The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Rise in UK music piracy rates as more consumers supplement legal supply with unlicensed access
While the recorded-music sector continues to see growth in sales from music streaming, piracy still lurks in the background. Not so long ago, easy access to a wealth of unlicensed recorded-music content resulted in trade sales worldwide nosediving. However, the rollout of high-speed internet and the advent of streaming turned recorded-music fortunes around. However, a small number of consumers continue to use illegal means to get their music fix. In February, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published the results of its latest survey into consumers’ piracy habits across a number of different entertainment sectors. For music, the results were mixed. Almost no consumers were found to be using unlicensed streaming services, but fewer downloaders were sourcing their content from just legal services.
Apple Music gets streaming traction by not being Spotify
Having just seen Spotify’s latest set of quarterly results, we know quite a lot about the world’s largest international music streamer. However, getting metrics on rival outfit Apple Music is a tough task, given that it’s part of the world’s most valuable company and its contribution to a business dominated by iPhone sales is pretty small. But it’s clear that Apple Music is growing steadily and that it is offering a differentiated service to Spotify’s. It needs to continue developing that differentiation to maintain its trajectory while its rival continues to pile the subscribers high. And that shouldn’t be difficult given the breadth of services available to it at the Apple stable.
PRS, LIVENow, and the business of responsible livestreaming licensing
Livestreaming came into its own during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the segment has become a multibillion-dollar business able to boast large audiences. Some of the biggest audio streaming services are seeing the value of adding video performances to their offerings and are leaning on live concerts both as a marketing tool and as a new revenue stream. However, in common with any form of streaming, the correct licenses are required if rights-holder content is involved. The livestreaming platform LIVENow has fallen foul of licensing requirements and has been taken to task over the problem by the UK authors’ society PRS For Music. Howard Ricklow, a partner at law firm Collyer Bristow and specializing in intellectual property matters, has kindly provided Music & Copyright with his thoughts on the dispute, what the current system is for licensing content from an artist for livestreamed concerts, and what the future is likely to be for hybrid content like livestreamed concerts.
US country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed US music industry report. The US is easily the biggest music market in the world. Each year, the country accounts for more than one-third of the total global recorded-music trade sales and approximately 40% of spending on tickets to live music events. Furthermore, the US is home to the single-biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment, as well as the two leading performers’ rights organizations (PROs), ASCAP and BMI, and the biggest performance rights organization, SoundExchange. In addition to leading the music world, the US is also the world’s biggest economy, with total GDP last year topping $25tn. In December, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said GDP increased 2.9% in the final quarter of last year compared with quarter three. Year-on-year GDP in the last three months grew 1%. The BEA commented that the GDP gains primarily reflected increases in inventory investment and consumer spending that were partly offset by a decrease in housing investment.
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