New issue of Music & Copyright with India country report

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

Shining a critical light on the maturing music-streaming sector
So far in January, the usual suspects have published early recorded-music results for 2022. In all cases, streaming has been the big growth provider, with gains more than offsetting declines of buy-to-own formats. Although the revival of vinyl has mostly continued, growth at a national or international level is now all about subscriptions and advertising. While the next couple of months will see more industry performance releases in the run-up to the IFPI’s assessment of global trade sales, those releases will show that streaming revenue growth rates are slowing. Moreover, it’s a safe bet that national trade associations that include subscriber estimates in their year-end roundups will also show a rates decline. Admittedly it is a little early in the year for bad news, but the reality is the boom in streaming is over. The high growth rates of a few years ago will not be repeated. The industry must also face up to the real possibility that emerging and developed markets may not keep the global growth momentum going.

UPRS annual report illustrates the difficulties of rights collection in Uganda
Ugandan authors’ society Uganda Performing Right Society (UPRS) has published its annual report for 2022, detailing the workings of the society in the year just gone, along with limited collection results and revenue forecasts for the next few years. Few African collective management organizations (CMOs) provide much of an insight into their business activities. However, the UPRS report offers a candid assessment of the difficulties experienced in collecting royalties owed, convincing local artists and songwriters to sign up to the CMO system, and making music users pay royalties for the use of UPRS members’ works. COVID-19 and the impact of a lengthy lockdown in Uganda greatly affected rights collections in the last couple of years, but UPRS is confident that going forward, the society will be able to convince music users of their obligations to pay royalties and generate record collections for its members.

WMG looks to tech to do the work in an entertainment future
WMG is, unlike its peers, making a name for itself as a music technology pioneer. The major music group has been busy building relationships with a variety of tech partners across a range of innovative activities, among them blockchain, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), digital collectibles, and metaverse real estate. In addition, WMG has managed to put together an executive team with strong tech creds and experience with successful tech entertainment brands such as YouTube, Netflix, and Blizzard. The record company’s embrace of new technologies in an industry that has long viewed innovation as an existential threat could serve it well in an increasingly virtual world—if it can stitch together the disparate parts of its tech play.

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. India is the second most populous country in the world, behind China. The size of the population exceeded 1.4 billion for the first time last year, while the number of households topped the 300-million mark. According to the most recent United Nations projections, India will overtake global leader China before the end of this decade, with the country’s population expected to peak at 1.7 billion in 2064. Moreover, by 2050, India will account for close to 20% of the rise in the world’s working-age population (15–64-year-olds). However, despite accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s population, India’s different music industry sectors have always underperformed. Recorded-music sales have long been hindered by widespread music piracy, and rights collections have suffered from adverse legal rulings and a lack of licensing. The live sector struggles with infrastructure shortcomings, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the problems, there are signs that the world’s biggest emerging market is living up to its billing. In the last few years, retail sales of recorded-music have been on the up, and rights collections have benefited greatly from a deal between authors’ society IPRS and Google for music use by YouTube. Live music remains the problem sector, with concert tours and festivals only starting to get back on track.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with India report

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

Spotify continues to bet big on podcasts, but no HiFi tier is a big hole that needs filling
Music streaming service Spotify has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks with service-exclusive podcaster Joe Rogan upsetting a small number of artists with both his own and some of his guests’ controversial views on the COVID-19 vaccine. No exodus of the service by disgruntled artists ensued, despite the best efforts of Neil Young. But for the first time, Spotify is under a bit of pressure. The share price has remained stubbornly low after the service revealed less than impressive guidance for the current quarter and that it would not issue any estimates for the full year. Although Spotify looks to have ridden out the Rogan problems and is continuing to spend millions of dollars on podcasting, the service’s music offering is missing a HiFi tier. Some 12 months ago, Spotify announced that a higher quality option was in the pipeline. But, despite all its main international rivals making high-definition standard, Spotify has a HiFi hole, and it doesn’t look like that hole will be filled anytime soon.

