Category: Music industry

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.

Streaming the case to Vivendi for a UMG sell-off
Vivendi investor and hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management (PSAM) has presented a case to Vivendi to spin off UMG and create a stand-alone company. According to PSAM, UMG would benefit from operational and structural advantages as an independent company. Included in its presentation are forecasts for the global music sector, in particular, some fairly optimistic projections for the growth of streaming. PSAM suggests that an independent UMG would become an attractive strategic acquisition target for companies with digital streaming platforms since royalties and performance rights capture 50–70% of digital streaming revenue. PSAM bases its revenue projections on a big rise in the installed base of smartphones, which the hedge fund claims will act as a catalyst for the transformation of the recorded music sector.

19 Recordings fends off SME’s dismissal motion in royalties dispute
Recorded music major SME has failed in a bid to have a case brought against it by the record company 19 Recordings dismissed. A New York federal court judge ruled in March that several of the claims brought by 19 Recordings should be heard at trial. SME was accused by 19 Recordings in February 2014 of underpaying royalties amounting to $7m earned by a number of contestants on the TV show American Idol including Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Carrie Underwood. 19 Recordings, which is the subsidiary record company of 19 Entertainment, the creator of the show, signed the contestants to exclusive recording agreements and licensed the winners and runners up to SME to exploit their music releases. SME filed a motion in June to dismiss all the claims, which were uncovered by 19 Recordings after an audit of SME’s accounts.

Mixed fortunes for the major music groups in 2014
All of the major music companies have now published their financial details for 2014. A comparison of their respective performances reveals differing fortunes for the three in terms of earnings from recorded music and music publishing sales. Consolidation in the two sectors and exchange-rate fluctuations has greatly muddied the year-on-year performance waters in the last couple of years. When these distortions are factored in, the financial details suggest that, in group terms, SME and WMG made gains in 2014 while UMG suffered a decline. Recorded music earnings for UMG came under pressure last year. However, the global leader can draw some relief from a good performance from its publishing division UMPG.

Streamers look for pole position in in-car entertainment
Apple is building a very strong presence in in-car entertainment via its iOS-based CarPlay system, with that position set to be bolstered by the imminent launch of a new – and likely to be very competitive – music streaming service. The company, along with rivals like Pandora and Google, has been busy ensuring that its music gets onto vehicle dashboards to take advantage of the forecast growth of in-car entertainment consumption likely to come with the surge in production of connected vehicles. However, streamed music will not have everything its own way as it still has work to do to convince consumers to give up on a very popular incumbent in the shape of much-loved AM/FM radio, while services need to be much easier to use than they are at present if they are to gain mass acceptance.

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 profile. Canada experienced a second consecutive year of recorded music contraction in 2014. Trade revenue figures will be published by the IFPI later this month, but, according to Nielsen SoundScan, unit sales of recorded music were down. Streaming gains are expected to have reduced the rate of contraction in trade revenue in 2014 compared with 2013 and continued gains could well result in growth in 2015. Preliminary details published by authors’ society SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the second year in a row. Canada’s live music industry also had a good 2014.

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

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

Music subscription services face a difficult balancing act between price and value

Music is unquestionably important to most people’s lives, regardless of where they are in the world. Although not everyone spends money on recorded music or buys tickets to a gig or festival, a very high percentage of people listen to music on the radio at home or in their car. Restaurants, shops, and bars use music to create a particular ambience to encourage people to either relax or feel enlivened to improve their customers’ experience.

Music is essential and important
Just how important music is to consumers was one of the many questions included in a consumer survey conducted by Music & Copyright publisher Ovum in July. Over a three-week period, 15,000+ consumers across 15 countries were asked a number of questions about their media use. In terms of importance, music was considered essential by 42% of respondents, and important by a further 43%.

Although listening to music was less important than browsing the Internet and reading the news, it was considered more essential that interacting on social media and watching TV. Only 16% of respondents said listening to music was unimportant. 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

Pop still the biggest music genre, but retail sales slide 7.6% in 2013

New research published by the Ovum news service Music & Copyright reveals that the two most popular music genres in terms of retail sales in the world are pop and rock. According to the annual genre study conducted by Music & Copyright, consumer spending on the two genres accounted for 56.7% of total spending in 2013. Retail sales of pop music stood at $6.8bn, and retail sales of rock music totaled $5.8bn (see Figure 1).

