The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
The telco music bundle and its place in the evolving recorded-music sector
The bundling of music streaming services with mobile subscription packages has been around almost as long as the music subscription itself. To begin with, the music bundle had a slow start, but now it is widely considered to have played a major part in boosting the take up of subscription services. The bundle itself has gone through changes with the early years’ hard bundle largely giving way to simple service promotions and zero rating offers. The different levels of market development around the world have resulted in varying approaches to bundle rollouts. Operators in developed markets, on the whole, offer the least friendly music bundles with many focusing their entertainment provision on audiovisual. However, the usefulness of the bundle should not by overlooked, particularly in less developed markets that are only slowly waking up to the benefits of streaming.
Audio subscription gains boost Japan to nine-month recorded-music revenue growth
New figures published by the Japanese recorded-music trade association, the RIAJ, show digital music sales grew at a faster rate in the first nine months of this year compared with the prior year period. All the four streaming revenue sources registered positive results in contrast to the buy-to-own formats, which all suffered a decline. Audio subscriptions’ dominance of digital sales has continued to grow, with the revenue stream now accounting for more than 70% of the digital total. Physical formats have also registered a relatively positive year so far. Although the production value is down slightly, the combined revenue total of physical production and digital trade sales in the first nine months of this year suggests that Japan could secure recorded-music growth for the first time since 2018. However, questions remain over the longer-term fortunes for the recorded-music sector given the continued dominance of physical formats.
Pricey data remains music streaming’s main obstacle to Sub-Saharan African growth
Spotify finally went pan African this year, rolling out its music streaming services across the majority of the continent. However, the company is late to the streaming party in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the region is able to boast several well-established local streamers that are currently growing apace. A focus on local music is a core part of building a decent-sized user base—Spotify has clearly picked up on that particular learning—and leading streamer Boomplay is doing a good job promoting Afrobeats. However, while Sub-Saharan Africa has a youthful population to sell music to and smartphone penetration remains on the up and up, that lifeblood of streaming—data—can be pretty expensive in a generally low-income region. That’s why streaming providers need to join forces with local mobile operators to slot their services into more-affordable bundles and to come with creative megabyte workarounds.
France country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed France music industry report. France ended last year as the seventh-biggest economy in the world and the third in Europe, behind Germany and the UK. Last year saw the French economy shrink 8%, largely because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this year, the IMF forecast in its October-published World Economic Outlook report that GDP would rise 6.3%, and then 3.9% in 2022. Similar to its economic position in Europe, France also lags the UK and Germany for recorded-music sales. However, last year saw trade sales grow for the fifth consecutive year with streaming gains more than offsetting a dip in sales of physical formats, performance rights collections, and synchronization revenue. Digital sales first overtook physical in 2018 and accounted for almost three quarters of last year’s digital/physical total. UMG maintained its distributor lead despite a slight dip in market share. SACEM suffered a fall in collections for the first time since 2014 with all performance-based revenue streams taking a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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