The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Doomed American Music Fairness Act approved by House Judiciary Committee
Legislation aimed at forcing AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US to pay performance royalties to producers and performers has made it past the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) is attempting to line up terrestrial broadcasters alongside noninteractive online services that pay a performance right. The US is unique in the industrialized world for not having a radio broadcast performance right for producers and performers. Previous efforts at legislating on the matter have not succeeded. Moreover, despite radio’s role in promoting recorded-music being on a slow decline, the strength of the radio lobby in Congress remains strong. For rights holders, this means that the latest attempt to change the current status quo is destined to fail.
Japan heading for the biggest rise in recorded-music sales for more than a decade
New figures published by the Japanese recorded-music trade association, the RIAJ, show digital music sales in the first nine months of this year grew at the fastest rate for more than 10 years. All four streaming revenue sources registered positive results in contrast to single track and album downloads, which both suffered a decline. Audio subscriptions’ dominance of digital sales has continued to grow, with the revenue stream now accounting for close to three-quarters of the digital total. Physical formats have registered a positive year so far, with the growth rate also the highest for 10-plus years. The combined revenue total of physical production and digital trade sales suggests that Japan will secure recorded-music growth for a second straight year. However, questions still remain over the country’s longer-term recorded-music sector fortunes.
Big money tracks music rights as bond issues gain serious traction
There’s still plenty of investor appetite—and money—for music catalogs, but some of the heat looks to have gone out of the rights market. This is largely due to the fact that deals involving headline acts such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen have already been concluded. It’s no surprise then that bonds have now emerged as a popular alternative for the continued exploitation of valuable rights, and 2022 closed with a huge $1.8bn deal. However, the high demand means music rights might well be in danger of becoming overvalued, while a global economic downturn could impact royalty flows. Prospective vendors should sell in a seller’s market.
Poland country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Poland music industry report. Poland is one of Eastern Europe’s largest recorded-music markets, second only to Russia. However, the country is the region’s leader for trade earnings from the sale of physical formats and revenue from performance rights. For several years, high levels of piracy restricted efforts to establish a digital sector, but rising consumer interest in streaming and subscriptions has meant access rather than ownership is now the dominant source of trade revenue. Although the country had registered successive annual gains in recorded-music trade sales for a number of years, problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic saw the sector contract in 2020. However, sales bounced back last year, and further rises are forecast for the next five years. Authors’ society ZAiKS also suffered a dip in collections due to the pandemic, but receipts returned to growth in 2021. Live music has been the hardest-hit sector. Moreover, total spending on tickets is not expected to return to prepandemic levels anytime soon.
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