The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
European live assets remain prized assets as acquisitions mount
There’s been a huge amount of consolidation in European live music promotions and ticketing over the past few years, and there’s little sign that this trend is going to slow in 2020. Germany’s CTS Eventim and Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) have been behind a raft of acquisitions across the continent, and they both clearly have appetite for more purchases as they build out existing and new territories. Live Nation, as always, has been busy picking up live entertainment companies, and there’s no reason for it to apply the brakes. However, private equity firms see the sector as ripe for investments – and returns – and have already acquired significant assets. There could be a real battle for those independent festivals and ticketing outfits this year as all players look to further develop their portfolios.
Cox challenges the first ever billion-dollar damages award for copyright infringement
US ISP Cox Communications is challenging a $1bn damages award made against it by a Virginia federal court in December after a jury found the ISP guilty of copyright infringement. Plaintiffs were made up of 53 music companies that had identified more than 10,000 instances of infringement carried out by Cox customers. The ISP has claimed that the size of the damages award bore no relation to the offence it was accused of and has requested that the court either reduce the award or hold a new trial. Cox also claimed in its filing that the jury in the trial was urged by the music companies to punish the ISP and ramp up the damages because of its positive financial situation. Cox said the supposed transgressions described in the trial went far beyond the limited acts of infringement alleged.
Spotify reports accelerated user growth with year-end subscribers at the top end of expectations
Music streaming service Spotify has published its fourth quarter and full year results for 2019, detailing both the its financial position and its operating details. Total revenue for the three- and 12-month periods registered healthy growth with premium subscription and ad-supported service income rising at similar rates. However, although the company posted sizable gross profits, sharp rises in operating expenses resulted in operating, and net losses for both periods. Monthly active user (MAU) growth exceeded the previous quarter’s guidance, and premium subscriber numbers ended last year at the top end of the company’s expectations. Notable in the final quarter of last year was the addition of 11 million net new paying subscribers, the highest since the company was launched. Podcasts are proving to be a big hit for Spotify users, with increasing evidence that the content form is aiding user retention.
India country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed India music industry report. For many years, India has been tagged as an emerging market with great potential to become a major market of the future. The country’s population is edging towards 1.4 billion and although economic growth softened in 2019, forecasts suggest better things for 2020. Tapping into what is a market ripe for exploitation has always been high on the recorded-music industry’s list of priorities and in the last couple of years very positive retail sales figures suggest all the optimism for the future has been well placed. For many years, India’s biggest obstacle to recorded-music growth has been piracy, with rising internet penetration providing increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. But developments in the last couple of years have suggested that streaming will be the way out of the piracy problem.
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