New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report

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

As endgame nears for the Copyright Directive, opponents plan their final hand
The European Union (EU)’s key institutions – the Commission, Council, and Parliament – have finally agreed on new copyright rules, in the face of intense opposition and lobbying from internet giants. The agreed deal between the institutions – the outcome of the so-called trilogue process that underpins EU rule-making that had already been subject to delay in December – includes the controversial Article 13, which will put the onus on the likes of YouTube to remove copyright-infringing material without being asked, something that online platforms have long resisted. For the measure’s supporters, Article 13 reinforces the position of content rights holders and enables them to be properly remunerated. But for some of its opponents, who have tended to rail against it in near-apocalyptic terms, it means the effective end of the internet as we know it.

Class action lawsuits against SME and UMG are set to clarify entitlement to US termination rights
Major labels SME and UMG are facing class action lawsuits filed at the New York District Court in an attempt by a number of authors to reclaim the copyrights to their music under the so-called 35-year law. David Johansen, John Lyon, and Paul Collins were named in the legal action against SME, while John Waite and Joe Ely are part of the action against UMG. According to the lawsuits, both record companies have refuted the artists’ termination rights claims on the grounds that the sound recordings are “works made for hire” and so not available for termination under US copyright law. In addition to copyright infringement claims, the artists have asked the court for declaratory relief that sound recordings cannot be considered “works made for hire,” and that the release of sound recordings created by a particular recording artist in album form does not constitute a contribution of a collective work. Although these two challenges to the record companies’ refusal to recognize the termination rights requests are not the first, they could prove to be the first to go all the way to trial and finally provide resolution to a problem in the making for more than 40 years.

It’s now “game on” for the music industry
Music and gaming are clearly natural bedfellows but the music industry has yet to fully exploit the potential of games and gaming audiences. The reach of some gaming platforms is vast, offering great marketing prospects for the recorded-music business, while esports events can attract sizable audiences that are also looking for content beyond the core tournament battles. Plus, as games developers have shown recently, there is real appetite for virtual concerts inside the titles themselves – and that really should be a cue for physical festival promoters to deploy gaming at events to further develop those live music experiences.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry report. China’s relatively buoyant economy is reflected in several sectors of the country’s music industry. Recent trade results published by the IFPI show the country, often described as an emerging market, is starting to live up to its long-held potential with previous glimmers of optimism now turning into real sales. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed, and with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for further digital growth are firmly in place. However, some creative sectors continue to suffer against a backdrop of unlicensed services and restrictive practices. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last eight or so years, but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per capita rate are very small.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report

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

Spotify’s direct listing in New York sheds light on the company’s inner workings
After months of speculation, global on-demand audio streaming leader Spotify has finally filed all the necessary documentation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirming its move to go public. The company will list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the next month or so under the symbol SPOT. Rather than go down the more common IPO route, Spotify decided on a direct listing and is not issuing new shares. Instead, existing shareholders will be free to sell their shares through brokerage transactions. As is the case with all listings, documents filed with the SEC lift the lid on previously unseen financial and operating metrics. This research note picks out some of the more interesting insights surrounding the financial standing of the service, its popularity, and what the details tell us about the wider music streaming market.

Musicautor celebrates 25th year with return to collections growth
Bulgarian authors’ society Musicautor has marked a quarter of a century of operations by recording a rise in collections. The three biggest sources of income – TV, radio, and general licensing – all registered growth last year, more than offsetting a drop in collections from retransmission, digital, and live concerts. In its business report, Musicautor noted difficulties associated with the administration of digital music rights and its inability to process reports from several of the major music services. Although the withdrawal of Anglo-American repertoire administration a few years ago by music publishers as part of their move to create pan-European licensing hubs hit digital collections, the lack of technical ability to process reports from the international digital platforms is a major challenge. General licensing revenue returned to growth after a decline the previous year, and mechanical collections grew sharply following the completion of a deal with the local producers’ association.

Brands get to grips with social change initiatives through live music
Brands have long supported live music events, but simply stumping up cash to sponsor a stage, festival tent, or bar has quickly became something of yesteryear with the onset of social media and more intimate B2C communications. However, racking up substantial online metrics only goes so far, and a number of brands are now looking to do good in the community and engage in social change initiatives through live music. This is a riskier strategy than simply hanging a banner over a stage, and brands need to make sure they choose their partners and social issues carefully.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry report. China is the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.4 billion people. It is also home to the second-biggest economy. Last year saw the country’s economy grew 6.9%, the first time in seven years that annual growth has accelerated. The increase was also higher than the Chinese government’s forecast of 6.5%. In line with the optimism surrounding the economy, certain sections of China’s music industry are starting to show signs that it is living up to its long-held potential. In the past, there have been several false starts. More recently, though, glimmers of optimism look set to turn into real sales. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue registered healthy growth in 2016, after a big jump in earnings in the previous year. Aside from slight increases in minor digital formats, all the growth in the last few years has come from streaming. Ovum has estimated that growth continued last year, and more is set to come.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report

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

Much of MEA’s digital music fortunes lie with carriers and RBTs
Music revenue in the Middle East and North Africa is largely in decline, while revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa are growing at a relatively vigorous pace. But, overall, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region generates negligible digital music revenue other than that derived from mobile – a reality that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. In essence, virtually all digital music revenue produced throughout most of the region comes from ring-back tones (RBTs), and the lion’s share of that revenue is ending up in the hands of mobile operators, which have a monopoly over the delivery of RBTs. Unfettered piracy; limited access to broadband; high data charges; low smartphone penetration; consumers’ inability or unwillingness to pay for music; insufficient spending on digital advertising; inexistent or inadequate royalty-collection systems; and, in a fair number of countries, political unrest and war, are all factors conspiring against the success of digital music services – both a-la-carte and all-you-can-eat.