Another out-of-court settlement holds up clarification of the US rights termination process
US country music star Dwight Yoakam has settled his termination notice dispute with WMG. Some 12 months ago, Yoakam filed a lawsuit at a California district court requesting declaratory relief that termination notices sent to the major label were effective. Yoakam was attempting to take advantage of US copyright law that allows authors to reclaim the copyrights to their music under the so-called 35-year law. However, although the country music star submitted the notices as required, WMG and two of its subsidiary labels refused to accept the notices and acknowledge the return of the artist’s rights. Now, the two sides have submitted a short filing to the court confirming that they had reached an agreement in principle to settle the dispute. The out-of-court settlement is the latest in a long line of endings to many cases that have sought to establish the validity of the US rights termination process.

The music business looks to craft its place in the amorphous metaverse
Music in the metaverse has become a hot topic in recent months, with new ventures appearing almost on a weekly basis. It seems that artists will, in the near future, need to feel as comfortable creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as they do going into the studio and recording a few tracks. A batch of startups—sometimes backed by musicians—look set to help artists navigate their way through an ecosystem that, at present, has little real shape or evident direction. But WMG is taking the plunge and seems determined to help fashion a music metaverse that serves it revenue streams. The other music majors would do well to follow suit if they’re to take advantage of what’s forecast to be a lucrative market.

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. India is the second most populous country in the world. The size of the population exceeded 1.4 billion for the first time last year and, according to the most recent United Nations projections, India will overtake global leader China before the end of this decade. However, despite accounting for almost 20% of the world’s population, India’s different music industry sectors have always underperformed. Recorded-music sales have been hindered by widespread music piracy and rights collections have suffered from adverse legal rulings and a lack of licensing, while the live sector struggles from infrastructure shortcomings, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the problems, there are signs that the world’s biggest emerging market is starting to live up to its billing. In the last few years, retail sales of recorded-music have been on the up and rights collections have benefited greatly from a deal between authors’ society IPRS and Google for music use by YouTube. Live music remains the problem sector, with concert tours and festivals struggling to get off the ground due to the recent surge in case numbers.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with India country report

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

BMG pushing the music industry to follow its artist-centric model
BMG is looking to remake the music industry in its image. The recorded-music and music publishing company has created, and is constantly developing, a model that it says better serves the artist and song writers, while also building a thriving business for itself. BMG is taking a stance on discriminatory contracts and streaming royalties. It is hoping that while it is a mere minnow compared to the industry’s leading music companies, its arguments can get traction among artists and, eventually, with the major movers and shakers. The company is now pushing into new operating areas and looking to bring its ethos to different music segments. It remains to be seen whether its practices are able to win over the competition and bring any significant change to the music business.

Court filing reveals Schneider and YouTube entrenched positions in ongoing copyright infringement case
The class action complaint filed at a California district court by composer Maria Schneider and rights management company Pirate Monitor against online video service YouTube and search giant Google in July last year is very much ongoing, according to a case management statement (CMS) presented to the court at the end of January. Schneider/Pirate Monitor filed the claim on the grounds that smaller rights holders are denied access to the online video service’s Content ID system of copyright protection. Denying the use of Content ID means smaller rights holders are forced into trawling YouTube for unlicensed content and then sending individual takedown notices to the only video service via either a web-form, email, or postal mail for each video their searches identify. The court filing accused YouTube of operating a two-tier system with the rights of large creators given preference over the rights of smaller independent creators. The CMS details the current positions of both sides in the case, illustrating an almost total lack of any common ground with little prospect of agreement out of court any time soon.

Investors unimpressed by Spotify’s positive end to the year
Music streaming service Spotify has published its 4Q and full year results for the 2020 financial year. Total revenue for the three-month period was at the top end of the guidance provided with the 3Q results. Also, the number of premium subscribers added in the quarter exceeded the guidance. Spotify ended last year with net 30 million more subscribers than it began the year with. Furthermore, premium ARPU grew in the 4Q20 compared with 3Q20, the first quarter-on-quarter rise since 2Q19. However, despite the positive results, questions over the guidance for 2021 resulted in a big hit to the company’s market cap. Spotify said in its results statement that it faced uncertainty versus prior years due to the unknown duration of the pandemic and its ongoing effect on user, subscriber, and revenue growth. The day the results were published, Spotify’s share price fell 8%.

