New issue of Music & Copyright with India country report

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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New issue of Music & Copyright with South Africa country report

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

Time for the music industry to wise up quickly on artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to impact the music industry. Several artists are using the fast-developing technology to support and speed up the creative process, with more likely to follow suit. However, the use of recorded-music catalogs to “train” AI models to generate new songs—all without licensing such tracks—throws up serious copyright issues. To date, these issues have barely been addressed, either by intellectual property (IP) owners, regulators, or lawmakers. This situation needs to change to support the creative use of AI and the rights of artists, songwriters, and record companies.

Class action lawsuit shines a light on UMG’s equity holding in Spotify
UMG is facing a class action lawsuit over claims that the music company failed to pay its artists a share of the equity it holds in Spotify, received as part of the initial licensing deal between the two. The lawsuit, which was filed at a New York district court by the two members of the hip-hop duo Black Sheep, accuses the music major of secretly agreeing to lower the royalty rates payable to artists in return for the equity stake. The members of Black Sheep claim UMG should be paying its artists 50% of net receipts from Spotify as per signed contracts. Moreover, the filing says UMG’s minority ownership of Spotify and lower royalty rates only came to light after Spotify had published documents relating to its IPO in 2018. The lawsuit claims that UMG has underpaid royalties to the tune of $750m.

YouTube wins partial summary judgment in Schneider copyright infringement case
The lawsuit filed at a California district court by jazz composer Maria Schneider against online video service YouTube and search giant Google is still in play despite YouTube/Google receiving partial summary judgments in some of the claims. The case centers on Schneider’s claim that smaller rights holders are denied access to the online video service’s Content ID system of copyright protection. Denying the use of Content ID means smaller rights holders are forced into trawling YouTube for unlicensed use of their content, and then sending individual takedown notices to the video service via a web form, email, or postal mail for each video their searches identify. After YouTube/Google was denied a motion to dismiss the complaint in August, a filing for summary judgment was lodged with the court. Following an October hearing, the court granted some of YouTube’s requests but decided that a number of outstanding issues warranted the case going before a jury.

South Africa country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Africa music industry report. South Africa is Africa’s biggest music market. Consumer spending on recorded-music and royalty collections is significantly higher in the country than in any other market in the region. Despite its geographic location, South Africa is more akin to a Western music market and has far more in common with countries in Europe and North America than it does with its neighbors. However, although this means South Africa has a more developed music market, per capita spending on recorded-music is still extremely low. Moreover, the same problems encountered in the developed world, in the shift from physical formats to digital and downloads to access, have been experienced in the country. However, even though the rise in high-speed internet access has exacerbated problems associated with the unauthorized distribution of music, higher digital sales, rising smartphone penetration, and the rollout of several international streaming services suggest the market has a bright future.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Poland country report

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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New issue of Music & Copyright with Australia country report

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

CMA explains decision not to conduct market investigation into UK music streaming
The UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), decided earlier this year not to conduct a full market investigation into the music industry and, in particular, music streaming. In January, the CMA published a market study notice, confirming that it was examining the supply of music to consumers and the provision of services connected with the supply of music to consumers, to assess whether both operated in the full interests of music users. As part of the market study, the CMA had a six-month deadline to decide whether to launch a more detailed investigation. Choosing not to do so, the CMA noted that the recorded-music sector was concentrated, with three major labels dominating, but concluded that issues negatively affecting artists in the UK were driven by factors that were unrelated to the high degree of concentration. Now, the authority has published a full report detailing its reasons for not conducting a more detailed study. The CMA said that after thorough consideration, it was unlikely that the problems cited by some industry stakeholders were competition created, and a competition intervention would be unlikely to improve the situation.

Live music returns with a new set of postpandemic problems
The two music industry sectors of live and recorded have operated with differing fortunes over the last 20 years or so. The decline of recorded-music sales for much of the previous decade contrasted with growth in live sales. The uptake of streaming returned the good times to record companies, and both recorded and live experienced a period of growth. However, while spending on recorded-music was largely unaffected by COVID-19, the pandemic put paid to almost all concerts and in-person music performances in most parts of the world for almost two years. While the live sector is now firmly back up and running, and the world’s biggest promoters are reporting positive financial results, the companies’ share price performances this year have been less than impressive, with world events and the cost-of-living crisis weighing heavily on investors’ minds.

