New issue of Music & Copyright with South Africa country report

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

UK High Court issues orders to ISPs to block access to copyright infringing sites and services
The UK High Court has granted 10 recorded-music companies two blocking orders, forcing six of the country’s biggest ISPs to prevent access to a number of stream-ripping services and the cyberlocker Nitroflare. The legal action was coordinated by the BPI on behalf of the companies. The ISPs were presented with evidence at the end of 2018 of the copyright infringing activity by some of their subscribers when accessing the stream-rippers and cyberlocker. Although ISPs in the UK will not impose blocks to sites and services without a court order, the big six did not oppose the application for site blocks. After the orders were granted, the BPI said stream-ripping and cyberlockers were the music industry’s current biggest piracy threats and were responsible for part of the £200m ($279m) a year that is illegally taken out of the music industry ecosystem.

Streaming and vinyl the big positives for German recorded-music sales
The German recorded-music trade body BVMI has reported a second straight year of growth for retail sales of recorded-music. Consumer spending on physical and digital formats and services was the highest for almost 15 years. Moreover, total revenue, which also included performance rights and synchronization income, topped the €2bn mark. Increased interest in paid subscriptions boosted overall streaming sales and for the first time, access service revenue accounted for more than half of the music total. Sales of physical formats were down year-on-year with lockdown measures introduced to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus affecting spending. However, a sharp rise in vinyl sales partially offset the decline in CD sales. International pop was again the most popular genre, ahead of hip-hop/rap and rock.

Silicon Valley music startup UnitedMasters wires in indie artists
Independent music distributor UnitedMasters has been built with Northern California funding and has tech company financial backing to show for it. The company is able to boast major music notables too, while also having a way with leading brands. The idea is that all that know-how is placed at the disposal of up and coming artists to enable them to truly emerge. UnitedMasters is very much in sync with the rise and rise of independent music and its recipe has so far proved a hit, especially with hip-hop acts. The outfit may have to learn to live with the major record companies poaching its successes but the recent tie-ups with TikTok and Twitch are good deals and ought to provide a rich talent funnel going forward.

South Africa country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Africa music industry report. South Africa is Africa’s biggest music market. Consumer spending on recorded-music along with royalty collections are significantly higher in the country than in any other market in the region. Despite its geographic location, South Africa more closely resembles a Western music market and has far more in common with countries in Europe and North America than it does with its neighbors. However, although this means South Africa has a more developed music market, per capita spending on recorded-music is very low. Moreover, the same problems encountered in the developed world in the shift from physical formats to digital and downloads to access, have been experienced in the country. But, even though the rise in high speed internet access has exacerbated problems associated with the unauthorized distribution of music, higher digital sales, rising smartphone penetration and the rollout of several international streaming services suggests the market has a bright future.

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