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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