New issue of Music & Copyright with Australia country report

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

Scales tip in favor of labels in the global value of copyright
Music should know how much it’s worth. Calculating the global value of music copyright provides the answer. Will Page, former chief economist of Spotify and PRS for Music, and author of the book Tarzan Economics: Eight Principles for Pivoting through Disruption, has performed this exercise for the sixth year and has very kindly detailed the process for Music & Copyright. In short, the annual reports from labels, publishers, and collective management organizations (CMOs) have been added together and then the double counting has been stripped out. The purpose of the process has remained the same: Whether you’re investing, operating, or earning from music copyright, you ought to know how much it’s all worth—and how each piece of the puzzle is trending. The 2020 headline marks a first, as we’ve got divergence: Labels and artists saw their piece of the pie grow thanks to streaming, whereas songwriters, publishers, and their CMOs saw theirs shrink due to the pandemic. Two ships, albeit temporarily, passing each other in the night.

MEPs push the European Commission for a response to the RAAP ruling
A number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have written to the European Commission (EC) asking why there has been no progress in addressing the implications of a court ruling from last year on European performance income. In September 2020, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that European Union (EU) member states must pay royalties to both producers and performers when their music is broadcast, regardless of where in the world they reside. The ruling followed the Irish High Court’s referral of a series of questions to the CJEU in a case brought by the Irish performers’ collection society Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAAP) against the producers’ society Public Performance Ireland (PPI). RAAP filed legal action against PPI for the nonpayment of performers’ royalties on the broadcast of musical works by US artists. PPI decided to withhold the payments as US AM/FM radio broadcasters do not pay performance rights for the use of PPI members’ works. However, the CJEU ruled that Irish law on performance rights was not compatible with EU law and so performers from the US were entitled to rights payments in line with performers in the EU.

Livestreamers face competition from the reawakening of live and the metaverse
Livestreamed music had a very good 2020 on the back of worldwide lockdowns and the closure of venues, with operators able to demonstrate that there was a real market for their product. And livestreaming outfits have from the off been jockeying for position in a segment where no one provider dominates and where competition is set to sharpen. Livestreamers need to further develop their services quickly as the live music sector revives, to ensure that they build on opportunities provided by the dearth of concerts and festivals. Technologies such as 5G, virtual reality (VR), 360 degree viewing, and immersive audio look to offer exactly the solutions they need. However, pure livestreamers will have to be nimble to compete with the metaverses that are leaning on music to build powerful platforms.

Australia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Australia music industry report. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian music industry had experienced a prolonged period of growth. Recorded-music sales had registered consecutive annual increases, with growing numbers of consumers happy to stream music rather than own it. Authors’ rights collections were also on the up and ticket sales for live music events were topping record levels. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of the country’s music sectors, some significantly worse than others. Recorded-music sales weathered the storm and registered growth while APRA AMCOS managed to report a new record for collections, despite the impact on the different public performance sectors. Inevitably, live music suffered the biggest decline with ticket sales down almost 70%. Australia is now starting to open up with vaccination rates on the rise. However, the impact on the music industry from months of lockdown and closed borders will take a long time to heal.

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