Category: Intellectual property

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.

Strong CD sales boost WMG earnings in 1Q15
WMG has reported earnings details for the first quarter of 2015, the second in its 2015 financial year. Total revenue grew year-on-year at both current and constant exchange rates. The company’s recorded music sector had a good three months with earnings from physical formats outshining digital music income. CD albums by Kid Rock and Led Zeppelin led the physical format improvement. Warner Chappell, in contrast, suffered a second consecutive quarter of falling revenue at reported rates, although earnings were up at constant exchange rates.

New battle lines are drawn in the Blurred Lines song plagiarism case
Authors and performers Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford Harris Jr have filed a motion at a California district court requesting a retrial in the case that found Thicke and Williams guilty of copying the Marvin Gaye track Got to Give it Up in the creation of the top-selling track Blurred Lines. The case resulted in a damages award of $7.4m to the estate of Marvin Gaye for copyright infringement. In addition to a request by the artists for a new trial, the siblings of Gaye have filed counter-claim motions calling for an injunction to prevent further distribution of Blurred Lines and a declaration that the record companies and distributors involved in the sale and distribution of the offending track should be held accountable for copyright infringement.

Big data powering up music industry marketing
In what has become a fragmented landscape, music executives are increasingly on the lookout for more intelligence. That is why many are turning to big data to gain a better understanding of consumers and their music tastes. The problem the music industry has is that leading data analytics brains and capabilities tend not to be domiciled in record companies and have to be brought into the fold in some way. The result is an increasing number of music-data partnerships, and even big data-driven acquisitions. The likelihood is there will be more of that kind of activity in the future as record companies and events operators look to gain more intelligence on consumers so that they can improve their marketing efforts

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. Although China is often described as a music market in the midst of development and one that offers great potential for growth, the country regularly disappoints and has consistently failed to live up to its billing. However, there are now glimmers of hope that China may just be starting to deliver results. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue was up in 2014 with streaming the big driver of growth. 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, retailers and music services are still competing against a wealth of unlicensed services. Moreover, although royalty collections are growing, given the size of the population, per-capita earning rates for all sectors of the music industry are still among the lowest in the world.

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 global market share details

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

Recorded music market share gains for WMG in 2014, Sony/ATV is the publishing leader
The annual survey by Ovum publication Music & Copyright of the recorded music and music publishing sectors has revealed changes in global market shares of the three major music groups. Recorded music leader UMG lost market share in 2014, mainly as a result of the sale of the Parlophone Label Group (PLG) to WMG in 2013, which formed part of EMI Recorded Music acquisition requirements. UMG’s loss was WMG’s gain and the smallest of the three majors narrowed the gap on second-placed SME. Sony/ATV held its lead in music publishing, but the collective share of the independent publishing sector was the highest overall. Continue reading

ISPs, the UK government and ads on pirate music sites

pirate2The world of online advertising is a pretty complex business. Media agencies buy advertising space on behalf of clients through ad exchanges with automated processes matching advertisers’ criteria to inventory offered by online publishers. This enables advertisers to gain placements and reach their target audience across a much broader selection of websites. From the loading of a web page to an ad being displayed, an auction has taken place and the winner’s ad is presented, all in just a few milliseconds. However, the process can sometimes result in ads showing up on sites they shouldn’t. Some brands take steps to avoid this and others act quickly when notified. But some don’t, and that is a big problem for content rights holders.

Big brand ads funding pirate music sites
Ovum has just published Music & Copyright’s fourth annual survey of ads on pirate music sites. This time around, the survey focused on the popular site Hulkshare and a search for the Rita Ora track Will Never Let You Down. Big name brands with ads found on the site included Lloyds Bank, Eurostar, Ford and Scottish Power. However, most troubling from UK rights holders’ point of view was the presence of so many ads for ISPs and mobile operators. Even an ad from a UK government department made it onto the site. Continue reading

Music & Copyright is 500 today

500Today is a big day for all of us at Music & Copyright as we have just published our 500th issue. When the first issue was put together back in September 1992, little did we think that Music & Copyright would still be as popular with subscribers as it is today. A lot has changed in the recorded-music and music publishing sectors over the last 22 years or so, but one thing has remained unmoved, and that is the importance of copyright.

Challenges to rights holders to maintain the value of copyright in an increasingly digital world have meant changes to the way rights are protected and administered. The launch of new digital-music services and means of distributing recorded-music has seen rights administration evolve at national, regional and global levels. However, central to this evolution has been ensuring that rights holders are rewarded for their creative work.

Looking back at some of the early editions of Music & Copyright, most of the names have either long since left the music industry or been swallowed up as part of industry consolidation. However, the headlines for several stories resonate closely with happenings today. For example, the first issue led with the headline European tape levy income may top US$600 million a year and described how the European Commission was examining proposals to protect private copying remuneration. Fast forward to last week and we see that the European Parliament voted in favor of new proposals to modernize the current private copying remuneration system. Other articles in the latest issue also resonate with days gone by with format changes impacting on sales figures and record company consolidation affecting financial results.

As we now look forward to the next 500 issues, I hope Music & Copyright is still delivering the right balance of news and views and that its own evolution has improved the news service. Certainly our feedback since I became editor five years ago (has it really been that long?) would suggest it has.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Should this website be allowed to have a Facebook profile?

FacebookEarlier this month Music & Copyright conducted its third annual survey of unauthorized music download sites. Like last year and the year before, advertising for a large number of blue-chip companies and media-content services was found on several of the sites surveyed. Most of the companies contacted by Music & Copyright were fairly oblivious to the fact that their ads appeared alongside promotions for “Russian wives” and “Asian babes.” None of the companies placed the ads on the websites, but were displayed through the use of blind advertising networks.

The current issue of Music & Copyright gives all the details on which companies were the worst offenders and which were doing their best to control advertising overspill. But what was interesting this time around was the realization of the problem rights holders face when trying to have content removed from unauthorized music download sites and the support these sites receive from the big social networks. Continue reading

Calls for a new look at the DMCA safe harbor protection as music companies head back to court in battle against MP3tunes

Talking to rights holders in the run up to the CISAC World Creators Summit in Washington, it seems that few agree that any country has the right balance between certain technology companies’ use of music and the abuse of copyright. Google has been on the receiving end of several legal actions by a number of rights holders that have claimed its online video service YouTube has either not acted quickly enough to remove content when asked, or is using content that it has no license for. Ever-troubling for rights holders is the fact that it is their responsibility to check whether music is being used correctly and not the responsibility of the digital-music service. Continue reading

Has the music industry forgiven Justin Timberlake for his MySpace links and accusations of artist exploitation?

myspace_2452447bDepending on where a musician sits in the music industry value chain, a top-10 list of what’s most important to an unsigned artist will differ greatly to one compiled by a million-album seller. Scratching a living out of music is something tens of thousands of musicians do every day. Although the Internet has opened up the promotion and distribution of music to anyone with a computer, it has also made selling music a lot more difficult as almost every single release in a digital-music store is available for free somewhere online. Continue reading