Deutsche Grammophon set to go head-to-head with Apple Music on classical streaming
Deutsche Grammophon has made a major digital play with last month’s launch of an upgraded classical music audio and video service that boasts high-fidelity streaming capabilities. However, while the company has a strong brand able to attract the attention of the genre’s fastidious fans, it is going up against competition from a range of impressive startups. Also in the wings is Apple Music, which is in the throes of developing a dedicated classical music streaming platform built on its acquisition of leading classical audio streamer Primephonic. However, Apple Music has work to do in making the prospective Apple Music Classical a serious contender, not least in adding a live-streamed video offering to match those already in the marketplace.

Australia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Australia music industry report. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian music industry had experienced a prolonged period of growth. Recorded-music sales had registered consecutive annual increases, with growing numbers of consumers happy to stream music rather than own it. Authors’ rights collections were also on the up, and ticket sales for live music events were topping record levels. However, the COVID-19 pandemic touched all the country’s music sectors, some significantly more so than others. Recorded-music sales weathered the storm and have now registered growth for seven consecutive years. Collections for APRA AMCOS also maintained consistent annual increases, with the year to June setting a new record. However, live music suffered a major dip, as revenue and attendance fell sharply. Moreover, although concerns over COVID-19 are now lessening, economic and financial problems are slowing the sector’s recovery.

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Blog question result on the impact of price rises on music subscribers

In an effort to gauge music subscribers’ reaction to increased prices, visitors to the Music & Copyright blog (mostly from the UK) were asked what action they would take if they subscribed to a music service that had raised the monthly fee. The results are as follows. Almost three quarters of the total respondents said they would stay with their chosen service and pay the extra, while 15.5% said they were undecided. Perhaps most surprising was that 6.1% of respondents said they would stop subscribing to a music service altogether.
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New issue of Music & Copyright with France country report

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

YouTube Music makes market share gains as more streaming services roll out price rises

The number of music subscriptions around the world is continuing to rise, with a steady stream of consumers happy to sign up to one of the many available streamers. In a short space of time, a handful of services have become dominant. Spotify has long been the leader, although subscriber gains from some of its competitors have reduced the Swedish service’s market share. YouTube Music has registered the highest growth rate of the leading streamers so far this year, with the service recently confirming a new subscriber milestone. Although the music streaming sector is continuing to grow at pace, some services have decided that now is the time to raise prices. Spotify has kept its pricing largely the same since it rolled out more than 10 years ago, but that is expected to change early next year. While the majority of subscribers have indicated that they will fork out the extra, a sizable number have questioned whether the higher price is worth paying.

Luna Aura files legal claim against 3LAU for a share of Ultraviolet multimillion-dollar NFT sale

Recording artist Luna Aura has filed a lawsuit at a New York district court against the electronic music DJ and producer 3LAU for the nonpayment of royalties. Aura contributed to a track included in an album released by 3LAU in 2018. However, several special edition vinyl copies of the album were sold as part of an NFT auction at the beginning of last year. The auction generated several million dollars in revenue, but Aura did not receive any royalties linked to the NFT sale. Although both sides signed an agreement covering rights payable from the original release of the track and album prior to their recording, there was no specific provision included in the agreement for any nontraditional sales. Aura was offered a licensing fee for the use of the track in the NFT project, but the payment offered was not considered satisfactory.

Twitter’s travails make rival social media a stronger music bet

Twitter 2.0 is a very difficult beast to get a handle on. The reign of Elon Musk has been short and has already been tumultuous. And the whim-based nature of the new owner means there are plenty of twists and turns to come. But while Twitter looks an unsafe and unstable platform to be active on right now, there is likely promise from a mooted creator program that could deliver for artists if it comes to fruition. However, for that to come about, relations between Twitter and record companies need to improve dramatically, given the latter’s issues around alleged copyright infringement on the platform. In any case, Twitter 2.0 isn’t really cutting-edge social media, and TikTok looks like a far more attractive ongoing music prospect.

