New issue of Music & Copyright with UK country report

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

US CRB affirms Phonorecords III rates but offers streaming services total cost and bundling gains
The long-running dispute between US rights holders and digital music streaming services over mechanical rates payable for the five years between 2018 and 2022 (Phonorecords III) is almost over. At the beginning of 2018, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) increased the overall percentage of revenue paid to songwriters by streaming services over the five years by 43.8% from 10.5% for the 2012–17 period (Phonorecords II). The rate was set to rise annually and would only reach 15.1% in 2022. However, Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora appealed the ruling, and the rate increase was put on hold. Now, the CRB has confirmed that the rates will apply. Although the decision is a win for authors and publishers, the CRB decided not to change the total content cost (TCC) and bundle definitions and reverted back to the Phonorecords II levels.

Despite ongoing COVID-19 impact, broadcast and digital gains boost SGAE collections
Spanish authors’ society SGAE has published its annual accounts for 2021 after receiving approval from its membership at the June annual general meeting. Total collections were up for the first time since 2018. Although SGAE noted in its report that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact its results, most performance-based revenue streams returned to growth after suffering sharp falls in 2020. Broadcasting registered the biggest rise of all the main collection sources, with backdated receipts boosting the total. Digital income was up year-on-year, and there were notable gains for on-demand audio and video streaming. Distributions to SGAE members were flat, with domestic payments edging up and monies sent overseas falling. SGAE signed four new representation agreements in 2021. The Spanish society now manages the repertoire of 173 collective management organizations in around 180 countries.

Brands push deeper into music, and now metaverse marketing beckons
Suddenly, leading brands seem to be in the business of releasing albums, with Pokémon and Mastercard making great play of their new recorded-music offerings as part of wider marketing campaigns. Pokémon looks to have cut through with its drop—it’s too soon to assess Mastercard’s album performance—and that may well spur the release of further branded musical offerings. Also, there’s more music industry appetite to work with brands to further monetize content. UMG’s partnerships unit has just launched the UMusic Media Network, offering music for brands to work with, following a similar service rollout from indie distributor UnitedMasters that has already attracted big-hitter Diageo. And while music-brand alliances have long been many and varied, the metaverse is as yet unchartered territory for such partnerships. IHeartMedia clearly believes that’s the case, while WMG really ought to leverage its early-mover position in the virtual world and bring brands onboard.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. The UK is the world’s third-largest recorded-music market. Earlier this year, the IFPI said the country maintained its global ranking despite a strong performance by fourth-placed Germany. In common with many other developed markets around the world that suffered from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, certain sectors of the UK music industry were badly affected. Live music is only now beginning to recover after an 18-month hiatus, while performance-based rights collections took a hit but are now bouncing back. Recorded-music sales held up well, with higher revenue from streaming and vinyl offsetting performance rights and synchronization declines. Last year saw recorded-music trade sales benefit from rising sales of all formats apart from downloads. Furthermore, performance rights and synchronization returned to growth. Digital now generates close to 70% of recorded-music trade sales. UMG maintained its distribution lead over second-placed SME.

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