The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Measuring the impact of a global recession on music spending
An economic recession experienced by a single country or at a regional or global level has inevitable implications for households. Depending on the depth or cause of an economic downturn, effects on consumers may be minor, or could result in bigger changes to their way of life. The current move towards economic contraction for almost all countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic falls into the latter category with real hardship set to fall on many of those affected. National governments are reporting the beginning of recessions (two consecutive quarters of negative growth) but also some optimism that the recessions will be short-lived. However, the consequences will be anything but short-lived with unemployment rates around the world rising fast. How the current situation will impact on the music industry remains to be seen. However, past research suggests that spending patterns on entertainment services change at a slow pace during recessive economic periods with many consumers choosing to cut back on other outgoings instead.
Fair use ruling saves Amazon, Apple, and Netflix from the fishhook
Three of the world’s biggest OTT video streaming services have been granted a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement claim brought by three authors of a children’s song. The claim centered on the use of a short section of the song in a film documentary about a group of burlesque dancers. The film was made available on the services operated by Amazon, Apple, and Netflix. The authors said that the use of the song was unauthorized and subsequently filed a legal case at a New York district court. The three services followed with a motion to dismiss on the grounds of fair use. The court found that the film’s incorporation of the song qualified as fair use under section 17 of the US Copyright Act and so granted the motion.
Video games stepping up to fill the live music event space
The live music business continues to have a seriously difficult time of it during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While the livestreaming of music performances initially looked to provide relief, that particular technology does not hold out much commercial promise for artists. Gaming, however, is having something of a good pandemic as citizens forced to stay in place in their homes up their domestic entertainment consumption. Hugely popular titles such as Minecraft and Fortnite are increasingly hosting music events within their gaming environments, with more in the pipeline. Paid-for festivals could prove a lifeline for live performances, while the gaming crowd’s microtransactions habit may prove lucrative too.
Germany country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Germany music industry report. Retail sales of recorded-music in Germany returned to growth in 2019 after two years of modest decline. Continued interest in subscription and streaming sales just managed to offset the drop off of physical formats and downloads. Notable in last year’s sales figures was that access service revenue accounted for more than half of the combined physical and digital total for the first time. Digital generated close to two thirds of the retail total. Sales of physical formats were down year-on-year, but the rate of decline was lessened by a return to growth for sales of vinyl and a slowdown in the demise of the CD album. International pop was again the most popular genre but a sharp rise in spending on hip-hop/rap saw the genre move second and overtake rock. Collections for authors’ society GEMA returned to growth, although the total just missed topping the record set in 2017. Ticket sales to live music events registered another record 12-months. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the sector hard.
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