The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
CISAC reports a return to collection growth, with digital gains offsetting the performance shortfall
The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has published its latest annual report on global creators’ collections. Combined revenue for creators of music, audiovisual works, visual arts, drama, and literature returned to growth last year after suffering the first annual decrease in 2020 since 2013. After topping the €10bn ($11.6bn) mark for the first time in 2019, collections fell back below the milestone the following year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on performance-based revenue sources. Despite higher collections in 2021, the total remained below the prepandemic high. CISAC said the report illustrated the disastrous impact of the two-year lockdown on live and public performance income, the potential for further digital growth, and the urgent need for action to unlock more value for creators in the streaming market. SACEM remained the leading collective management organization (CMO) in revenue terms, ahead of the two US CMOs BMI and ASCAP.
Livestreamed music demonstrates its pulling power and potential
Livestreamed music clearly came into its own during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the segment has become a multibillion-dollar business able to boast large audiences. Audio streamers are seeing the value of adding video performances to their offerings and are leaning on live concerts both as a marketing tool (Amazon Music and Apple Music) and as a new revenue stream (Deezer). There’s clearly an opportunity to bundle these concerts into audio subscriptions and broader entertainment packages. However, such events need to be well resourced to ensure that only high-level productions appear on fans’ screens if the take-up of livestreams is to continue.
Defense does pay off: Copyright lawsuits in the music industry
Music plagiarism and the question of whether an artist or songwriter has copied a previously recorded track for the benefit of their own is an issue that seems to have become more commonplace in the last few years. The practice of copying is probably no more frequent now than at any other stage in musical history. However, the number of challenges against the originality of musical works, some of which have sold several million copies and have been streamed many millions more times, appears to have grown. Ed Sheeran is one artist who has been involved in more than his fair share of copying claims. Oliver Lock and Owen O’Rorke at the law firm Farrer & Co kindly provided Music & Copyright with their thoughts on the latest claim against the artist and the wider issues concerning music copyright disputes.
Spain country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Spain music industry report. Spain is one of Europe’s mid-tier music markets. The country’s recorded-music sector was one of the region’s worst hit by digital piracy after the turn of the century. Although piracy levels still remain stubbornly high in the country, spending on recorded-music has recovered somewhat. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the physical sector, with many brick-and-mortar retailers forced to close for long periods as part of government efforts to limit the spread of the virus, streaming gains boosted the overall sales total. Physical sales registered a significant bounce back in 2021 but remained flat in the first six months of this year, although the renaissance for vinyl continued apace. UMG maintained its position as the biggest music company despite losing share to second-placed SME for the second consecutive year. Collections for authors’ society SGAE returned to growth last year after suffering a sharp dip in 2020. Moreover, Spain’s live sector, which took a massive hit from virus restrictions in 2020, registered a modest uptick in sales. However, spending on tickets remains a long way short of prepandemic levels.
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