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. India is the second most populous country in the world. The size of the population is edging ever closer towards 1.4 billion and, according to recent United Nations projections, India will overtake global leader China before the end of this decade. However, despite accounting for almost 20% of the global population, India’s music industry has always underperformed. Recorded-music sales have been stymied by widespread music piracy, rights collections have suffered from adverse legal rulings and a lack of licensing, while the live sector struggles from infrastructure shortcomings. Most recently, the country has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the problems, there are signs that the world’s biggest emerging market is starting to live up to its billing. In the last few years, retail sales of recorded-music have been on the up and rights collections have benefitted greatly by a deal between authors’ society IPRS and Google for music use by YouTube. Live music remains the problem sector with all concert tours and festivals cancelled until the pandemic is under control.

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 India country report

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.

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 India country report

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

Music streaming faces longer-term questions over falling ARPU and rising prices
Recorded music is a growth sector, with record company financials and trade sales results all indicating a very bright future ahead. Forecasts for longer-term growth are all based on the continued uptake of music access services, and despite the inevitable slowdown in the developed world, music streaming in emerging markets is becoming popular, and so it is fair to say that the recovery in recorded music is firmly on track after so many years of decline. There are, though, some issues that require a little consideration, particularly regarding the price of a music subscription. Although the direct single user price is now firmly established and unlikely to change for the foreseeable future, the uptake of the family plan, whereby a single account allows access for six users, and its impact on streaming service revenue and user numbers, is starting to raise a few eyebrows.

Spotify turns a profit on rising subscription numbers and looks to podcasts for future growth
Spotify has published its fourth quarter and full year results, detailing both the company’s financial position and its operating details. Revenue continued to rise at a healthy rate and for the first time, operating income, net income and free cash flow were all positive. Totals for premium subscribers and monthly active users (MAUs) all hit the company’s guidance. Average revenue per user (ARPU) edged up in the quarter compared with the previous three months but was down on the prior-year period because of the popularity of the Family Plan and Student Plan. Spotify confirmed that it extended its footprint in the quarter by 13 markets in Middle East and North Africa, taking the total number of countries where the service is available to 78. The company also said it was in the process of acquiring podcast producers Gimlet Media and Anchor to aid the acceleration in podcast listening.

SiriusXM set to open Pandora’s streaming box with completion of service acquisition
While music streamer Pandora has long been popular with audiences, the company has failed to live up to its early promise on the financial side. The company’s decision to develop a model based on advertising rather than streaming looks to be the wrong one, given the growing appetite among consumers for rental rather than purchased music. However, the recent acquisition of Pandora by satellite radio provider SiriusXM brings new resources in-house, including an experienced executive team that isn’t short on ideas on how to bolster the streamer, as well as how to make it a useful addition to the SiriusXM fold. The satellite radio company has a proven track record in subscription, and the takeover could prove a turning point for Pandora.

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. India’s biggest obstacle to recorded-music growth is piracy. Retailers have always struggled to compete in a market flooded with illegal copies. Moreover, rising internet penetration has brought with it increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. However, developments in the last couple of years have suggested that streaming may be the way out of the piracy problem, but the road to prolonged higher sales and meaningful returns is likely to be a long one.

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 India country report

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

Slowdown in streaming growth rates casts doubt on a return to the glory years
Later this year, global trade body the IFPI is set to report the most positive year for recorded-music sales this century. Audio subscriptions will undoubtedly be the star of the show, and the combination of subscription payments and advertising income will boost streaming to the top of the earnings pile. The continuing vinyl revival will soften the rate of decline in physical format revenue, but it’s a safe bet that audio subscriptions will have become the single biggest revenue source. The rise of the paid subscription from a niche revenue source just a few years ago is impressive, and the year-end record-company results have illustrated the importance of access services to the companies’ bottom lines. There are, however, signs that the big gains in streaming revenue are slowing. While it is certainly much too early to suggest that the access service bubble is anywhere near close to bursting, its rate of inflation is slowing down and could well become a cause for concern in the next year or so.

Positive year-end for Pandora as subscription gains drive revenue growth
Online radio and music subscription service Pandora has reported a positive end to its 2017 financial year. Revenue beat expectations, with higher subscriber earnings more than compensating for a flat year for advertising. Net losses for Pandora more than halved in the final quarter, although there was sizable growth in net losses for the full year. Although listener hours and the number of active listeners in the final quarter fell year on year, the number of paid subscribers increased. During the earnings call, Pandora’s senior executives commented that the proportion of its audience listening through voice-activated devices was growing sharply. Moreover, the company confirmed that plans were well on the way to expand beyond recorded music, with podcasts set to be added to its current range of audio content.

