The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Creativity survives as COVID-19 hits the music sector hard
The COVID-19 pandemic has slammed the music industry, with the live music and physical retail segments the hardest hit. Around the world, there has been a swathe of live performance cancelations and postponements, with many, many more to come. This is hitting large live entertainment providers like Live Nation, and is threatening the futures of independent venues, while also impacting the livelihoods of those working in the sector. With city shutdowns already in place or imminent, music retailers will really suffer in the short- to medium-term at best. Also, music streaming providers might not be as secure as they seem at first glance with the global economy set to crater. The best we can say to those hit by the COVID-19 is be creative, and above all, stick together.
California judge overturns Katy Perry plagiarism ruling but leaves door open to an appeal
US performer Katy Perry, her coauthors, and music companies behind the 2013-released hit single Dark Horse are not liable for damages following a ruling at the US District Court for the Central District of California. The court decided that the Perry single did not plagiarize the Marcus Gray-created track Joyful Noise. Perry and her coauthors, associated record companies, and publishers had been hit with a sizable damages ruling following a trial last July, but the latest decision means they are off the hook. The case centered on an eight-note ostinato – a short musical phrase or rhythmic pattern repeated in a musical composition. Gray had argued that the ostinato in his track had been used by Perry and her coauthors. Although the two eight-note sections sounded similar, the California court ultimately decided that the ostinato did not qualify for protection. Gray is, however, able to appeal the decision, so the case is not yet closed.
Four straight years of revenue growth for UK recorded-music sector
UK music trade association the BPI has published trade sales for last year, with streaming gains and increased sales of vinyl, along with higher revenue from performance rights and synchronization more than offsetting declines in CD album sales and downloads. In a repeat of 2018, the big success story last year was subscriptions, with revenue from the likes of Apple Music and Spotify registering another strong year. The BPI figures show that income from subscription services accounted for more than half of the trade total for the first time. Advertising revenue from audio on-demand services also grew last year, along with video streaming income and sales of vinyl albums. UK trade sales have now risen for four consecutive years and are the highest for 13 years, but remain below the post-millennium peak year of 2001.
Indonesia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Indonesia music industry report. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the US: the country ended 2019 with 269.1 million inhabitants. Despite its large population, Indonesia has always underperformed as a recorded-music market with the legal sector struggling to gain a foothold because of high piracy rates. However, the success around the world of music streaming is starting to be felt in Indonesia with a mixture of services now available offering access to several million local and international recordings. The collection of royalties is undergoing change with the government and the different collective management organizations agreeing on one-stop-shop administration with a single agency given the authority to collect and distribute royalties from commercial music users. The live sector is facing a tough year with the spread of COVID-19. This year’s Java Jazz Festival went ahead at the end of February and beginning of March, but others are set to be cancelled or rescheduled.
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