New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

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

US rights holders square up to radio sector in new push to end the performance right anomaly
New legislation aimed at forcing AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US to pay performance royalties to producers and performers has been introduced in Congress. The bipartisan American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) would line up terrestrial broadcasters alongside non-interactive online services which do pay a performance right. The US is unique in the industrialized world for not having a radio broadcast performance right for producers and performers. Previous efforts at legislating on the matter have failed, and despite radio’s role in promoting albums sales and streams waning, the strength of the radio lobby along with US politicians’ unwillingness to upset station owners means the proponents of the latest attempt are unlikely to succeed.

BUMA/STEMRA planning for a second tough year as collections take a hit from the pandemic
BUMA and STEMRA are expecting another difficult year for rights collections in the Netherlands with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic expected to have a negative impact on revenue for the second year in a row. Restrictions placed on consumer movements and the shuttering of the live sector meant combined collections for the societies were down in 2020. However, size of the dip was not as great as first thought. Moreover, although receipts for BUMA fell, STEMRA revenue was up because of new licensing deals and back payments. Distributions also took a hit and are expected to be down again this year. Backdated private copying remuneration for STEMRA is likely to soften the size of the payment decline.

Record companies set their music sights on the podcast format
Stories built around music creation are big on podcasts right now, with leading record companies picking up on the trend to develop content that will build engagement with their artists. Moreover, tie-ups have become the order of the day to ensure that premium music-based product gets made. WMG recently joined forces with Spotify, while SME has gone down the acquisition route to get its hands-on production expertise. Podcast consumption and advertising spend are on the up, so the rewards are there for the podcasts that cut through, while branded content is another promising revenue path. However, podcasts could do with more creativity, and maybe a dash of musical fiction could be the thing to up their narrative pull.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry report. Of all the world’s leading recorded-music markets, Japan has been the most erratic with some sizable differences in annual performance. Looking back over the last decade, total trade revenue from recorded-music sales has been inconsistent with one or two years of growth followed by a couple of years of decline. However, despite record company income from physical formats continuing to be unpredictable, the digital sector has stabilized. Moreover, following a lengthy reliance on downloads, the subscription sector now generates more than two thirds of the total digital revenue for the local industry.

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