New issue of Music & Copyright with Sweden country report

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

UK parliamentary committee details legislative reforms required to reset the music streaming sector
A UK parliamentary committee tasked with examining the workings of the music streaming sector has made a number of recommendations to rebalance streaming in favor of artists and performers. The Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Committee said in its July-published Economics of music streaming report that the government should introduce a right to equitable digital music remuneration, a right to recapture the rights to works after a period of time, and the right to contract adjustment if artists’ works were successful beyond the remuneration they receive. The report also expressed concerns about the dominant position of the major music companies and called on the government to support the independent sector and take advice from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as to whether competition in the recorded-music market was being distorted. Also under the Committee’s spotlight were user-generated content (UGC)-hosting services and their questionable licensing requirements.

Digital gains unable to offset COVID-related performance losses for SOCAN
Canadian collective management organization (CMO) SOCAN has published its collection results for 2020. The CMO had advised its members last year of the likely decline with live performance and general licensing expected to be down sharply. Those estimates were largely accurate. However, the overall dip was modest compared with the drop in revenue experienced by some other international CMOs. Higher receipts from digital services softened the losses from performance-based revenue streams. Unsurprisingly, concerts suffered the biggest decline, followed by cinema and general licensing. Online income overtook foreign collections to become the single biggest revenue source. Although distributions increased year-on-year, the full effect of the virus on member payments is expected to be felt in 2021.

Why Roblox’s virtual experiences are valuable to the music business
Fast-growing gaming company Roblox has drawn the attention of the music majors. The games platform has already hosted a number of virtual concerts and other music events, demonstrating that it is able to draw the crowds, sometimes in huge number. This kind of reach enables music companies and artists to develop the music tastes of millions of would-be fans, many of which, according to Roblox, are under the age of 16. So far, the events have made relatively modest use of the digital capabilities of gaming platforms, but expect Roblox and its new music company allies to work together to develop features that lean on innovative games technology to make artist avatar performances richer music-plus experiences. That will boost engagement, as well as the likelihood of selling a good deal of digital merchandize.

Sweden country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Sweden music industry report. As home to the world’s biggest on-demand audio subscription service Spotify, Sweden has become one of the world’s most progressive recorded-music markets. The country’s digital share of trade sales last year topped 93% (see Figure 1) as digital sales continued to grow and combined spending on physical formats slipped to yet another record low. However, in contrast to the buoyancy in recorded-music sales, rights collections and live music spending suffered declines from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. STIM’s results were shaped by the virus, although a retroactive payment boost to foreign revenue in 2019 exaggerated the size of the overall dip. Live sales were the worst hit music industry sector last year and 2021 is shaping up to be no better with a government roadmap to a return to normality ruling out all major festivals until September at the earliest.

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