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.

CMA explains decision not to conduct market investigation into UK music streaming
The UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), decided earlier this year not to conduct a full market investigation into the music industry and, in particular, music streaming. In January, the CMA published a market study notice, confirming that it was examining the supply of music to consumers and the provision of services connected with the supply of music to consumers, to assess whether both operated in the full interests of music users. As part of the market study, the CMA had a six-month deadline to decide whether to launch a more detailed investigation. Choosing not to do so, the CMA noted that the recorded-music sector was concentrated, with three major labels dominating, but concluded that issues negatively affecting artists in the UK were driven by factors that were unrelated to the high degree of concentration. Now, the authority has published a full report detailing its reasons for not conducting a more detailed study. The CMA said that after thorough consideration, it was unlikely that the problems cited by some industry stakeholders were competition created, and a competition intervention would be unlikely to improve the situation.

Live music returns with a new set of postpandemic problems
The two music industry sectors of live and recorded have operated with differing fortunes over the last 20 years or so. The decline of recorded-music sales for much of the previous decade contrasted with growth in live sales. The uptake of streaming returned the good times to record companies, and both recorded and live experienced a period of growth. However, while spending on recorded-music was largely unaffected by COVID-19, the pandemic put paid to almost all concerts and in-person music performances in most parts of the world for almost two years. While the live sector is now firmly back up and running, and the world’s biggest promoters are reporting positive financial results, the companies’ share price performances this year have been less than impressive, with world events and the cost-of-living crisis weighing heavily on investors’ minds.

Deutsche Grammophon set to go head-to-head with Apple Music on classical streaming
Deutsche Grammophon has made a major digital play with last month’s launch of an upgraded classical music audio and video service that boasts high-fidelity streaming capabilities. However, while the company has a strong brand able to attract the attention of the genre’s fastidious fans, it is going up against competition from a range of impressive startups. Also in the wings is Apple Music, which is in the throes of developing a dedicated classical music streaming platform built on its acquisition of leading classical audio streamer Primephonic. However, Apple Music has work to do in making the prospective Apple Music Classical a serious contender, not least in adding a live-streamed video offering to match those already in the marketplace.

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. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian music industry had experienced a prolonged period of growth. Recorded-music sales had registered consecutive annual increases, with growing numbers of consumers happy to stream music rather than own it. Authors’ rights collections were also on the up, and ticket sales for live music events were topping record levels. However, the COVID-19 pandemic touched all the country’s music sectors, some significantly more so than others. Recorded-music sales weathered the storm and have now registered growth for seven consecutive years. Collections for APRA AMCOS also maintained consistent annual increases, with the year to June setting a new record. However, live music suffered a major dip, as revenue and attendance fell sharply. Moreover, although concerns over COVID-19 are now lessening, economic and financial problems are slowing the sector’s recovery.

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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.

CISAC reports a return to collection growth, with digital gains offsetting the performance shortfall
The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has published its latest annual report on global creators’ collections. Combined revenue for creators of music, audiovisual works, visual arts, drama, and literature returned to growth last year after suffering the first annual decrease in 2020 since 2013. After topping the €10bn ($11.6bn) mark for the first time in 2019, collections fell back below the milestone the following year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on performance-based revenue sources. Despite higher collections in 2021, the total remained below the prepandemic high. CISAC said the report illustrated the disastrous impact of the two-year lockdown on live and public performance income, the potential for further digital growth, and the urgent need for action to unlock more value for creators in the streaming market. SACEM remained the leading collective management organization (CMO) in revenue terms, ahead of the two US CMOs BMI and ASCAP.

Livestreamed music demonstrates its pulling power and potential
Livestreamed music clearly came into its own during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the segment has become a multibillion-dollar business able to boast large audiences. Audio streamers are seeing the value of adding video performances to their offerings and are leaning on live concerts both as a marketing tool (Amazon Music and Apple Music) and as a new revenue stream (Deezer). There’s clearly an opportunity to bundle these concerts into audio subscriptions and broader entertainment packages. However, such events need to be well resourced to ensure that only high-level productions appear on fans’ screens if the take-up of livestreams is to continue.

