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.

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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.

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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