New issue of Music & Copyright with US country report

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

Smaller streamers look for an edge in a big-player market
The music-streaming sector’s leading lights made serious moves at the tail-end of last year, and the battle to dominate the subscription segment is set to sharpen in 2018. Amazon, Google, Apple, and Spotify are all looking to gain extra edge in a competitive market, making it difficult for the smaller services to remain relevant and play a leading part in the rapidly evolving sector. However, Pandora, Deezer, and Tidal haven’t given up the fight and are looking to carve out their own segments, largely with the help of bigger partners.

UK ISPs ordered to block access to illegal streaming service servers
Last year, the UK High Court issued its first order to block access to unlicensed streaming service servers. The handing out of blocking orders to an ISP by a court is quite common, and rights holders for several years have applied to courts to force ISPs to prevent their subscribers from accessing websites or torrent trackers that host or provide access to unlicensed music and media content. Given the shift in the way recorded music is accessed now, rather than owned, unlicensed streaming services are growing in number, and so blocking internet users from visiting certain websites is no longer the answer to the problem. At the end of last year, the High Court issued a new blocking order. Like the previous order, the block was to prevent internet users from viewing live soccer matches. The High Court action could have implications for the recorded-music industry’s attempts to prevent internet users from accessing unlicensed content.

Publisher Wixen files copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify
Spotify has been hit with new legal action accusing it of willful copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed by Wixen Music Publishing at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, claims that Spotify has reproduced and streamed music penned by its songwriters without permission. The lawsuit, which is requesting the maximum statutory damages for each infringement, described a previous settlement between Spotify and a class action group concerning similar claims as inadequate. It accused the service of building a multibillion-dollar business without ensuring that the music available had been properly licensed. The timing of the lawsuit’s filing was prompted by the introduction of the Music Modernization Act into the House of Representatives which aims at overhauling the US mechanical royalty system. The bill includes a clause preventing rights holders from filing similar mechanical rights–based copyright claims after the end of 2017.

US 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 US is the biggest music market in the world. Not only does it account for around one-third of global recorded-music sales, it is home to the world’s largest live music sector and the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment. The US also has two of the leading authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and has quickly become the biggest performance rights market for record companies and performers, despite the fact the country’s collection agency, SoundExchange, only collects royalties from digital music services.

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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.

Flurry of deals and service announcements end a busy year for digital music
The battle for digital music supremacy took on new urgency in December, with a flurry of activity by several of the music streaming sector’s main players. The rumored rollout of a new all-encompassing service from YouTube was quickly followed by Amazon’s extension of its Music Unlimited service footprint. Not to be outdone, Apple then confirmed press reports that it had acquired song-recognition service Shazam. Spotify also confirmed reports that it would be exchanging minority equity stakes with Tencent Music Entertainment Group. Although Spotify has ended this year as the clear music subscription leader, the moves by the big names in the chasing pack suggest that there will be no letup in the push toward subscription service dominance.

Vinyl revival continues under the music streaming radar
Sales of vinyl in many of the world’s developed markets are on something of a roll at the moment. Although the vast majority of the recorded-music headlines are devoted to the business of music streaming, sales of the age-old vinyl LP continue are continuing to rise. New manufacturing plants are coming on line to meet the newfound demand for the format, and the likelihood is that vinyl will remain a part of the rapidly evolving recorded-music sector. Despite the high growth rates, vinyl still accounts for a small share of the physical-format sector. Moreover, the collectable status of the format means album prices are much higher than their CD equivalent. So the big question is: How long will the revival last for, and will consumers continue to be attracted by vinyl, or does the slowdown in global shipments mean the end of the vinyl road is already in sight?

IPRS receives reregistration notice, but collections fall for the third straight year
Indian authors’ society IPRS has reported a drop in collections for the financial year ending March 2016. With the exception of domestic radio broadcasting, all revenue streams suffered a fall. IPRS commented that unfavorable court rulings and litigation as well as issues concerning its registration as a copyright society and other enforcement matters were the main reasons for the collection reduction. Following a government investigation into the running of IPRS, the collection society has adopted a new set of articles of association. Moreover, elections resulted in the appointment of a new board of directors and governing council. In May, IPRS submitted to the commerce ministry an application for reregistration as an official collection society, and this status was granted in November.

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 is experiencing a major bounce back. Like most European music markets, the country suffered because of online piracy, as the shift from physical formats to digital resulted in big losses for record companies. However, for the last two years, trade revenue has risen sharply and continues to do so. Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA 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 lower mechanical rights. Producers’ and performers’ collection society SENA suffered a fall in total licensing income for 2016. Although domestic receipts were up year on year, lower income from the US meant international collections were down sharply. The live industry experienced a positive 2016 and the sector’s good performance looks to have continued this year.