French recorded-music sales see second consecutive year of growth
French music trade association SNEP has reported a second straight year of growth for trade earnings from recorded-music sales. The rise marked only the third time in the last 10 years that trade sales have registered an uptick. Subscriptions and ad-supported streaming were the two growth sectors with sales of single track and album downloads falling sharply. In a repeat of 2016, the overall performance was buoyed by a modest dip in trade earnings from physical format sales with digital more than offsetting the physical losses. However, physical formats still accounted for the majority of trade revenue, and despite the streaming gains, concerns remain over the medium-term prospects for the French recorded-music sector should the rate of decline in CD album sales begin to accelerate.

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. India is one of a small number of countries often tagged as an emerging market with great potential to become a major market of the future. With the population ending last year at more than 1.3 billion and an economy that is growing steadily, tapping into what is a market ripe for exploitation is always high on the recorded-music industry’s list of priorities. However, despite the promise, India has so far failed to live up to its emerging tag, with positive results one year followed by poor sales the next. The biggest problem for the country is piracy. Retailers have always struggled to compete in a market flooded with illegal copies. Moreover, rising internet penetration brought with it increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. Developments in the last year or so have suggested that streaming may be the way out of the piracy problem, but the road to prolonged higher sales and meaningful returns is likely to be a long one.

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 India country report

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

Pay-monthly bundle opportunities for recorded music are expanding
Offering customers who buy one product a discount on another is a practice the retail sector has engaged in for decades. “Buy one, get one free” and “three for the price of two” are just two retail discounting terms most people are familiar with. Bricks-and-mortar sellers of music and other entertainment products have for a long time happily grouped together hard formats into multimedia bundles in an effort to boost sales, and this practice has been a central feature of most online retail sites. More recently, the rise of the fixed regular fee for access to music has given streaming services and communications providers, both of which charge for their services on a monthly basis, the opportunity to combine their offerings. However, consumers also pay monthly for many other financial necessities and household utilities. Although there might seem to be little connection between the likes of Deezer and Spotify and energy or water suppliers, the willingness of some services and suppliers to experiment suggests that the distribution of recorded music is set to experience another major evolution.

French recorded-music sales have an encouraging year, but medium-term concerns remain
French music trade association SNEP has reported a rise in trade earnings from recorded-music sales. Total trade income increased year-on-year, marking only the second time in the last 10 years that sales registered an uptick. Subscriptions and ad-supported streaming were the two growth sectors, with sales of single track and album downloads down sharply. The overall performance was buoyed by a modest dip in trade earnings from physical format sales, with digital more than offsetting the physical losses. However, physical formats still accounted for the majority of trade revenue, and there remains concerns over the medium-term prospects for the French recorded-music sector should the rate of decline in CD album sales begin to accelerate.

Graduated response and litigation not enough in the ongoing battle against music piracy
Graduated-response mechanisms appeared to have had their day, as evidenced by the recent closure of a number of programs, most notably in the US. However, content owners and ISPs have now joined forces to roll out a warning-notice project in the UK, with a view to steering primarily young demographics away from illegal file-sharing websites and toward legitimate sources. The efficacy of graduated response in deterring music piracy – as well as in promoting the use of rights-protected content – has always been contested. As pirates turn to innovative ways of illicitly disseminating music, the industry needs to come up with new responses to the threat.

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. India’s music industry is regularly grouped together with those of a small number of countries that for years have underperformed but that offer great potential to become major markets of the future. With the country accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s population and with an economy that is growing steadily, tapping into what is a market ripe for exploitation is high on the recorded-music industry’s list of priorities. However, India has yet to live up to the promise of its “emerging” label, with favorable results one year followed by poor sales the next. Arguably the biggest problem for the country is piracy. Retailers have always struggled to compete in a market flooded with illegal copies. Moreover, rising internet penetration has brought with it increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. There is some hope that streaming will be the way out of the piracy problem, but the road to greater sales and meaningful returns is likely to be a long one.

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