Defense does pay off: Copyright lawsuits in the music industry
Music plagiarism and the question of whether an artist or songwriter has copied a previously recorded track for the benefit of their own is an issue that seems to have become more commonplace in the last few years. The practice of copying is probably no more frequent now than at any other stage in musical history. However, the number of challenges against the originality of musical works, some of which have sold several million copies and have been streamed many millions more times, appears to have grown. Ed Sheeran is one artist who has been involved in more than his fair share of copying claims. Oliver Lock and Owen O’Rorke at the law firm Farrer & Co kindly provided Music & Copyright with their thoughts on the latest claim against the artist and the wider issues concerning music copyright disputes.

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 Spain music industry report. Spain is one of Europe’s mid-tier music markets. The country’s recorded-music sector was one of the region’s worst hit by digital piracy after the turn of the century. Although piracy levels still remain stubbornly high in the country, spending on recorded-music has recovered somewhat. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the physical sector, with many brick-and-mortar retailers forced to close for long periods as part of government efforts to limit the spread of the virus, streaming gains boosted the overall sales total. Physical sales registered a significant bounce back in 2021 but remained flat in the first six months of this year, although the renaissance for vinyl continued apace. UMG maintained its position as the biggest music company despite losing share to second-placed SME for the second consecutive year. Collections for authors’ society SGAE returned to growth last year after suffering a sharp dip in 2020. Moreover, Spain’s live sector, which took a massive hit from virus restrictions in 2020, registered a modest uptick in sales. However, spending on tickets remains a long way short of prepandemic levels.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Italy country report

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

Digital gains are set to boost music revenue, but publishing growth is on track to outshine recorded-music
All the world’s major recorded-music markets and one or two other smaller ones have published midyear trade figures. Music & Copyright’s annual assessment of the results suggests global recorded-music trade earnings from the sale of physical and digital recorded-music and income from music access services are set to register an eighth straight year of growth. However, the size of the rise is expected to be around half the growth rate seen last year. Music publishing is forecast to experience a bumper year, with global revenue expected to hit record levels. All the main publishing revenue streams will increase, but digital will be the star performer. Also, performance income will return to growth after three consecutive years of decline.

Polish authors’ society ZAiKS reports a year of hope in challenging times
Polish authors’ society ZAiKS has confirmed a return to growth in collections having reported its first fall in rights receipts in 2020 for five years. Total revenue in that year suffered from the effects of the government’s efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with performance-based income streams hit the hardest. While the virus still impacted some collection sources, public performance receipts rose sharply, with big increases in revenue from online and private copying. Broadcasting income was up year on year, although the revenue source as a share of total receipts was down slightly. Digital registered another jump in collections, with income benefiting from the continued rise in the popularity of streaming in Poland. Distributions took a tumble, while costs were flat and the society’s administration rate was down.

The time is right for music to make its gaming play
The music business is becoming ever more enmeshed with the world of gaming. One of the leading protagonists is Amazon through its Amazon Music and Twitch gaming properties that the e-commerce and online giant is increasingly deploying as part of its cross-entertainment strategy. On the gaming side, Epic Games’ Fortnite title has been something of a pioneer in bringing music performances to large audiences of gamers—and it has ambitious plans to remain on the front line. Also in the mix is Spotify, which this year became the first music streamer to make moves on Fortnite. What’s needed now is something more innovative than the in-game concert—and immersive customization could be the vital component here.

