New issue of Music & Copyright with Sweden country report

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

Digital music oldie Napster looking to the metaverse for a reawakening
Music industry disruptor Napster is reinventing itself once more, and this time it’s taking aim at the metaverse. The one-time illicit filesharing pioneer turned digital music company now has new financial backers and believes it can parlay its music tech experience into Web3 success. Napster’s first meta effort will involve bringing blockchain and tokenization technology to its streaming product before pushing into yet-to-be-developed offerings. The company can boast digital music expertise and has brought onboard Web3 know-how, so it may well find a space in the metaverse. However, it is up against some pretty stiff, well-resourced competition and could be severely outgunned by tech’s big players.

Return to collection growth for Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS
Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS has reported a return to growth for collections after registering the first fall in rights receipts since 2015. The dip in 2020 was caused by restrictions brought in by the government on the live, hospitality, and retail sectors to try and limit the spread of COVID-19. Public performance was hardest hit. However, the gradual lifting of restrictions last year resulted in the sector’s revenue stabilizing. Private copying, the biggest income source for the society, returned to growth after suffering a decline in the prior year. Higher royalty income from sales of desktop and laptop computers largely offset a dip in collections from mobile phones. Broadcast revenue benefited from new agreements with commercial TV broadcasters. Digital income almost trebled, with backdated collections from music streaming services boosting the total. However, digital remains a minor revenue source for ARTISJUS members.

Partial victory for UMG in TikTok copyright infringement claims against Bang Energy drink maker
UMG and a number of its recorded-music and music publishing subsidiaries have been granted a partial victory in their copyright infringement claim against the producer and owner of the drinks brand Bang Energy. The case concerned the use of UMG-owned musical works in videos produced by social media influencers promoting Bang Energy that were posted on the short video service TikTok. A Florida district court has decided that the drinks brand owner had committed direct copyright infringement and dismissed claims that the license held by TikTok for music use in posted videos covered the influencers’ music use. However, claims for contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement were not granted. Although UMG proved to the court that the drinks company could have stopped the influencers using copyright-protected music, the music major failed to provide evidence of any financial benefit.

Sweden country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Sweden music industry report. As home to the world’s biggest on-demand audio subscription service Spotify, Sweden is considered one of the world’s most progressive recorded-music markets. The country’s digital share of combined physical and digital formats and service trade sales exceeded 93% last year (see Table 1), with audio and video streaming registering positive gains. Physical sales also increased, with a sharp rise in trade income from CDs. In line with the buoyancy of recorded-music sales, rights collections and live music spending enjoyed a positive 2021 after suffering declines in 2020 from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. STIM, SAMI, and Copyswede all registered growth in collections. Live was the worst-hit music industry sector as restrictions imposed by the government to limit the spread of the virus effectively shuttered concert tours and festivals. Growth returned in 2021, although it will take a few years for ticket sales to return to prepandemic levels.

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