France country report

In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of <em>Music & Copyright</em> includes a detailed France music industry report. France ended 2021 as the seventh-biggest economy in the world and the third in Europe, behind Germany and the UK. Last year saw the French economy grow 6.8% after suffering an 8% contraction in 2020, largely because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this year, the IMF forecast in its October-published World Economic Outlook report that GDP would rise 2.5%, and then 0.7% in 2023. Similar to its economic position in Europe, France also lags the UK and Germany for recorded-music sales. However, last year saw trade sales grow for the fifth consecutive year with the positive results down to the sustained rise in streaming-generated revenue and the resilience of physical formats. Digital sales first overtook physical in 2018 and accounted for almost 70% of last year’s digital/physical total (see Table 1). UMG extended its distributor lead with SME and WMG losing share. Collections for SACEM returned to growth after suffering a dip in 2020. However, the effects of the pandemic are still impacting certain business areas.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Spain country report

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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New issue of Music & Copyright with Italy country report

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

Digital gains are set to boost music revenue, but publishing growth is on track to outshine recorded-music
All the world’s major recorded-music markets and one or two other smaller ones have published midyear trade figures. Music & Copyright’s annual assessment of the results suggests global recorded-music trade earnings from the sale of physical and digital recorded-music and income from music access services are set to register an eighth straight year of growth. However, the size of the rise is expected to be around half the growth rate seen last year. Music publishing is forecast to experience a bumper year, with global revenue expected to hit record levels. All the main publishing revenue streams will increase, but digital will be the star performer. Also, performance income will return to growth after three consecutive years of decline.

Polish authors’ society ZAiKS reports a year of hope in challenging times
Polish authors’ society ZAiKS has confirmed a return to growth in collections having reported its first fall in rights receipts in 2020 for five years. Total revenue in that year suffered from the effects of the government’s efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with performance-based income streams hit the hardest. While the virus still impacted some collection sources, public performance receipts rose sharply, with big increases in revenue from online and private copying. Broadcasting income was up year on year, although the revenue source as a share of total receipts was down slightly. Digital registered another jump in collections, with income benefiting from the continued rise in the popularity of streaming in Poland. Distributions took a tumble, while costs were flat and the society’s administration rate was down.

The time is right for music to make its gaming play
The music business is becoming ever more enmeshed with the world of gaming. One of the leading protagonists is Amazon through its Amazon Music and Twitch gaming properties that the e-commerce and online giant is increasingly deploying as part of its cross-entertainment strategy. On the gaming side, Epic Games’ Fortnite title has been something of a pioneer in bringing music performances to large audiences of gamers—and it has ambitious plans to remain on the front line. Also in the mix is Spotify, which this year became the first music streamer to make moves on Fortnite. What’s needed now is something more innovative than the in-game concert—and immersive customization could be the vital component here.

Italy country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Italy music industry report. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy’s recorded-music sector had experienced an erratic few years, largely due to the lingering dominance of physical formats. However, digital trade sales overtook physical formats in 2018, with a sharp rise in subscription sales more than offsetting falls in CD album sales and vinyl. The pattern of sales continued into 2019, but the toll on physical formats and performance rights in 2020 resulted in a flat year overall. Last year saw sales bounce back strongly, and so far this year, the gains from streaming and viny have continued. UMG remains the clear leader in market share terms, ahead of SME and WMG. All the majors took share from the independent sector. After suffering a sharp fall in collections in 2020, revenue for the local authors’ society SIAE returned to growth in 2021. However, the total remains a long way short of prepandemic levels. Ticket sales to live music events picked up in 2021, but it will take another few years before sales top the record highs of 2019.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Netherlands country report

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

Increase in global performance rights distributions, with further growth expected for this year
Performance rights distributions to record companies (producers) and performers increased in 2021 for the second year in a row. A fall in 2019 saw payments slip below the $3bn mark after reaching the milestone for the first time in 2018. Last year saw global performance rights distributions top the $3bn mark again, with forecasts of more growth to come for this year. Producers’ and performers’ rights have become an important source of income in recent years, given the long period of demise of recorded-music trade revenue. The return to growth through increased consumer interest in streaming and subscriptions has somewhat overshadowed the importance of performance rights, but the revenue source remains a key earnings generator.

Streaming and vinyl are the midyear positives in a slowing French recorded-music sector
French music trade group SNEP has reported a positive first six months for recorded-music sales. Although revenue from physical formats suffered a decline after rising sharply last year, SNEP said the resurgence of vinyl had continued. Moreover, despite a fall in CDs, the format was still the second-biggest income source for local music companies. Audio subscriptions added the most extra to the midyear trade total, but it was video streaming that registered the biggest rise. The overall number of streams served in the six months was up, but it was paid subscribers that drove the increase, with the number of advertising-supported streams served largely unchanged. SNEP noted that the cost-of-living crisis in France has not impacted music sales so far, but the trade group was continuing to monitor the situation.

