The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
BMG pushing the music industry to follow its artist-centric model
BMG is looking to remake the music industry in its image. The recorded-music and music publishing company has created, and is constantly developing, a model that it says better serves the artist and song writers, while also building a thriving business for itself. BMG is taking a stance on discriminatory contracts and streaming royalties. It is hoping that while it is a mere minnow compared to the industry’s leading music companies, its arguments can get traction among artists and, eventually, with the major movers and shakers. The company is now pushing into new operating areas and looking to bring its ethos to different music segments. It remains to be seen whether its practices are able to win over the competition and bring any significant change to the music business.
Court filing reveals Schneider and YouTube entrenched positions in ongoing copyright infringement case
The class action complaint filed at a California district court by composer Maria Schneider and rights management company Pirate Monitor against online video service YouTube and search giant Google in July last year is very much ongoing, according to a case management statement (CMS) presented to the court at the end of January. Schneider/Pirate Monitor filed the claim on the grounds that smaller rights holders are denied access to the online video service’s Content ID system of copyright protection. Denying the use of Content ID means smaller rights holders are forced into trawling YouTube for unlicensed content and then sending individual takedown notices to the only video service via either a web-form, email, or postal mail for each video their searches identify. The court filing accused YouTube of operating a two-tier system with the rights of large creators given preference over the rights of smaller independent creators. The CMS details the current positions of both sides in the case, illustrating an almost total lack of any common ground with little prospect of agreement out of court any time soon.
Investors unimpressed by Spotify’s positive end to the year
Music streaming service Spotify has published its 4Q and full year results for the 2020 financial year. Total revenue for the three-month period was at the top end of the guidance provided with the 3Q results. Also, the number of premium subscribers added in the quarter exceeded the guidance. Spotify ended last year with net 30 million more subscribers than it began the year with. Furthermore, premium ARPU grew in the 4Q20 compared with 3Q20, the first quarter-on-quarter rise since 2Q19. However, despite the positive results, questions over the guidance for 2021 resulted in a big hit to the company’s market cap. Spotify said in its results statement that it faced uncertainty versus prior years due to the unknown duration of the pandemic and its ongoing effect on user, subscriber, and revenue growth. The day the results were published, Spotify’s share price fell 8%.
India country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed India music industry report. India is the second most populous country in the world. The size of the population is edging ever closer towards 1.4 billion and, according to recent United Nations projections, India will overtake global leader China before the end of this decade. However, despite accounting for almost 20% of the global population, India’s music industry has always underperformed. Recorded-music sales have been stymied by widespread music piracy, rights collections have suffered from adverse legal rulings and a lack of licensing, while the live sector struggles from infrastructure shortcomings. Most recently, the country has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the problems, there are signs that the world’s biggest emerging market is starting to live up to its billing. In the last few years, retail sales of recorded-music have been on the up and rights collections have benefitted greatly by a deal between authors’ society IPRS and Google for music use by YouTube. Live music remains the problem sector with all concert tours and festivals cancelled until the pandemic is under control.
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