The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
The long ride to better streaming rates stops off at the UK parliament
Artist remuneration from streaming is a subject that can raise the blood pressure of many a music industry performer. Every so often an artist draws attention to their own plight by posting royalty statements on social media showing miserly payments from the leading music streaming services. Without a targeted price rise for a monthly subscription, the only way artists can receive better remuneration is for record companies to reduce their share of the revenue pot. Such a unilateral move is unlikely. However, the UK parliament is looking into the economics of streaming and in oral hearings at the end of November, some artists voiced the idea of creating a new source of equitable renumeration with certain streams resulting in payments bypassing the current royalty process and revenue going straight to artists.
YouTube set to lean more heavily on music to boost its advertising revenue
YouTube is looking to squeeze more money out of the vast amount of music consumption on its highly trafficked video platform. The company has unveiled a new advertising format along with targeted features that enable brands to align themselves with specific genres and artists. Given the size of YouTube’s audience, the move should generate significant revenue, though record companies need to ensure they get a satisfactory share of that from an infamously stingy company. YouTube’s other music asset, the YouTube Music subscription streaming service, is also gaining traction and has been consolidated with Google’s rival Play Music service. What YouTube Music needs to do now to make up ground on the likes of Spotify is to differentiate its offering—and it certainly has the ability to do that given the huge array of music content at its disposal.
How London is becoming the epicenter of music publishing as a premium financial asset class
New York-based investment fund Round Hill Music Royalty Partners confirmed in November the closure of its third private fund (Round Hill Music Royalty Fund III) and the raising of $291 million on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Round Hill’s decision to engage in an Initial Public Offering (IPO), rather than taking a fund’s standard approach of exiting its fund after 10 years, is indicative of the rise in value of music publishing rights as premium asset and the increasing importance of the UK in this area. Round Hill’s first fund comprised 120,000 songs and the value of its fund has increased from $209 million to $363 million in only eight years. Cliff Fluet, partner at law firm Lewis Silkin, has provided his thoughts on why financial investors are so interested in music publishing as a financial asset, along with the reasons why Round Hill chose the UK market to launch its IPO.
Australia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Australia music industry report. Up to the end of last year, the Australian music industry was in the midst of a prolonged period of growth. Recorded-music sales had registered consecutive annual increases in trade sales with growing numbers of consumers happy to stream music rather than own it. Such had been the rise, digital now accounts for the vast majority of trade revenue. Authors’ rights collections were also feeling the streaming benefit while income from performance rights and ticket sales for live music events were topping record levels. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Australia’s shores, much of the positivity and prospects for new records have ebbed away. There is a glimmer of hope with new vaccines set for national rollout in the next couple of months or so, but the damage caused to all the separate sectors will take time to properly heal.
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