against high-profile artists saw another addition in January with the claim by US hip-hop artist and singer songwriter Josh Stone that Ariana Grande and her team of songwriters copied his track You Need It, I Got It for the Grande track 7 Rings. Proving plagiarism requires two key elements: To begin with, there must be substantial similarity between the two works in question. Also, it must be proved that an accused has either heard or is presumed to have heard the original work prior to the writing of the infringing track. Stone’s court filing presents evidence for both elements, with expert testimony from two musicologists as well as an account of meetings with a music producer who went on to contribute to the Grande track. Stone has requested damages and all profits attributable to the alleged infringement.
Physical decline signals overall contraction in Japanese recorded-music sales
New figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats was down last year compared with 2018. Both audio and video suffered a decline in production value and units. There were some bright spots in the figures, with the value and volume of domestic repertoire CD albums increasing year on year along with vinyl LPs. Furthermore, the number of domestic Blu-ray music videos produced was up along with the trade value. However, a difficult year for DVDs had a negative effect on the overall video figures and total physical production. Full-year figures for digital trade earnings are set for publication in February. However, based on digital revenue in the first nine months of the year, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register a market decline, albeit a small one.
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. Last year, the country accounted for more than one-third of global recorded-music sales and close to 40% of spending on tickets to live music events. The US is home to the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment, as well as the two leading authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and the biggest performance rights organization, SoundExchange.
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