The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Shining a critical light on the maturing music-streaming sector
So far in January, the usual suspects have published early recorded-music results for 2022. In all cases, streaming has been the big growth provider, with gains more than offsetting declines of buy-to-own formats. Although the revival of vinyl has mostly continued, growth at a national or international level is now all about subscriptions and advertising. While the next couple of months will see more industry performance releases in the run-up to the IFPI’s assessment of global trade sales, those releases will show that streaming revenue growth rates are slowing. Moreover, it’s a safe bet that national trade associations that include subscriber estimates in their year-end roundups will also show a rates decline. Admittedly it is a little early in the year for bad news, but the reality is the boom in streaming is over. The high growth rates of a few years ago will not be repeated. The industry must also face up to the real possibility that emerging and developed markets may not keep the global growth momentum going.
UPRS annual report illustrates the difficulties of rights collection in Uganda
Ugandan authors’ society Uganda Performing Right Society (UPRS) has published its annual report for 2022, detailing the workings of the society in the year just gone, along with limited collection results and revenue forecasts for the next few years. Few African collective management organizations (CMOs) provide much of an insight into their business activities. However, the UPRS report offers a candid assessment of the difficulties experienced in collecting royalties owed, convincing local artists and songwriters to sign up to the CMO system, and making music users pay royalties for the use of UPRS members’ works. COVID-19 and the impact of a lengthy lockdown in Uganda greatly affected rights collections in the last couple of years, but UPRS is confident that going forward, the society will be able to convince music users of their obligations to pay royalties and generate record collections for its members.
WMG looks to tech to do the work in an entertainment future
WMG is, unlike its peers, making a name for itself as a music technology pioneer. The major music group has been busy building relationships with a variety of tech partners across a range of innovative activities, among them blockchain, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), digital collectibles, and metaverse real estate. In addition, WMG has managed to put together an executive team with strong tech creds and experience with successful tech entertainment brands such as YouTube, Netflix, and Blizzard. The record company’s embrace of new technologies in an industry that has long viewed innovation as an existential threat could serve it well in an increasingly virtual world—if it can stitch together the disparate parts of its tech play.
India country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed India music industry report. India is the second most populous country in the world, behind China. The size of the population exceeded 1.4 billion for the first time last year, while the number of households topped the 300-million mark. According to the most recent United Nations projections, India will overtake global leader China before the end of this decade, with the country’s population expected to peak at 1.7 billion in 2064. Moreover, by 2050, India will account for close to 20% of the rise in the world’s working-age population (15–64-year-olds). However, despite accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s population, India’s different music industry sectors have always underperformed. Recorded-music sales have long been hindered by widespread music piracy, and rights collections have suffered from adverse legal rulings and a lack of licensing. The live sector struggles with infrastructure shortcomings, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the problems, there are signs that the world’s biggest emerging market is living up to its billing. In the last few years, retail sales of recorded-music have been on the up, and rights collections have benefited greatly from a deal between authors’ society IPRS and Google for music use by YouTube. Live music remains the problem sector, with concert tours and festivals only starting to get back on track.
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