New issue of Music & Copyright with Canada country report

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

US songwriters edging closer to an end to the 15-year physical mechanical rates freeze
UMG, SME, and WMG along with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) have submitted a joint motion to the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) agreeing on the mechanical rates payable on the sale of physical recorded-music products, permanent downloads, ringtones, and music bundles (subpart B configurations) for the five years between 2023 and 2027. Earlier this year, the CRB judges had withdrawn their backing of a previous agreement between the music companies and rights holder groups following criticism that the freezing of current rates was unfair. The CRB judges called on industry stakeholders to either come together and forge a new agreement or face long, drawn-out, expensive litigation. Although the new motion will see rates increase 32%, plenty of other issues aside from the rate rise remain unresolved.

Annual revenue for SME tops the JPY1tn mark for the first time
Sony Corp. has reported a good end to the 2021 financial year for its music division SME. Recorded-music and music publishing sales were up year-on-year in 4Q21 with gains for the two segments more than offsetting a dip in revenue for visual media and platform. For the full year, improved recorded-music and publishing income boosted SME sales past the JPY1tn ($7.7bn) mark for the first time. Streaming drove the recorded-music total in the quarter and full year with higher sales more than offsetting declines in sales of physical formats and downloads. Streaming was also the publishing mainstay although “other” publishing revenue registered a much more positive year than in the prior 12 months. Income for the third division, visual media and platform, was down in the quarter and full year with the prior year periods boosted by the massive success of the anime movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba–Mugen Train.

Deezer comes to market as it takes on music rivals with streaming allies
Deezer has been in the music streaming business a long time but is regarded as something of a second-tier provider in comparison with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. The company is now set to get a stock exchange listing along with large sums of money to help it grow. It’s too late for Deezer to make it big across a broad swathe of markets, so it needs to cherry-pick and decide where there’s real opportunity to make a mark. To date, it has shown it can do this when it joins forces with a strong local partner, and there’s no reason to believe that this strategy can’t deliver going forward. Also, Deezer has already shown commitment to the fast-growing livestreaming sector and it’s here where the brand has the chance to cut through and perhaps become a major operator.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top 10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years, with South Korea and China registering higher gains in trade sales. Last year, however, Canada maintained its position as the eighth-biggest recorded-music market, extending its lead slightly over ninth-placed Australia for the second year in a row. Recorded-music consumption levels were up in 2021, along with trade sales. Streaming registered healthy growth, along with sales of vinyl. Performance rights were down for the second year in a row as the sector continues to suffer the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the third consecutive year, UMG and SME enhanced their market share lead over WMG and the independents. SOCAN is yet to publish full collection results for 2021. However, preliminary estimates by the authors’ society show revenue from licensed music set a new record, beating the previous high set in 2019. After suffering a major downturn, Canada’s live sector has started on the long road to recovery. Estimates suggest it will take several years for ticket sales to return to prepandemic levels.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Canada country report

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

Reassessing the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry
Over the last 12-months of so, all sectors of the music industry have been forced to adjust to the impact on their businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Trading conditions have been unprecedented, and the overall situation remains fluid given the continued prevalence of the virus in some parts of the world. The live sector is yet to start on the road to recovery. Some trials and experiments to test the safety of live performance have been conducted, but the industry remains on hold. In contrast, the recorded-music sector has suffered far less, with streaming gains more than offsetting all other losses, and the continued renaissance of vinyl providing a buffer to the ongoing demise of the CD. Revenue from performance rights has fallen and there is more bad news to come on that front in the current year. Revenue for music publishers was mostly positive last year, but the timeline in processing distributions means the sector is only just experiencing a downturn.

PRS for Music details the impact of COVID-19 on collections
UK authors’ society PRS for Music has reported its financial results for 2020, a year dominated by the COVID-19 virus and one that will long be remembered as the worst in terms of year-on-year performance. Three of the four main revenue streams suffered a decline with public performance the hardest hit. The shuttering of the live sector in the UK at the end of March last year resulted in a massive fall in live collections, while restrictions on the hospitality and nightlife sectors led to similar rates of decline for pubs and clubs, and hotels and restaurants. Digital was the only sector to experience growth with collections from streaming, VOD, and downloads all rising. International income suffered a more modest decline. However, a number of major overseas societies will not distribute 2020 collections until 2021, and so a further dip in international receipts is expected. While distributions to its members increased to a new record, PRS is expecting the collection dip last year to take its toll on distributions in the current year.

