New issue of Music & Copyright with UK country report

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

How podcasts are carving out a space in the music business
Leading music companies are pushing their way into podcasts as a means of expanding their core audio entertainment bases beyond music performance. UMG is currently focusing on music-related content, for example, while SME is looking for opportunities beyond the music business. Thanks to an aggressive—and ongoing—acquisition strategy, Spotify has emerged as a major player and is now in a position to significantly develop both new business models and the format itself. Expect to see some more experimentation in and around podcasts, with Spotify the mover and shaker behind much of the action.

US Copyright Office report on safe harbors recommends a rebalance is required
The US Copyright Office has published a report looking at the impact and effectiveness of the safe harbor provisions contained in section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The study is the first conducted by the government on the effectiveness of the notice-and-takedown system since its enactment more than 20 years ago. Guiding its analysis, the office said it followed a number of principals and subsequently concluded that the operation of the section 512 safe harbor system has become unbalanced. The report highlights areas where current implementation of section 512 is out of sync with Congress’ original intent, including eligibility qualifications for the service provider safe harbors, repeat infringer policies and knowledge requirement standards. The report is not advocating big changes to section 512 but has instead identified certain areas where Congress could fine-tune section 512 to achieve a better balance between the rights and responsibilities of online service providers and rights holders in the creative industries.

JASRAC reports new highs for collections and distributions
Japanese authors’ society JASRAC has reported a second straight year of growth for collections and distributions with receipts and payments in the 12 months to end-March 2020 hitting new records. Broadcasting collections, JASRAC’s biggest income source returned to growth after a fall in the prior 12-month period. General performance income was also up, along with receipts from cable and satellite as well as background music. A new milestone for digital saw collections top mechanicals for the first time. Digital income was boosted by the uptake of music and video subscription services. CD and video mechanicals were hit by falling sales of hard formats, while games mechanicals registered another positive year on the back of rising games sales. In line with the rise in collections, distributions to its members hit a new record in the latest financial year, with broadcasting the biggest single source of earnings for Japanese authors, ahead of digital and mechanicals.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. Up to the end of last year, the UK’s music industry had experienced a positive few years with all of the major sectors on the up. After several years of decline, recorded-music trade revenue has risen for five years in a row with rising subscription sales and streaming growth, along with rising performance rights and synchronization income more than offsetting the steady decline in spending on physical formats and downloads. Last year the UK maintained third spot in the IFPI’s global ranking, ahead of Germany with trade sales surpassing £1bn ($1.2bn) for the first time for more than 10 years. UMG extended its market share lead over second placed SME with the former gaining share and the latter suffering a small. Royalty collections in the UK are on the rise with both PRS for Music and PPL continuing to register record receipts.

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