The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Music subscriptions boost global recorded-music trade sales to a sixth consecutive annual increase
International music trade body the IFPI has reported another year of positive results for the global recorded-music sector. In a year greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, total revenue increased at a healthy rate with streaming gains more than offsetting declines in sales of CD albums, music downloads, performance rights and synchronization revenue. Such was the rise in streaming, revenue from access services accounted for almost two thirds of global trade sales. Vinyl also had a particularly good year with income from the age-old format soon to surpass CDs. Performance rights suffered a second straight year of decline with the fallout from lockdown measures impacting public performance. Synchronization revenue also took a hit because of video production delays caused by pandemic restrictions.
Tower of Power front man takes on music major at the Ninth Circuit
US singer songwriter Lenny Williams is attempting for a second time to have his claim against WMG and the subsidiary label Warner Bros. Records certified as a class action. Williams first brought a case against WMG at a California state court in October 2018, accusing the music company of making intercompany revenue deductions when music is streamed overseas. The process of transferring revenue through different subsidiaries means that royalties paid to artists are based on a lower amount than they should be, leaving artists shortchanged. The case has made its way to the Ninth Circuit after a California district court ruled that the claim could not be certificated as a class action due to the differences in contracts between artists are record companies. Oral hearings were heard in March before a panel of three judges.
NFTs are lining up to become blockchain’s chance to remix music
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are most definitely a thing in the music industry as leading artists participate in highly lucrative asset auctions. However, a commercial activity built on esoteric technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies is a hard sell, and the activity is seriously in need of digital- and music-savvy intermediaries in order for a wider range of artists and the average fan to be able join the party. There are signs this is happening and that the current wave of expensive token sales is merely an entertaining warmup act. While there is certainly a pipeline of high-price tokens aimed at collector and investor (speculator) types, expect tokens to gradually become more mainstream as they permeate the merchandize, music format, and ticketing businesses.
Indonesia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Indonesia music industry report. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the US: the country ended 2020 with 273.9 million inhabitants. Despite its large population, Indonesia has always underperformed as a recorded-music market with the legal sector long-struggling to gain a foothold because of persistently high piracy rates. However, the success around the world of music streaming is being felt in Indonesia with a mixture of services now available offering access to several million local and international recordings. The collection of royalties is undergoing change. In 2019 the government and the different collective management organizations agreed on a one-stop-shop administration with a single agency given the authority to collect and distribute royalties from commercial music users. The live sector suffered a particularly bad year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures introduced to control the spread of the virus. Some live performances are set to resume later this year, but ticket sales are not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2022.
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