How record companies are making the music play beyond the core
The horizons of the recorded-music business now seem to know few bounds. Organizations operating in the gaming and esports sectors have already established themselves as clear and vibrant partners, with music and artists set for further integration into games titles and live events. Podcasting is another obvious area for development, with the music scene and its protagonists always able to provide ripe material for compelling storytelling, while the sound tracking of strong narratives is something of a no-brainer. Perhaps an extreme development is UMG’s rollout of its hotels initiative in three locations in the US. Even so, with all these kinds of ventures, record companies need to ensure that the fit is good, both in terms of the sector they intend to move and shake in and the consumers who inhabit them.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top 10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years with South Korea and China registering higher gains in trade sales. Last year, however, Canada maintained its position as the eighth biggest recorded-music market, extending its lead slightly over ninth-placed Australia. Recorded-music consumption levels were up last year, along with trade sales. Streaming again registered healthy growth, albeit at a slowing rate. Notable in last year’s results was that trade revenue of vinyl overtook CDs with the former scoring a big increase in sales that more than offset lower sales of the latter. Inevitably with the impact on music users in the country from COVID-19, performance rights revenue fell sharply. For the second straight year, UMG and SME enhanced their market share lead over WMG and the independents. SOCAN is yet to publish collection results for 2020. However, based on member guidance, Omdia estimates receipts were down year-on-year, with online the only positive. Canada’s live sector has been badly hit by the pandemic with ticket sales falling to the lowest level for more than 20 years.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Canada country report

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

Brands partnering with music specialists to get closer to consumers
Brands have long relied on music to get closer to consumers and are always looking to refine their strategies to boost engagement. Many are now, wisely, joining forces with brand music specialists to fine-tune their offerings, and this music-for-business space is proving attractive enough to entice big hitter Apple Music to enter the fray. Launching new standalone record companies has been – and continues to be – a popular ploy, though such label output has tended to be rather limited, and brands appear to have little desire to participate beyond the short-to-medium term. Strategic alliances with music companies might be the way to take the concept beyond mere marketing tactics. Plus, there’s one major thing for brands to watch out for – make sure those content rights are sorted.

Charter claims music companies’ misregistered sound recordings in latest ISP copyright infringement case
Buoyed by the success of their copyright infringement legal action against the US ISP Cox Communications, a group of record companies have now turned their attention to Charter Communications. According to court filings, the companies have accused Charter of secondary copyright infringement based upon the ISPs subscribers’ infringing of close to 7,000 sound recordings. In an effort to invalidate a large share of the songs at issue, Charter has claimed that the music companies incorrectly registered a large number of the sound recordings at issue with the US Copyright Office as works for hire. Deliberately misstating to the Copyright Office who a work’s author is can invalidate the copyright registration, Charter has argued, and so could prevent the record companies from suing for any copyright infringement. Disputing Charter’s claim, the companies said in a court submission that no court has ever invalidated the registration of a copyrighted work because it was incorrectly designated as work for hire.

SAMRO reports steady year for collections but SABC cashflow problems hit distributions
Africa’s largest authors’ society, the South African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO), has reported a flat year for music royalties for the 12 months ending June. Difficult trading conditions affected SAMRO’s operations in the year, with a number of businesses forced to close due to economic pressures, while others defaulted. Although broadcasting collections were almost unchanged year on year, the authors’ society’s biggest income source was impacted by financial difficulties experienced by the public broadcaster the SABC. Missed payments by the broadcaster also resulted in lower royalty distributions to SAMRO members. Overseas collections increased in the financial year, although the size of the rise was exaggerated by exchange rate fluctuations and the timing of revenue receipts from foreign societies.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top-10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years, with China and Australia registering higher gains in trade sales. We expect Canada to maintain its lead over Brazil when the IFPI publishes its global roundup later this month, but it will remain ninth, behind Australia. Recorded-music consumption levels were up last year, and the likelihood is trade sales will have grown also. Although streaming income is expected to register healthy growth, a slump in CD album sales as well as the continued decline in sales of single track and album downloads will have dented the overall market performance. UMG and SME enhanced their market-share lead over WMG, with the formers gaining share at the latter’s expense. Preliminary results from SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the eighth year in a row, with the level of royalties collected breaking the previous year’s record. Canada’s live sector is thought to have registered a positive year, with attendance at music events up year on year.