Italy country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Italy music industry report. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy’s recorded-music sector had experienced an erratic few years, largely due to the lingering dominance of physical formats. However, digital trade sales overtook physical formats in 2018, with a sharp rise in subscription sales more than offsetting falls in CD album sales and vinyl. The pattern of sales continued into 2019, but the toll on physical formats and performance rights in 2020 resulted in a flat year overall. Last year saw sales bounce back strongly, and so far this year, the gains from streaming and viny have continued. UMG remains the clear leader in market share terms, ahead of SME and WMG. All the majors took share from the independent sector. After suffering a sharp fall in collections in 2020, revenue for the local authors’ society SIAE returned to growth in 2021. However, the total remains a long way short of prepandemic levels. Ticket sales to live music events picked up in 2021, but it will take another few years before sales top the record highs of 2019.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Sweden country report

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

Digital music oldie Napster looking to the metaverse for a reawakening
Music industry disruptor Napster is reinventing itself once more, and this time it’s taking aim at the metaverse. The one-time illicit filesharing pioneer turned digital music company now has new financial backers and believes it can parlay its music tech experience into Web3 success. Napster’s first meta effort will involve bringing blockchain and tokenization technology to its streaming product before pushing into yet-to-be-developed offerings. The company can boast digital music expertise and has brought onboard Web3 know-how, so it may well find a space in the metaverse. However, it is up against some pretty stiff, well-resourced competition and could be severely outgunned by tech’s big players.

Return to collection growth for Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS
Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS has reported a return to growth for collections after registering the first fall in rights receipts since 2015. The dip in 2020 was caused by restrictions brought in by the government on the live, hospitality, and retail sectors to try and limit the spread of COVID-19. Public performance was hardest hit. However, the gradual lifting of restrictions last year resulted in the sector’s revenue stabilizing. Private copying, the biggest income source for the society, returned to growth after suffering a decline in the prior year. Higher royalty income from sales of desktop and laptop computers largely offset a dip in collections from mobile phones. Broadcast revenue benefited from new agreements with commercial TV broadcasters. Digital income almost trebled, with backdated collections from music streaming services boosting the total. However, digital remains a minor revenue source for ARTISJUS members.

Partial victory for UMG in TikTok copyright infringement claims against Bang Energy drink maker
UMG and a number of its recorded-music and music publishing subsidiaries have been granted a partial victory in their copyright infringement claim against the producer and owner of the drinks brand Bang Energy. The case concerned the use of UMG-owned musical works in videos produced by social media influencers promoting Bang Energy that were posted on the short video service TikTok. A Florida district court has decided that the drinks brand owner had committed direct copyright infringement and dismissed claims that the license held by TikTok for music use in posted videos covered the influencers’ music use. However, claims for contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement were not granted. Although UMG proved to the court that the drinks company could have stopped the influencers using copyright-protected music, the music major failed to provide evidence of any financial benefit.

Sweden country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Sweden music industry report. As home to the world’s biggest on-demand audio subscription service Spotify, Sweden is considered one of the world’s most progressive recorded-music markets. The country’s digital share of combined physical and digital formats and service trade sales exceeded 93% last year (see Table 1), with audio and video streaming registering positive gains. Physical sales also increased, with a sharp rise in trade income from CDs. In line with the buoyancy of recorded-music sales, rights collections and live music spending enjoyed a positive 2021 after suffering declines in 2020 from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. STIM, SAMI, and Copyswede all registered growth in collections. Live was the worst-hit music industry sector as restrictions imposed by the government to limit the spread of the virus effectively shuttered concert tours and festivals. Growth returned in 2021, although it will take a few years for ticket sales to return to prepandemic levels.

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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.

Global music market set to double in value, with streaming and live the big growth providers
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has published its latest set of forecasts for the global music industry. In what can only be described as eyewatering numbers, the bank is expecting major growth for the recorded-music, music publishing, and live music sectors. Forecasts for the global total in all years have been raised from the previous estimations published 12 months ago. Streaming gains are set to boost the recorded-music and publishing totals, with growth driven by volume, price, and emerging platforms. Despite the current economic problems, Goldman Sachs believes music streaming will be able to weather any downturn. The bank also sees the digital distribution landscape as competitive, with no one service dominating. Although Spotify is the global leader, the Swedish service is set to lose market share to services currently on the up, such as YouTube Music and Tencent Music Entertainment. Live music is set for a major bounce back after almost two years of disruption, with total revenue for the sector this year almost back to prepandemic levels.