Stock music’s stock rises as the creator economy expands
Royalty-free, or production, music is a big business and worth around $1bn a year in revenue. Demand is rising steeply, thanks in large part to the burgeoning use of social video online. This has led to the launch of a raft of startups seeking to provide custom, rights-free sounds for a monthly subscription. A small number of providers have cut through and are leading the way, but the space is a little bit too overpopulated. There has already been some consolidation, but more is on the way, especially as major international investment firms are now also in the mix. Stock music suppliers also need to look beyond the creator economy for revenue and deploy technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to boost their offerings.

Netherlands country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Netherlands music industry report. After more than a decade of falling trade revenue from recorded-music sales, the Netherlands has experienced a sustained period of growth. In common with most developed markets in Europe, Dutch record company earnings were hit by the effects of online piracy as a result of the shift from physical formats to digital. However, for the last seven years, trade revenue has been on the up and further growth is expected for this year and beyond. Digital accounted for more than 80% of the combined digital/physical trade revenue last year. UMG suffered a dip in its distributor share, with SME and WMG both making gains. However, UMG’s share remained double that of its closest rivals. Combined collections for the Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA edged up last year, after registering the first fall since 2011. Gains for STEMRA just offset BUMA’s decline, with live receipts suffering a second year of sharp decline as a result of the slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 also affected total receipts for producers’ and performers’ society SENA, which were down year on year.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with South Korea country report

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

Streaming is set to monetize music across the Middle East
The music business has, until recently, had little success selling its wares in the Middle East region. But the climate looks to have changed since the arrival of streaming services, which are proving increasingly popular with consumers. Now, the leading record companies are establishing and expanding operations across the region, mostly in alliance with local partners. The prospects look pretty good for music streaming, and operators are busy building out their libraries. However, there is a need to provide potential users with a large menu of local music, not just access to international favorites. Moreover, the key to success will be the focus on the region’s various genres, given that the many Middle East submarket audiences can have very different music tastes.

Record collections and distributions for MCSC despite lingering impact of COVID-19
Royalty collections in China have increased for the 13th consecutive year. In September, the Chinese authors’ society MCSC published its business report for 2021, confirming that total collections had topped the previous year’s record and exceeded CNY400m ($62m) for the third straight year. Distributable revenue also increased to a new record high, with the amount available for distribution above CNY300m for the third year in a row. Digital is the biggest collection source for Chinese authors ahead of background music. Both increased last year after suffering a dip in 2020. TV income also returned to growth, while radio and karaoke revenue was down.

Midyear growth for recorded-music sales in Spain, but “stagnation signals” suggest recovery is slowing
Spanish recorded-music trade association Promusicae has reported a rise in recorded-music retail sales in the first half of this year. Spending on digital formats and services increased, with both audio and video streaming registering growth. Physical sales were flat, as the rise in vinyl LP sales was offset by lower revenue from CDs. Vinyl generated higher sales than CDs for the first time in more than 30 years. While the results were largely positive overall, Promusicae expressed some concerns that the growth rate for streaming has slowed significantly over the last couple of years. Moreover, although full-year retail sales are set to record a ninth straight year of growth, the total will still be a long way short of the record set at the turn of the century.

South Korea country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Korea music industry report. South Korea’s recorded-music industry is widely considered the most advanced in the world. Since the turn of the century, the sector has been through a massive transformation, from being almost overrun by piracy to one that is multifaceted, with both physical and digital formats and services flourishing. One of South Korea’s unique features is the healthy position for CD album sales. The format remains popular among consumers despite the rise of digital access. Last year saw the biggest jump in CD sales, with many consumers substituting spending on live music for collectible CD releases. Sales of music subscriptions also registered healthy growth, along with trade income from advertising-supported audio and video services. Korean-produced music continues to grow in popularity worldwide, and a number of K-pop bands have scored major chart success away from their home market. Local music groups dominate recorded-music distribution, with the major labels accounting for a low market share. Last year, collections for the authors’ society KOMCA hit a new record, with total receipts increasing at the fastest rate for four years.

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