The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
EC green-lights GEMA, PRS, and STIM pan-European online music licensing hub
The European Commission has given its approval to a joint online music-licensing venture between the three European collection societies GEMA, PRS for Music, and STIM. In January, the EC began an-depth investigation to determine if the venture was in line with European Union regulations on mergers. The investigation was launched after a preliminary investigation suggested that the combination of music repertoires currently controlled by the three collection societies could result in higher prices and worsened commercial conditions for digital service providers in the European Economic Area. In a joint statement, GEMA, PRS for Music, and STIM said the new hub will transform pan-European music licensing by enabling ease of access for digital music services to music rights as well as provide faster and more accurate payments of royalties to writers and their music publishers.
Both BUMA and STEMRA report collection growth in 2014
Dutch authors’ societies BUMA and STEMRA have reported a third consecutive year of growth in joint collections after three consecutive annual falls. Combined income for the two collection societies increased 5.3% last year, with gains reported in both performance and mechanical rights. Strong growth in streaming in the Netherlands resulted in an almost doubling of digital collections for BUMA. However, streaming remains a tiny source of revenue for authors and publishers in the country.
US Copyright Office opens up the debate on the future of orphan works
The US Copyright Office (USCO) has begun a new review of how best to deal with orphan works and mass digitization under the country’s copyright law. Earlier this year, the USCO asked for comments from stakeholders and held a number of public roundtables in Washington D.C. The culmination of viewpoints, as well as an analysis of issues impacting orphan works and mass digitization efforts along with a series of recommendations, has been published in a new report. The USCO has requested written comments on its recommendations be submitted by early August.
After the indie and Swift storm, Apple Music is all set to deliver the music streaming tipping point
Apple’s foray into music streaming has been a long time coming but Apple Music is set to hit the ground running. However, those who expected cool Apple to innovate in the streaming space need to “think different” as the company has designed a service which is pretty much a grab bag of features already out in the market. While that may be a disappointment for some, it is not necessarily a bad move. All Apple needs to do is provide a good, dependable music streaming service akin to Spotify’s and its marketing clout and the huge global penetration rate of its consumer electronics devices should ensure that becomes market leader. However, Apple Music is not about to wipe out the competition and the service’s launch will serve to lift most streamers’ boats.
France country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed France music industry profile. The French music industry experienced a contracted 2014 with recorded music sales and royalty collections both suffering a decline after a positive 2013. Despite the rise in music subscription and streaming revenue, continued falls in CD album and music download sales dragged down overall recorded music trade income. French authors’ society SACEM also suffered a reversal of fortune with the ongoing decrease in mechanicals overshadowing digital and broadcasting gains. France’s live music industry is highly competitive with national and international promoters battling for big name representation. High fees charged by leading artists make it difficult for promoters to return a profit and the increased concentration on bigger shows and festivals is causing a real headache for the country’s smaller events.
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Informa Telecoms & Media today announced the publication of the second edition of its highly successful report Demystifying Pan-European digital-music rights. The report neatly illustrates what repertoire is controlled by what collection society or licensing hub in 30 of Europe’s most vibrant recorded-music markets. Continue reading
Last year the European Commission introduced new proposals for a directive on the collective management of copyright and multiterritory licensing of music. The proposals, which target collection-society transparency and the efficient working of digital-distribution businesses in Europe, are working their way through a series of committees. After that, they must be agreed upon by the European Parliament and European Council of Ministers.
What the directive will not do is interfere with the way music publishers administer their rights. All of the major publishers and a number of independents have withdrawn the rights to certain repertoire for licensing on a multiterritorial basis. Some see these moves as a step towards the creation of a new form of fragmentation, one based on repertoire, rather than national borders. Publishers have long claimed that withdrawing certain repertoire rights streamlines the licensing process. However, music ownership can involve multiple publishers and therefore digital services that want to provide an all-encompassing offering still need to sign more licensing deals than the number of countries they operate in. Continue reading
In the past 20 years or so, all sectors of the music industry have been through massive change. Format transitions, company consolidation and greater scrutiny of copyright and licensing have changed the industry beyond all recognition. But have the changes made for industry improvements, and more important, have the main players learned from their mistakes? The recent discovery of the first issues of Music & Copyright has allowed for a unique look at just how much certain things have changed, and how much they haven’t.
The newsletter’s 20-year anniversary came and went in September, but thanks to a long-standing subscriber, copies of the first 24 issues published have been found and make for interesting reading. Despite containing names that have either long since left the music industry or been swallowed up as part of industry consolidation, the headlines for a number of news stories resonate closely with happenings today. Continue reading
As the issue of multiterritory licensing comes under the spotlight in Europe, differences in rates charged and rights splits will become more evident. Will an EU directive that breaks down national borders be followed by a bigger push for deeper collection-society harmonization across the region?
With publication of the European Commission’s new multiterritory licensing proposals, Brussels’ efforts to harmonize the EU’s digital-music landscape are looking to build on legislation harmonizing authors’ and publishers’ rights that are managed by collection societies. Continue reading