The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Streaming and physical gains boost recorded-music trade sales to a seventh straight annual increase
International music trade body the IFPI has reported a particularly positive set of results for the global recorded-music sector. Following on from a year greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, total revenue increased at the highest rate this century, with all formats apart from downloads and other nonstreaming sources registering growth. Streaming was the main growth provider, and revenue from access services accounted for two-thirds of global trade sales. For the first time in 20 years, trade sales of physical formats increased year on year. The IFPI noted that the rise was partly driven by a recovery in physical retail, which had been heavily impacted in 2020 by the pandemic. Although sales of CDs were up for the first time this millennium, vinyl was the star performer, with the growth rate for the age-old format exceeding all others. Performance rights and synchronization revenue returned to growth.
Ninth circuit affirms no damages order in Katy Perry Dark Horse plagiarism case
US performer Katy Perry, her coauthors, and the music companies behind the 2013-released hit single Dark Horse are definitely not liable for damages following a unanimous three-judge ruling at the Ninth Circuit. The appeal court was asked to review a previous decision by a California district court that said the Perry single did not plagiarize the Marcus Gray-created track Joyful Noise. Perry and her coauthors, associated record companies, and publishers had been hit with a sizable damages ruling following a trial, but the vacation of the award by the district court and confirmation of the ruling by the Ninth Circuit effectively brings an end to the case. The lawsuit centered on an eight-note ostinato—a short musical phrase or rhythmic pattern repeated in a musical composition. Gray had argued that the ostinato in his track had been used by Perry and her coauthors. Although the two eight-note sections sounded similar, the courts ultimately decided that the ostinato did not qualify for protection.
Anodyne music streamers need to get in tune with Amazon’s exclusives bent
Music streaming services, it’s fair to say, are pretty similar. They mostly operate with identical catalogs and, at least in developed markets, cost the same monthly fee. Some streamers do dabble with exclusive music-based content, but there’s little real effort to stand out here. Amazon Music is doing things differently. It’s busy “exclusivizing” music-related movies, livestreaming, and merchandizing. The company is also cleverly drawing in the parent company’s various services—Prime Video, Twitch, Amazon Studios—to enhance the content. Apple could clearly do more on this front and bundle, say, its exclusive music documentaries into Apple Music. The rest have so far only experimented and really ought to take a leaf out of Amazon Music’s book.
Indonesia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Indonesia music industry report. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the US: the country ended 2021 with 274.5 million inhabitants. Despite its large population, Indonesia has always massively underperformed as a recorded-music market, with the legal sector long struggling to gain a foothold because of persistently high piracy rates. However, music streaming’s success around the world is influencing Indonesia, with a mixture of services now available offering access to several million local and international recordings. The collection of royalties is also changing. In 2019, the government and the different collective management organizations agreed on a one-stop-shop administration, with a single agency given the authority to collect and distribute royalties from commercial music users. The live sector has suffered a couple of bad years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures introduced to control the spread of the virus. Although some live performances resumed last year, ticket sales are not expected to return to pre–COVID-19 levels until 2022 at the earliest.
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