New issue of Music & Copyright with South Africa report

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

Maintaining an artist’s legacy in a sellers’ market for music catalogs
Each year, the music world loses some of its greatest talent. Artists that passed away last year included Dusty Hill of ZZ Top, Don Everly of the Everly Brothers, and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, to name but a few. In most cases with the death of an artist or performer, provision is made for both what to do with works for which copyright is held by the deceased, and for who benefits from the works while they are in copyright. However, in some cases, heirs can be forced to make tough decisions involving the balancing of an artist or performer’s memory with the necessary business of commercial exploitation. The importance of such decisions has been heightened in recent years because of the interest from both within and outside the music industry in ownership of catalogs. History has shown that there is big money to be made after a popular artist or performer dies but making sure a legacy created over many years is not tarnished by quick decisions can prove difficult.

Jump in digital receipts for IPRS offsets the drop in public performance and broadcast income
India’s authors’ society IPRS has reported a slight dip in royalty collections after three straight years of growth. Despite COVID-19 taking a bite out of public performance income, with the live music sector shuttered and restrictions placed on the hospitality and commercial sectors, sharp growth in webcasting and streaming revenue both at home and overseas almost completely made up for the losses. No collections from TV broadcasters were recorded in the latest financial results, with IPRS stating in its annual report that payment discussions with the broadcasters had been deferred because of the pandemic. Also, little movement has been made on the long-running dispute over radio royalties, with the Delhi High Court ruling at the beginning of last year that only master rights holders were entitled to receive royalties from FM stations.

Radio needs to tune in to emerging opportunities to stay ahead of the streaming game
Music radio is still going strong despite a global pandemic and the ongoing growth of audio streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. However, radio has been morphing for some time due to both satellite and online, and the medium is set to metamorphose some more going forward. There’s a real need to find partners able to provide value-add through exclusive content and to develop brand-led opportunities. In addition, it’s time to shift some listening away from what is considered as a very noisy advertising environment. Music streamers have demonstrated amply that a section of the audience is very willing to pay for premium music services. Now is the time to roll a chunk of radio programing up into subscription offerings.

South Africa country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Africa music industry report. Despite its geographic location, South Africa more closely resembles a Western music market and has far more in common with countries in Europe and North America than it does with its neighbors. However, although this means South Africa has a more developed music market, per capita spending on recorded-music is extremely low. Moreover, the same problems encountered in the developed world, in the shift from physical formats to digital and downloads to access, have been experienced in the country. However, even though the rise in high-speed internet access has exacerbated problems associated with the unauthorized distribution of music, higher digital sales, rising smartphone penetration, and the rollout of several international streaming services suggest the market has a bright future.

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