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.

Subscription services face the challenge of maintaining user growth
Music company revenue from music subscriptions is set to rise this year, as take-up of the likes of Apple Music, Deezer, and Spotify shows little sign of abating. The number of users of subscription services is growing annually, with markets previously lost to piracy starting to come on board. It is, however, inevitable that revenue from subscriptions will slow and services will need to look at new ways to tempt current users to pay more, or to attract streaming holdouts to pay something. Mixed in with these considerations is the issue of price. The cost of an entry-level subscription has remained unchanged in the leading markets, meaning that in real terms, access is gradually getting cheaper. Leading service Spotify has signaled that it is willing to experiment with pricing in Northern European markets, but with music companies at the heart of pricing, a multimarket price increase must be getting nearer.

Congress tries again to force radio broadcasters in the US to pay to play
New legislation aimed at forcing AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US to pay performance royalties to producers and performers has been introduced in Congress. The Ask Musicians for Music (AM-FM) Act would line up terrestrial broadcasters alongside noninteractive online services that do pay a performance right. The US is unique in the industrialized world for not having a radio broadcast performance right for producers and performers. However, despite the anomaly, the US is the biggest country for performance rights, with distributions from collective management organization SoundExchange last year exceeding $950m. Previous efforts at legislating on the matter have failed, and the strength of the radio lobby, along with US politicians’ unwillingness to upset station owners, means the proponents of the latest attempt face an uphill battle.

Evolution of music piracy raises challenges for industry groups
Illicit file-sharing activity continues to trouble the recorded music sector, but stream-ripping has emerged as the leading means of obtaining copyright-infringing music content online. Record companies have little option but to seek legal remedy against perpetrators, to strong-arm third party enablers such as Google and ISPs, and to lobby government to regulate against pirates in efforts to ameliorate the problem. However, new and innovative pirating services will continue to appear and will require responses. It might well be time to take a look at core legislation that has served to protect online platforms from liability for the past two decades.

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. The Australian economy is suffering from a period of slow economic growth. Retail sales are depressed despite three interest rate cuts, which have reduced the rate to a record low of 0.75%. Moreover, GDP was up just 1.4% in the year to end-June, the slowest rate since the global financial crash 10 years ago. In contrast to the economic gloom, recorded-music sales are on the up, with rising consumer interest in subscriptions boosting trade sales to four straight years of growth. UMG enhanced its sizable market share lead last year at the expense of SME. The latest figures published by APRA AMCOS show royalty collections in Australia are continuing to rise, with digital the biggest collection source, generating more than public performance and TV broadcasting combined. Revenue from ticket sales to live events last year topped A$2bn ($1.6bn) for the first time.

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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.

Live music aims for richer, deeper audience involvement
Live music is moving beyond mere artist performances as operators look to lean on technologies that make concert- and festival-going way more than mere acoustic forays. Hologram performances look set to move beyond passive – and sometimes prurient – experiences and evolve into more compelling events, while virtual reality’s time as a highly immersive experience may be about to come. Live music is also becoming a crossover phenomenon, and its intersection with fast-growing esports is a highly promising segment for artists.

Report finds paid-for streaming edges out free listening in three of the four Nordic countries
The four Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – have become shining lights with regards to the shift in recorded-music distribution from music ownership to access. Sweden has long been a market to watch given that it is home to the world’s biggest audio subscription service Spotify and that smaller service Tidal was created from the acquisition of Swedish company Aspiro, owner of the Norway-based service WiMP Music. In all four countries, streaming accounts for the majority of recorded-music trade earnings with all ownership formats rapidly disappearing. A new report published by the Polaris Nordic Alliance has highlighted the digital music consumption habits of consumers in the Nordic countries and has identified which services are the most popular. The report has also provided a valuable insight into music discovery and shines an interesting light on the popularity of live music events in the region.

Mirroring helps music get out on the road
The in-car entertainment space has not developed in the way that automakers, who have invested heavily in sophisticated infotainment systems, had hoped. Those platforms have now pretty much lost out to mobile-based solutions such as Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which provide a simple and smooth transition to the vehicle and enable users to easily take their music with them. Now even luxury car brands have accepted the inevitable and let such screen mirroring systems into their vehicles. The next major advance will inevitably be voice control, with Amazon looking to lead the way on the back of its Alexa speakers, though technological teething problems remain. But in-car radio has plenty of life left in it, with music streamer Pandora now set to make a play for the road.

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. The Australian economy is experiencing a period of solid growth, with quarterly and annual GDP rising at better-than-expected rates. Also experiencing growth are the main music industry sectors. Recorded-music sales are bouncing back after a long period of falling sales. Consumer interest in music streaming and subscriptions is strong, and access services have almost single-handedly boosted overall recorded-music trade earnings to three straight years of growth. The latest figures published by APRA AMCOS show royalty collections in Australia are continuing to rise, with digital now the biggest collection source. Australia’s somewhat erratic live music industry registered a second consecutive year of growth in 2017, with revenue in the year rising at the fastest rate for more than 10 years.

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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.