Vivendi hits back over Spinal Tap fraudulent accounting claims
Vivendi has filed a motion with a California district court to dismiss claims made by the co-creators of cult movie This Is Spinal Tap. Late last year, the co-creators accused Vivendi and its movie studio subsidiary, Studiocanal, of engaging in anticompetitive and unfair business practices as well as fraudulent accounting, and sought compensatory and punitive damages of $400m. Vivendi and Studiocanal claimed their motion to dismiss was brought because the co-creators had failed to state a claim upon which any damages could be granted and because they had not provided any evidence of fraud as required under federal rule of civil procedure. The two defendants also refuted the termination rights claims, since the music in the movie was made as a work-for-hire.

Premium subscriptions now one-third of total Belgian music sales
Belgium’s recorded-music sector has registered a second consecutive year of growth in retail spending. According to new figures published by the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA), total consumer spending on recorded music grew 6.9% year-on-year in 2016, around the same rate as in 2015. The improved performance was almost all down to a big rise in spending on subscription services countering falls elsewhere. Vinyl sales also increased, although the format accounts for a minor share of total spending. Despite the growing interest in streaming, Belgian music consumers continue to support the CD album, with the format accounting for the biggest share of retail spending. The second year of overall growth is positive news for Belgian record companies, given the numerous years of decline the industry has seen. It should, though, be remembered that record company earnings from recorded-music sales in the country are still less than half what they were at the turn of the century.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry report. China is the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.4 billion people. It is also home to the second-biggest economy. Despite a slight slowdown in economic growth last year, the latest figures from China’s statistics bureau suggest the country is on course to meet the government’s aim of doubling GDP and per capita earnings between 2010 and 2020. In line with this optimistic outlook, China’s music industry is starting to show signs that it is living up to its long-held potential. In the past there have been several false starts. More recently, though, glimmers of optimism look set to turn into real sales. The latest IFPI figures show that trade revenue was up sharply in 2015, with a number of digital formats and services the growth drivers. Ovum estimates that growth continued last year and that more is set to come. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed, and with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for further digital growth are firmly in place. However, some creative sectors continue to suffer against a backdrop of unlicensed services and restrictive practices. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last seven or so years, but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per capita rate are still very small.

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 China country report

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

SME labels file copyright-infringement claim against Radionomy
A number of SME record company subsidiaries including Arista Records, LaFace Records, US Latin, and Zomba have filed a copyright-infringement and unfair competition claim at the US District Court for the Northern District of California against the online radio service Radionomy. The labels have filed for seven claims for relief, including direct infringement of their rights under US copyright law; contributory copyright infringement; and inducement to infringe. The labels’ court filing states that they are entitled to the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per track infringed. The lawsuit comes just two months after UMG parent company Vivendi acquired two-thirds of the share capital of Radionomy.

Digital transition continues to dent French recorded music trade sales
French music trade association SNEP has reported a second consecutive annual fall in revenue from the sale of physical and digital music formats and digital access services. Despite sharp growth in trade income from subscription services, a big drop in earnings from physical formats and downloads meant the value of the French recorded music market last year was half of what it was 10 years ago. A good year for performance rights lessened the overall decline. In its report, SNEP drew attention to the rise of subscriptions in France – more than 3 million consumers are now paying for a subscription to one of the many services available in the country. However, with physical formats still dominant and downloads dropping away fast, it seems unlikely that the French recorded music market will return to growth any time soon.

Music video providers look to make consumers pay for the short form
The music video has come a long way since the launch of MTV in the early 1980s. Now the format is part of the short-form-video revolution which led the world to consume some five trillion clips last year. Music video consumption has long shifted online – largely into the hands of YouTube. Much of that content has yet to be fully monetized, but there are major moves underway to make more consumers pay.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry profile. For many years China has been seen as a music market in the midst of development and one that offers great potential for growth. Certainly the country’s marketplace for creative content is developing rapidly. However, there have been a number of false starts, and industry sectors have been left disappointed with China consistently failing to live up to its billing. More recently though, there have been some glimmers of hope. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue was up in 2014 with streaming the big driver of growth. Ovum has estimated growth continued last year, and more is set to come. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed and with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for further digital growth are firmly in place. However, some creative sectors continue to suffer against a backdrop of unlicensed services and restrictive practices. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last six or so years, but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per-capita rate are tiny.

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 China country report

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

European Commission sets out its 16-point plan for the Digital Single Market
The European Commission has published details of how it intends to create a Digital Single Market in the region. The new plan sets out a number of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of 2016. The plan is separated into three specific areas aimed at providing better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe, creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish, and maximizing the growth potential of the digital economy. Of particular interest to the music industry are the Commission’s plans to end geoblocking and its legislative proposals for a new copyright law aimed at reducing the differences between national copyright regimes. Continue reading “New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report”