The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Brands partnering with music specialists to get closer to consumers
Brands have long relied on music to get closer to consumers and are always looking to refine their strategies to boost engagement. Many are now, wisely, joining forces with brand music specialists to fine-tune their offerings, and this music-for-business space is proving attractive enough to entice big hitter Apple Music to enter the fray. Launching new standalone record companies has been – and continues to be – a popular ploy, though such label output has tended to be rather limited, and brands appear to have little desire to participate beyond the short-to-medium term. Strategic alliances with music companies might be the way to take the concept beyond mere marketing tactics. Plus, there’s one major thing for brands to watch out for – make sure those content rights are sorted.
Charter claims music companies’ misregistered sound recordings in latest ISP copyright infringement case
Buoyed by the success of their copyright infringement legal action against the US ISP Cox Communications, a group of record companies have now turned their attention to Charter Communications. According to court filings, the companies have accused Charter of secondary copyright infringement based upon the ISPs subscribers’ infringing of close to 7,000 sound recordings. In an effort to invalidate a large share of the songs at issue, Charter has claimed that the music companies incorrectly registered a large number of the sound recordings at issue with the US Copyright Office as works for hire. Deliberately misstating to the Copyright Office who a work’s author is can invalidate the copyright registration, Charter has argued, and so could prevent the record companies from suing for any copyright infringement. Disputing Charter’s claim, the companies said in a court submission that no court has ever invalidated the registration of a copyrighted work because it was incorrectly designated as work for hire.
SAMRO reports steady year for collections but SABC cashflow problems hit distributions
Africa’s largest authors’ society, the South African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO), has reported a flat year for music royalties for the 12 months ending June. Difficult trading conditions affected SAMRO’s operations in the year, with a number of businesses forced to close due to economic pressures, while others defaulted. Although broadcasting collections were almost unchanged year on year, the authors’ society’s biggest income source was impacted by financial difficulties experienced by the public broadcaster the SABC. Missed payments by the broadcaster also resulted in lower royalty distributions to SAMRO members. Overseas collections increased in the financial year, although the size of the rise was exaggerated by exchange rate fluctuations and the timing of revenue receipts from foreign societies.
Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top-10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years, with China and Australia registering higher gains in trade sales. We expect Canada to maintain its lead over Brazil when the IFPI publishes its global roundup later this month, but it will remain ninth, behind Australia. Recorded-music consumption levels were up last year, and the likelihood is trade sales will have grown also. Although streaming income is expected to register healthy growth, a slump in CD album sales as well as the continued decline in sales of single track and album downloads will have dented the overall market performance. UMG and SME enhanced their market-share lead over WMG, with the formers gaining share at the latter’s expense. Preliminary results from SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the eighth year in a row, with the level of royalties collected breaking the previous year’s record. Canada’s live sector is thought to have registered a positive year, with attendance at music events up year on year.
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