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.
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