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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.

Recorded music now firmly a growth industry, but for how long?
Ovum has published new forecasts for retail sales of recorded music which suggest that recorded music is now firmly a growth market. The value is expected to increase this year for the third year in a row and by 2022 retail sales will be at their highest level for almost 20 years. Virtually all developed markets are benefitting from rising consumer interest in subscriptions and streaming, and perhaps most importantly for record companies, emerging markets are beginning to show interest in these services too. Subscriptions will become the single biggest recorded-music category this year and will account for more than half the retail sales in 2019 and almost two-thirds of the total three years later. Ovum is also expecting the growth rate for recorded-music sales to slow over the next five years as the music subscription sector in most developed markets reaches maturity.

Live music sector set to maintain annual ticket sales growth
Measuring the annual performance of the live music sector on a global level is a speculative process. In contrast to recorded music, which is highly organized under the auspices of the IFPI, the live industry has no global trade association. Moreover, despite the recent emergence of a small number of corporate promoters, the live industry is not controlled by a few players, unlike the recorded-music sector, which is dominated by the three majors and music publishing groups. However, as in previous years, Ovum has taken guidance from the results of the corporate live leaders. Based on their financial details for the first nine months of last year, the live music industry is likely to have registered a positive 2017. Although the individual performance of each company differed, the combined earnings for the featured promoters showed positive overall growth, with combined revenue for the six set to top $11bn.

Control of in-car music slips toward the tech giants
Investments in the connected car continue apace as vehicle manufacturers keep on cutting technology deals. However, while until recently the in-car space looked to be the car manufacturer’s domain when it came to entertainment and information services, the auto industry is now set to be usurped in large part by tech giants Apple and Google. That’s because car makers saw little threat in letting smartphones get comfortably close to the dashboard, failing to realize that their customers’ intimate knowledge and everyday usage of mobile devices made bypassing often clunky in-car systems a frictionless way to enjoy their music on the road.

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 Australia music industry report. After a long difficult period for the recorded-music sector in Spain, trade sales have risen for three consecutive years and are likely to rise again when full-year results are published in early 2018. Similarly, Spain’s live sector has reversed a lengthy period of decline and registered three straight years of growth. Royalty collections in the country have been fairly flat for the last four years with annual changes in the low-single-digit percentages. Spain’s positive music industry figures come at a time when the Spanish economy is continuing to register real signs of improvement. However, in spite of the rising industry tide, the music sector, particularly recorded music, has a long way to go before it returns to the boom years of 20 or so years ago.

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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.

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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.

Producers’ and performers’ rights earnings see steady year
Performance-rights distributions broke new records last year, with total payment figures rising to their highest levels. The rights of record companies (producers) and performers have become an important source of income in recent years, given the long demise of recorded-music trade revenue. Although streaming has returned record-company earnings to growth, performance rights will remain a key source of revenue, with collections forecast to grow steadily over the next few years. Measured at both reported and constant exchange rates, global performance rights distributions increased year-on-year. The US continued to increase its dominance as the biggest national source of performance rights, despite a slowdown in collections by SoundExchange. Regionally, Europe is the biggest source of performance rights collections, but the region’s share of the global total fell last year after slipping below 50% for the first time in 2015.

Sweden’s recorded-music fortunes in limbo as midyear trade sales fail to excite
IFPI Sweden has reported modest growth in recorded-music trade earnings for the first half of this year. Record-company earnings from access services increased, although the breakout of the different streaming revenue sources showed that paid subscriptions were up but that advertising-supported audio and video service revenue fell year on year. Continued gains in vinyl revenue lessened the overall decline in physical format income. CD album and music video sales tumbled in the six-month period, along with single-track and album downloads. While the short-term situation for recorded-music sales in Sweden remains positive, the slowdown in subscriptions suggests that the longer-term fortunes for Europe’s most advanced recorded-music market are starting to look a little shaky.

Radio adapts to growing digital challenges
Big-budget music streaming services and digital in-car infotainment providers hope to eat into radio’s engaged and loyal listenership – boosting subscriber bases and driving advertiser investment away from broadcast content and toward their own platforms. Radio networks have worked well to adapt to the pressures of digitization, launching their own online radio services for smartphone and in-car listening and introducing repackaged content for sale online. However, collaboration must continue across the industry to consolidate listenership, particularly across the younger people that have grown up using digital technologies. Networks must continue to deliver content in diverse formats to drive revenue to and maintain healthy advertiser investment in the platform.