Erratic annual performance for SABAM continues, with growth at home but declining overseas income
Belgian authors’ society SABAM has reported a return to growth for collections, with several of the performance-based revenue streams improving after a year beset by COVID-19 restrictions and sector closures. Broadcasting income increased, but it was background music that recorded the biggest bounce back as receipts rose sharply. Despite the popularity of music streaming in Belgium, digital income was down. However, the dip was caused by an adjustment to previous years’ income accounted for in 2021. Live suffered a second year of tumbling collections, although the rate of decline slowed significantly. Mechanicals benefited from physical formats’ sharp rise in sales. However, the time gap between money in and money out meant distributions were down last year, as payments were based on collections made in the first year of the pandemic.

DIY music needs a dose of creativity, both from artists and distributors
The withdrawal from the do-it-yourself (DIY) music space by two music business big hitters could be taken as a sign that the independent recorded-music scene is flagging. That’s not the case, however, with the likes of TuneCore, DistroKid, and CD Baby still offering what are proving to be essential platforms for up-and-coming artists. And recent changes to pricing should make it easier for musicians to develop new release strategies that make the most of their recorded output. However, it would be great to see these services create more new features that could squeeze greater value out of recordings, as it remains just as difficult for most unsigned artists to make a living from their music.

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. Of all the world’s leading recorded-music markets, Japan has arguably been the most erratic, with some sizable differences in annual performance. Looking back over the last 10 years or so, trade revenue from recorded-music sales has been inconsistent, with one or two years of growth followed by a couple of years of decline. However, despite record company income from physical formats continuing to be unpredictable, the digital sector has stabilized. Moreover, following a lengthy reliance on downloads, the subscription sector now generates around three quarters of the total digital revenue for the local industry.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Canada country report

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

US songwriters edging closer to an end to the 15-year physical mechanical rates freeze
UMG, SME, and WMG along with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) have submitted a joint motion to the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) agreeing on the mechanical rates payable on the sale of physical recorded-music products, permanent downloads, ringtones, and music bundles (subpart B configurations) for the five years between 2023 and 2027. Earlier this year, the CRB judges had withdrawn their backing of a previous agreement between the music companies and rights holder groups following criticism that the freezing of current rates was unfair. The CRB judges called on industry stakeholders to either come together and forge a new agreement or face long, drawn-out, expensive litigation. Although the new motion will see rates increase 32%, plenty of other issues aside from the rate rise remain unresolved.

Annual revenue for SME tops the JPY1tn mark for the first time
Sony Corp. has reported a good end to the 2021 financial year for its music division SME. Recorded-music and music publishing sales were up year-on-year in 4Q21 with gains for the two segments more than offsetting a dip in revenue for visual media and platform. For the full year, improved recorded-music and publishing income boosted SME sales past the JPY1tn ($7.7bn) mark for the first time. Streaming drove the recorded-music total in the quarter and full year with higher sales more than offsetting declines in sales of physical formats and downloads. Streaming was also the publishing mainstay although “other” publishing revenue registered a much more positive year than in the prior 12 months. Income for the third division, visual media and platform, was down in the quarter and full year with the prior year periods boosted by the massive success of the anime movie Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba–Mugen Train.

Deezer comes to market as it takes on music rivals with streaming allies
Deezer has been in the music streaming business a long time but is regarded as something of a second-tier provider in comparison with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. The company is now set to get a stock exchange listing along with large sums of money to help it grow. It’s too late for Deezer to make it big across a broad swathe of markets, so it needs to cherry-pick and decide where there’s real opportunity to make a mark. To date, it has shown it can do this when it joins forces with a strong local partner, and there’s no reason to believe that this strategy can’t deliver going forward. Also, Deezer has already shown commitment to the fast-growing livestreaming sector and it’s here where the brand has the chance to cut through and perhaps become a major operator.