Record companies look to benefit from the music industry disruptors
Record companies are not renowned for embracing new technologies – quite the opposite, in fact – but right now they seem eager to get much closer to tech start-ups to tap into their expertise. The music sector has realized the need to engage with likely technology disruptors at an early stage as a means of obtaining a degree of control over the way innovations are used, as well as of extracting value from start-ups that may well be worth billions of dollars in just a few years’ time. The real challenge is deciding just which technologies and entrepreneurs to invest in.

Digital gains boost global creators’ rights collections to record high
Global royalties for creators have topped the previous year’s record, according to the latest report published by CISAC. Total royalties collected by the organization’s 123 country-based 239 member societies grew for the third consecutive year and exceeded the €9bn ($10.5bn) mark for the first time. CISAC says revenue from digital uses of all repertoires has nearly tripled since 2012, driven largely by streaming subscription services. However, the report notes that digital collections are still held back by poor returns from video streaming services. Europe was the source of more than half of global collections, with music maintaining the tradition of accounting for the vast majority of creators’ income. In addition to music, audiovisual and literary collections were up year-on-year, while dramatic and visual arts revenue both fell.

BUMA STEMRA publishes delayed accounts amid calls for greater transparency
Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA have reported a fifth consecutive year of annual growth in joint collections after three consecutive annual falls. Combined income for the two collection societies edged up last year, with gains in performance collections just offsetting a drop in mechanical rights income. Continued strong growth in streaming in the Netherlands resulted in a positive year for digital collections for BUMA. However, digital remains a small source of revenue for authors and publishers in the country. STEMRA’s income suffered a big fall in private copying remuneration, after the previous year’s total was inflated by changes in rates and the extension of fees to e-readers. The publication of last year’s accounts was delayed by several months after an audit uncovered several financial irregularities.

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. The Australian recorded-music industry has shown some real signs that it is heading toward the end of what has been a long period of falling sales. Consumer interest in music streaming and subscriptions is strong, and access services have almost single-handedly boosted overall recorded-music trade earnings to two straight years of growth. In contrast to the recorded-music sector, royalty collections in Australia have risen year after year with authors’ society APRA AMCOS experiencing consecutive annual collection increases on the back of strong gains in digital income. Australia’s somewhat erratic live music industry registered growth last year after a decline in 2015. However, spending on tickets to live concerts and contemporary music festivals suffered a decline.

If you would like more information about the newsletter or set up a subscription then send us an email

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.

Secondary-ticketing services thrive on the back of unique live-market economics
Media exposés and government investigations in some European countries have brought the thorny issue of secondary ticketing to the fore of music news reporting in the last month or so. Police in Italy are investigating two prominent promoters after a local TV program exposed a number of shady dealings, while a government committee in the UK questioned representatives of leading secondary-ticketing services over their business practices. However, despite the unpopularity of ticket resale services, few countries in Europe have gone as far as outlawing the practice and restricting services’ operations. In some cases, laws and regulations are not being enforced, and resellers are making huge profits at the expense of consumers. Most live-industry stakeholders would like to do away with secondary ticketing altogether, but while tickets to big events are continually sold way below market value, some believe that the problem of ticket resale is one of the live industry’s own making.

Court filing sheds light on the Flo & Eddie SiriusXM pre-1972 sound recordings settlement
In November, a joint notice filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California by artists Flo & Eddie and satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM stated that the two parties had reached an out-of-court settlement in the long-running dispute over the payment of performance royalties for the broadcast of songs fixed in copyright before February 1972. Now, the artists and broadcaster have filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of the agreement. The filing details the potential payments SiriusXM might be required to make based on the outcomes of pending state court appeals. The case dates back to 2013, when Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, founding members of 1960s group The Turtles who later became known as Flo & Eddie, accused SiriusXM of copyright infringement on the grounds that the broadcaster played their tracks without holding a license to do so.

Japan heading for flat year despite big rise in subscription revenue
Figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that digital music sales for the first nine months of the year grew year-on-year at a faster rate in 2016 than in the same period of 2015. A big jump in trade earnings from subscriptions more than offset lower year-on-year sales of all unit downloads. Subscriptions are now the biggest digital revenue source for Japanese record companies, though combined sales of single tracks and albums still account for more than half of the online digital total. Despite the positive digital sales, the continued dominance of physical formats means the overall wellbeing of the country’s recorded-music sector is still largely determined by the performance of the CD album. Given that the RIAJ reported a decline in the production value of physical formats in the first nine months of this year, Japan looks to heading for a year of contraction.

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. The Australian recorded-music industry has shown signs that it is heading toward the end of what has been a long period of falling sales. Consumer interest in music streaming and subscriptions is strong and almost single-handedly boosted overall recorded-music trade earnings to growth in 2015. However, the country looked to have turned the corner in 2012, with record company income from digital sales fully countering the drop in CD album sales. But trade revenue contracted in the two subsequent years. In contrast to the recorded-music sector, royalty collections in Australia have been on the up for several years, with authors’ society APRA AMCOS experiencing consecutive annual collection increases on the back of strong gains in digital income. Australia’s somewhat erratic live music industry suffered a decline last year after two years of rising ticket sales and attendance.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.