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 arguably 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 now dominated by digital access services. Surprisingly, sales of CD albums are still healthy in the country despite the continued rise of digital sales. Korean-produced music is popular worldwide with the K-pop genre benefitting from the “Korean Wave,” which began in the late 1990s and continues to boost the popularity of South Korean popular culture through online services and social media. Local music groups dominate distribution of recorded music with the major labels accounting for a low market share.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Chile country report

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

Privacy groups and national authorities express concerns over content upload filtering
Close to 60 civil rights groups have written an open letter to senior European lawmakers detailing their concerns over the European Commission’s (EC) new copyright legislation that would impose a new responsibility on internet platforms to filter content that their users upload. One year ago, the EC published a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at overhauling the current rules on copyright, to increase cultural diversity in Europe and in the content available online. Included in the plans was an obligation to deploy technology to automatically detect songs or audiovisual works that right holders have identified and agreed with the platforms either to authorize or remove. The privacy groups believe the proposal would impose excessive restrictions on citizens’ fundamental rights and would contradict existing rules and the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Some national authorities have also questioned the legitimacy of automated upload blocking.

Global royalty collections see positive year, with growth in reported and constant currency rates
Combined royalty collections for the world’s 20 biggest collective management organizations (CMOs) that have published results increased last year at both reported and constant currency exchange rates. With several of the top 20 CMOs reporting their financial results in euros, the stability of the currency against the dollar resulted in closer growth rates for the two currency measures than the previous CMO financials review. However, currency rates still affected the performance of some CMOs. French authors’ society SACEM remained the leader in terms of total revenue. Seventeen of the top 20 CMOs reported rises in collections. The US is the clear leader in terms of authors’ collections at country level, with combined collections by CMOs ASCAP and BMI topping the $2bn mark. Europe was the biggest region, accounting for more than half of the global total.

China’s streaming success set to usher in a sturdier music market
Once synonymous with piracy, the Chinese music market has entered the mainstream in recent years thanks to the popularity of digital content and smartphones among young Chinese users. The prime mover has been Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), which has built its business on the back of its parent company’s online strength, as well as on its exclusive rights deals. Having aggressively built its dominant position, TME is now looking to work together with rivals and artists to help develop a healthier local music market.

Chile country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Chile music industry report. Chile is South America’s fifth-largest recorded-music market. Following an almost decade-long decline, record-company earnings have been registering impressive annual growth since 2012. Sharp growth in streaming income saw trade earnings from digital sales overtake that from physical formats in 2015, and the gap widened significantly in 2016.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

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

Midyear trade results suggest a very big year for global recorded-music sales
With all the world’s major recorded-music markets and a good number of smaller ones having published midyear trade figures, an assessment of the results suggests that global recorded-music trade earnings could be heading for a particularly positive full year. Based on the numbers, combined global trade revenue from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will rise at the highest rate for more than 20 years. All the trade associations that have published figures have shown continued gains from music subscription services, and this earnings growth in almost all countries has more than offset declines in revenue from other formats. The ongoing dominance of a small number of markets looks likely to continue, but, as has been the case in the last couple of years, the rates of growth in less developed markets will be higher than those of the global leaders.

Music and video subscription services boost APRA AMCOS collections
Combined revenue for Australian authors’ society APRA AMCOS reached another record figure in the 12 months to end-June. Income exceeded A$300m for the third consecutive year, and the authors’ society is expecting collections to top the A$400m mark in the current financial year. Both APRA and AMCOS registered growth in the year. Broadcasting accounted for the biggest share of total collections, but a combination of factors saw digital overtake TV to become the greatest revenue source. The authors’ society commented that the rise of consumer subscriptions to music and video streaming services was the key factor underpinning revenue growth. APRA AMCOS’ expense-to-revenue ratio was down from the previous year, as was APRA’s standalone ratio. International collections increased at almost the same rate as domestic income.

Vevo looks to the TV model to become a music video star
remium music video company Vevo has been racking up impressive viewing metrics for a while, despite being overshadowed by YouTube (on whose property it gets most visibility). The company is now attempting to boost traffic to proprietary channels and make itself more attractive to advertisers by acting like a TV network. If it pulls this off, it could become the MTV for the millennial generation.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry report. Japan is the second-largest recorded-music market in the world. According to the IFPI, the country ended last year behind the US in terms of overall trade revenue, but it was comfortably the global leader for trade income from sales of physical formats. There is momentum building around the access model, but for streaming in Japan to make any real impact on the overall recorded-music sector, annual gains will need to be significantly larger than they have been so far. Increases in streaming revenue will certainly be able to compensate for declines in download and mobile personalization sales. But access services are struggling to offset modest falls in physical format sales. Should sales of physical formats go the way they have in other developed markets and streaming continue to register only moderate levels of growth, Japan could be in for a difficult few years.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.