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 Canada country report

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

Difficult year for SME as UMG, WMG, and the indies make recorded-music and publishing share gains
Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors has revealed the changes in global market share for the three major music groups and the independent sector. Recorded-music leader UMG maintained the top spot, with an increased share of digital sales fully offsetting a decline in the company’s share of physical sales. UMG also increased the gap on second-placed SME, with the latter suffering a fall in both its digital and physical shares. WMG’s share of digital sales edged down last year, but a higher share of physical sales boosted the company’s overall recorded-music market share. A repeat of last year saw independent record companies collectively account for the biggest share. Sony was unable to repeat the record year of 2017 for music publishing, with the company suffering a dip in share. UMPG registered the highest share gain of all the major music publishers, but the collective share of the independent sector accounted for the biggest share of the music publishing pie.

GEMA sees third consecutive year of collections over €1bn
German authors’ society GEMA has reported its financial details for 2018. Although collections and distributions were unable to match the previous year’s record levels, the underlying performance was positive. Collections in 2017 were inflated by one-time payments, and the exclusion of those extras meant total income last year registered healthy growth. Public performance and broadcasting, the two biggest collection sources, recorded another year of modest growth, while digital revenue grew sharply. The private copying total more than halved, but the 2017 collection figure was inflated by extra payments, so a year-on-year comparison is not strictly accurate. Overseas income edged down, while mechanicals continued to suffer from lower sales of physical formats. Total expenses were slightly reduced, but the decrease in income meant the cost rate increased.

TikTok gets serious with music as it clocks up the hits
Short-video sharing platform TikTok has seemingly come from nowhere to garner a seriously large following among young demographics around the world. While the service does lean heavily on record companies’ existing catalogs, it has also proved adept at enabling its video “creators” to unearth offbeat atypical tracks that then get serious traction. And TikTok has recently demonstrated that it can not only break emerging artists but also serve as a platform that delivers hits in the mainstream charts. Now it is up to TikTok to take advantage of those capabilities to become a leading music discovery channel in its own right, while record companies need to put resource into the video network as part of their A&R efforts.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although ever present in the top 10, the country lost a couple of places last year, slipping from seventh to ninth. Canada was overtaken by China and Australia, with those two countries registering higher year-on-year growth rates in trade sales. Recorded-music consumption levels were up last year, but the increase in trade revenue was more modest. Although streaming income continued to rise, a big slump in sales of CD albums dented the overall market performance. UMG maintained its market share lead over second-placed SME with the former gaining share and the latter suffering a decline. Canada’s live sector is thought to have registered a positive year with attendance at music events up year on year. Preliminary results from SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the sixth year in a row with the level of royalties collected and distributed breaking previous records.

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 Canada country report

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

Apple betting on the HomePod to close the gap with Spotify
Apple has finally confirmed the rollout date for its HomePod smart speaker. The US, UK, and Australia will be the first countries to receive the device when it goes on sale February, followed by France and Germany in a couple of months. Marketing for the HomePod is focusing heavily on the device’s music capabilities and audio quality, and Apple is hoping that sales will boost subscriber numbers to its music subscription offering and close the gap on the leader Spotify. The price of the HomePod is significantly higher than that of the smart speakers currently on the market, but Apple is probably hoping that it will be able to repeat its success in the portable music and smartphone sectors and turn what looks like a late entry to market into an advantage.

Rights-owning Facebook looks to make music much more social
Having recently signed a series of music industry agreements, Facebook is beginning to show real intent in music, while at the same time ramping up the pressure on YouTube. The driving force behind this is the social network’s belief that it can make its platforms more engaging with video. And the experience of its new Watch video hub suggests it might well be right. However, with the new rights deals in its back pocket, Facebook now needs to develop new products that will deliver immersive “social music” experiences to its users – and Asia’s Tencent may well already be showing the way forward.

Japan set for a full-year fall in recorded-music sales
New figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats and the number of units produced were down last year compared with 2016. Both audio and video formats suffered a production dip, although, in a repeat of 2016, the rate of decline was fairly modest compared with some of the sizeable falls experienced in a number of other developed markets. Full-year figures for digital trade earnings are set for publication in February, but based on digital revenue in the first nine months of the year, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register an overall decline.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s larger music markets. For recorded music, it sits just outside of the top five, behind France. However, last year saw recorded-music consumption increase at more than double the rate of the previous year. Growth in on-demand audio streaming easily offset declines in download and CD album sales, while the vinyl revival continued with sales of the age-old format rising for the seventh consecutive year.