Genre 1 2014

Although the two genres dominate global recorded-music sales, there were differences in their performance last year. Sales of pop music slid 7.6%, while the rock-music decline was 3.1%. Dance music and rap/hip-hop were the only two genres to see growth in retail sales: Dance sales increased 4%, to $1.3bn, while rap/hip-hop sales rose 1.4%, to $1.2bn. Jazz was the biggest loser for the second consecutive year, with sales down 10.1%.

Despite its fall in sales, pop remained the world’s most popular genre, accounting for 30.6% of global retail sales (see Figure 2), although this share was down, from 31.7% in 2012. Rock’s share increased, from 25.7% to 26.1%. Dance music scored the biggest share increase, rising from 5.5% to 6%.
Genre 2 2014
Continue reading

UMG and WMG see gains in recorded-music market share in 2013, while Sony/ATV dominates music publishing

Companies 2014Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors has revealed which companies have benefited most from the breakup of EMI. UMG increased its dominance of the recorded-music sector in 2013, while WMG closed the gap on the second-largest company, SME. Sony/ATV is the clear leader in terms of corporate publishing control.

The last two years have seen significant consolidation in the recorded-music and music-publishing sectors, after the breakup of EMI Music Group and the subsequent sales of EMI’s record and publishing divisions. Although UMG’s acquisition of EMI Recorded Music and the purchase of EMI Music Publishing by a Sony-led consortium received the various national and regional regulatory seals of approval in 2012, enforced divestments meant that the consolidation process was completed only last year. The result is a music industry dominated by three corporate groups: UMG has extended its market-share lead in terms of revenues from recorded-music sales, and Sony/ATV is the clear music-publishing leader.

Prior to the latest round of consolidation, UMG was the biggest recorded-music company in the world. The addition of the EMI assets in October 2012 boosted the company’s market share that year, but 2013 was the first full year the acquired EMI companies were included in UMG’s results. However, given that divestments were completed only in 2013, market-share figures for 2014 will be the first to truly reflect the new recorded-music landscape. 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.

Has streaming really brought the good times back to Sweden’s recorded-music sector?

Earlier this week Sweden’s local music trade association Grammofonleverantorernas Forening (GLF) proudly reported that total trade revenues from recorded-music sales increased 5.1% last year, to SEK991.2 million (US$152.2 million), from SEK943.6 million in 2012. The rate of growth was lower than the 13.8% year-on-year increase in 2012, but higher than the 0.5% upswing in 2011. Streaming was the big winner, with record company earnings from services such as Spotify and WiMP rising to SEK705.9 million, from SEK541.6 million in 2012. Based on the latest GLF figures, streaming accounted for slightly more than 71% of total trade revenues in 2013, up from 57.4% in 2012 and just 1.5% in 2008.

Sweden sales 2000-2013

In a statement, the GLF CEO Ludvig Werner said three straight years of growth had pushed trade revenues to their highest level since 2004. However, he cautioned that record company earnings are still just 60% of the peak year of 2000.

With all the headlines about Sweden’s streaming boom, it is easy to forget how big the Swedish recorded-music market once was and how far it has fallen. Moreover, there are plenty of questions over how high streaming sales can actually go, particularly given the slowdown in the growth rate of streaming earnings (30.3% in 2013, down from 55.4% in 2012).

In just six years, sales of CDs in Sweden have more than halved, yet there is little published evidence detailing whether those CD buyers have switched to digital or are simply buying less recorded-music. In the early years of digital, falling trade revenues were a clear indicator that consumers were either switching to unauthorized services, or abandoning the recorded-music industry altogether. Download sales have never really taken hold in Sweden and so the big unknown is whether music subscription services have attracted consumers that stopped buying recorded-music, or whether the services are simply causing a redistribution of trade revenues from CDs and downloads.

Rising earnings suggests the growth has come from more than simple cannibalization, but it would be easy to gloss over the possibility that fewer Swedes are spending money on recorded-music, and that those consumers that are spending, are spending more. If that is the case then there will be a limit on how big the streaming boom will take Sweden’s recorded-music sector. No one is expecting streaming sales to keep on rising, but if streaming can’t return record company earnings to 2000 levels, then what can?

Music & Copyright
If you like this blog then Music & Copyright might be just what you are looking for. It is a fortnightly research service covering global copyright and legal issues affecting the music industry. It is unrivalled in its coverage of this complex and fascinating area of the music industry. It is also why our extensive client list includes companies and organizations from all sectors of the music industry operating all around the world. But don’t take our word for it, please get in touch and we will send you the latest issue.

Music & Copyright is published by Informa Telecoms & Media.