Canada country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Canada music industry report. Canada is one of the world’s bigger music markets. Although an ever-present in the top 10, the country has slipped a couple of places in recent years, with South Korea and China registering higher gains in trade sales. Last year, however, Canada maintained its position as the eighth-biggest recorded-music market, extending its lead slightly over ninth-placed Australia for the second year in a row. Recorded-music consumption levels were up in 2021, along with trade sales. Streaming registered healthy growth, along with sales of vinyl. Performance rights were down for the second year in a row as the sector continues to suffer the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the third consecutive year, UMG and SME enhanced their market share lead over WMG and the independents. SOCAN is yet to publish full collection results for 2021. However, preliminary estimates by the authors’ society show revenue from licensed music set a new record, beating the previous high set in 2019. After suffering a major downturn, Canada’s live sector has started on the long road to recovery. Estimates suggest it will take several years for ticket sales to return to prepandemic levels.

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New issue of Music & Copyright

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

Streaming gains forecast to take recorded-music sales to new highs
Omdia has updated its forecasts for retail sales of recorded-music. In line with previous estimates, the recorded-music sector is firmly a growth market and Omdia expects sales in each of the years up to and including 2026 to rise. By the end of the forecast period, retail sales will have grown for 12 consecutive years. However, although the global total will top the record high set in the late 1990s, a straight comparison is not strictly accurate given that recent results include performance rights and synchronization and 20+ years of inflation have not been accounted for. Including annual price rises, global sales are still short of setting a record. Subscriptions are the single biggest recorded-music category and will generate close to 70% of global revenue by the end of the forecast period. Furthermore, income from advertising will overtake spending on physical formats in 2024. China will replace France in the top five market listing this year and go on to supplant Germany in 2026.

Global, recorded-music retail sales by individual source, 2021–26 Source: Omdia

CJEU rules Article 17 of the copyright directive is in line with fundamental rights
The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has rejected claims by the Polish government that Article 17 of the European Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was not compatible with freedom of expression and information detailed in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter). The Polish government had claimed that making it necessary for service providers to carry out automatic filtering of content uploaded by users and therefore to introduce preventative control mechanisms in order to prevent future uploads of protective works, undermined the essence of freedom of expression and information. The government also said the Article 17 of the Directive did not comply with the requirement that limitations imposed on that right be proportional and necessary. However, the court has decided that the obligation on online content-sharing service providers (OCSSPs), to review uploaded content before it is made available, is accompanied by the necessary safeguards to ensure that that obligation is compatible with freedom of expression and information.

The recorded music business sees value in the metaverse, podcasting, film, and more
The metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are exerting a strong pull on the recorded-music business, whose denizens are placing bets on cutting-edge Web3 technologies and initiatives becoming major money spinners. Right now, artist avatars, digital collectibles, virtual landgrabs, and even blockchain-based memories, are proving irresistible investments. Back in the real world, record companies are busy developing their podcasting capabilities, while extending into film and TV productions and expanding their health and fitness activities. However, although all these may well have strong potential as revenue drivers, music companies need to ensure that they leverage their core competences to get the maximum out of any new ventures.

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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 Japan country report

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

US rights holders square up to radio sector in new push to end the performance right anomaly
New legislation aimed at forcing AM/FM radio broadcasters in the US to pay performance royalties to producers and performers has been introduced in Congress. The bipartisan American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) would line up terrestrial broadcasters alongside non-interactive online services which do pay a performance right. The US is unique in the industrialized world for not having a radio broadcast performance right for producers and performers. Previous efforts at legislating on the matter have failed, and despite radio’s role in promoting albums sales and streams waning, the strength of the radio lobby along with US politicians’ unwillingness to upset station owners means the proponents of the latest attempt are unlikely to succeed.