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 Canada country report

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

Sprint-backed Tidal set to challenge the US music-streaming leaders
Music subscription service Tidal has sold a third stake in the company to US mobile operator Sprint. In what is being seen as a win/win for the two companies, Tidal will gain access to new finance, Sprint’s customer base, and a dedicated artist marketing fund, while Sprint will be able to offer its users a music streaming service brimming with exclusives and rare recordings and video footage. Questions have been raised over the price paid by Sprint for its stake. However, if the service boosts the mobile operator’s performance indicators, other operators in the country might follow suit and look more closely at one of the other smaller music services.

Honoring dead artists and managing commercial exploitation is tricky to get right
Unfortunately for many music fans around the world, last year was notable for the number of high-profile artists and performers that passed away. Famous names including David Bowie, Glen Frey, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and George Michael all died in 2016, leaving copyrights to some of the world’s biggest and best-selling musical works to others. In most cases, there are provisions for both what to do with those works and who benefits from them while they are in copyright. However, in some cases, heirs can be forced to make tough decisions to balance preserving an artist or performer’s legacy and the necessary business of commercial exploitation. History has shown there is big money to be made after a popular artist dies, but making sure a legacy created over a number of years is not tarnished by quick decisions can prove difficult.

Japan heading for a full-year fall in recorded-music sales
New figures published by the Japanese recorded-music trade association, the RIAJ, show that the total production value of physical formats and the number of units produced were down in 2016 compared with 2015. Both audio and video formats suffered a production dip; however, the rate of decline was fairly modest compared with some of the sizeable falls experienced in a number of other developed markets. No full-year figures for digital trade earnings have been released yet, but based on digital revenue in the first nine months of 2016, the world’s second-biggest recorded-music market looks set to register a slight overall decline.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada’s music industry registered an improved performance in 2016. Recorded-music sales in unit terms grew, on the back of a big jump in streaming. Whether that rise converts to revenue growth will be confirmed in the next couple of months, when the IFPI publishes trade revenue figures for the country. UMG remains the clear market share leader, ahead of SME. However, both majors experienced a dip in market share in 2016, with WMG and the indie sector making gains. Preliminary details published by authors’ society SOCAN show that royalty collections were up for the fourth year in a row, with the level of royalties collected and distributed all breaking previous records. Canada’s live music industry is also thought to have had a good 2016.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Canada country report

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

Munich court rules in favor of YouTube in GEMA damages case
A court in Munich has ruled that the online video service YouTube is not responsible for copyright infringing content uploaded by the service’s users. The court found that the sole responsibility lies with individual uploaders and that no damages should be paid by YouTube for unlicensed content appearing on the service. German authors’ society GEMA said the decision meant YouTube was presently not financially accountable within the current legal framework when works protected by copyright are used on the platform. GEMA has been at odds with YouTube for a number of years with the two unable to agree rates for a licensing deal.

Stable year for physical music sales in Japan; Avex remains the market share leader
New figures published by the Japanese recorded music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats was unchanged in 2015 compared with 2014. Although the value of audio units slipped slightly, a rise in video units offset the decline. The production value of domestic artist releases increased year-on-year, but the value of international artist releases dropped sharply. According to chart compiler Oricon, Japanese record company Avex remained the leading music company, despite losing market share to local rivals.

CUR Media sets its sights on the “massive” US music streaming market
The latest entrant to the already crowded US music streaming sector is CUR Media’s CUR Music service. First launched as an Internet radio service a few years ago under a different name, the rebranded service rolled out in the US on iOS in January and will be available on Android and the Web in February. Although the service offers fewer tracks than the leading subscription services, the two advertising-free tiers offered cost less than its rivals. Cur Music’s emphasis is on radio and playlists, which puts it up against the likes of Pandora and iHeartRadio. The US has already seen a number of casualties in the streaming sector in the last year or so and with CUR Music seemingly late to the party, the service will do well to hold its own against established offerings that are making most of the running.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry profile. Canada experienced an improved recorded music sales performance in 2015. Just how much of an improved year 2015 was will be confirmed in the next couple of months when the IFPI publishes trade revenue figures for the country. According to Nielsen Music, unit sales of recorded music were down year-on-year, but a big jump in streaming is likely to have reduced the rate of contraction in trade revenue compared with 2014. UMG remains the clear market share leader, ahead of SME, and preliminary details published by authors’ society SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the third year in a row with the level of royalties identified, collected, and distributed all breaking previous records. Canada’s live music industry is also thought to have had a good 2015.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.