BUMA/STEMRA planning for a second tough year as collections take a hit from the pandemic
BUMA and STEMRA are expecting another difficult year for rights collections in the Netherlands with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic expected to have a negative impact on revenue for the second year in a row. Restrictions placed on consumer movements and the shuttering of the live sector meant combined collections for the societies were down in 2020. However, size of the dip was not as great as first thought. Moreover, although receipts for BUMA fell, STEMRA revenue was up because of new licensing deals and back payments. Distributions also took a hit and are expected to be down again this year. Backdated private copying remuneration for STEMRA is likely to soften the size of the payment decline.

Record companies set their music sights on the podcast format
Stories built around music creation are big on podcasts right now, with leading record companies picking up on the trend to develop content that will build engagement with their artists. Moreover, tie-ups have become the order of the day to ensure that premium music-based product gets made. WMG recently joined forces with Spotify, while SME has gone down the acquisition route to get its hands-on production expertise. Podcast consumption and advertising spend are on the up, so the rewards are there for the podcasts that cut through, while branded content is another promising revenue path. However, podcasts could do with more creativity, and maybe a dash of musical fiction could be the thing to up their narrative pull.

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. Of all the world’s leading recorded-music markets, Japan has been the most erratic with some sizable differences in annual performance. Looking back over the last decade, total trade revenue from recorded-music sales has been inconsistent with one or two years of growth followed by a couple of years of decline. However, despite record company income from physical formats continuing to be unpredictable, the digital sector has stabilized. Moreover, following a lengthy reliance on downloads, the subscription sector now generates more than two thirds of the total digital revenue for the local industry.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with Brazil country report

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

European Court of Justice rules on ageing cases with outdated copyright legislation
Despite the liability of online platforms changing in Europe following the passing of the copyright directive in 2019, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has made a ruling based on years old legislation in two long-running joined cases referred to the Court by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice). The German court asked for clarification on the position of online video service YouTube and the upload and file hosting platform Uploaded with regards to the uploading of protected works by users to the services. The CJEU decided that under the old EU law, YouTube and Uploaded were not directly liable for any illegal uploads as they only acted as intermediary services. Also, the services were eligible for exemption from liability as they played no active role in the uploaded contents’ distribution.

Across the board fall in collections for Swedish authors’ society STIM
Swedish authors’ society STIM has reported a dip in rights receipts and distributable revenue for last year. The spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions brought in by the government to contain the virus took their toll on collections. Back payments and adjustments to prior year income totals also affected the overall performance. Actual online and new media service receipts were down last year, but STIM noted in its annual report that the sector registered underlying growth. Live music suffered the biggest decline with festivals and tours cancelled for most of last year. Furthermore, the slow return to live performance will dent live collections for this year also. Overseas income registered a similar rate of decline to domestic collections. However, payment levels from sister societies are likely to get worse before they get better due to administration and processing delays.

Uncertainty and confusion reigns as the live sector gears up to global restart
Live music businesses around the world are facing up to another tough year with new variants of the COVID-19 virus threatening to push up infection rates. Many festivals planned for the northern-hemisphere summer are on a knife edge as governments are forced to react to fast-changing conditions. Furthermore, with insurance policies highly unlikely to provide financial cover, a good number of events may well face the challenge of having to cling on until 2022 before they can once again stage full-blown live experiences. A good number of live-music events are insisting that fans are either vaccinated or can show negative test results, though that strategy has not gone down well with anti-vaccination/lockdown activists, especially in the US, which is another concern for organizers. To survive, the sector really needs government support, something that has so far been badly lacking in a number of markets.

Brazil country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Brazil music industry report. Following two consecutive years of contraction, retail sales of recorded-music in Brazil have risen for four years in a row. Given the impact of COVID-19 on performance rights and synchronization, all the growth in 2020 came from streaming. Umbrella rights organization ECAD reported a fall in collections with the virus taking a bite out of public performance revenue. Distributions were also down year-on-year. Just how bad COVID-19 has been on the live sector in Brazil is evident in the financial results of local events promoter Time For Fun. The shutdown of live performance caused a collapse in revenue last year with little prospect of a turnaround in fortunes any time soon.

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