New issue of Music & Copyright with UK country report

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

Amid rife piracy, RBTs are helping prop up MEA’s legal music sector
If it were not for ring-back tones (RBTs), music revenue would be in decline in many parts of Africa and the Middle East (MEA). Other digital music services – namely, sites and apps offering downloads and streaming on an a-la-carte or all-you-can-eat basis – are making negligible revenue in much of the region. On their own, digital services do little to compensate for plummeting physical sales. Beyond recorded music, concert ticket sales and sponsorships (i.e., live music) help to shore up revenue – but, other than in a small handful of countries, not at sufficient scale or pace to make a huge difference. Digital services are hobbled by a long list of barriers, yet numerous homegrown services have sprouted up in many parts of the region, and are exploring different ways of scratching out a living. RBTs are immune to digital piracy and get around the region’s low penetration of online payments by being added to users’ mobile bills. However, most of the revenue they generate is pocketed by mobile telecoms operators, and they cannot be relied on as a cash cow forever.

Digital takes the domestic lead for Swedish authors and publishers
Swedish authors’ society STIM has reported record financials for 2017, with total collections exceeding SEK2bn ($227.7m) for the first time. Distributions to its members also topped the previous year’s high. Online and new media service collections were again the standout revenue source, with the growth rate the highest of all STIM’s main revenue sources. Moreover, online now accounts for almost 40% of total domestic collections. Income from overseas remains the biggest revenue source for Swedish authors and publishers, with last year’s growth more than reversing the previous year’s decline. Royalties from festivals and live music concerts increased for the second consecutive year. STIM said the growth was largely down to big-name artists playing more arena dates and an increase in ticket prices.

Opinions divided over the US ACCESS to Recordings Act
US Senator Ron Wyden has thrown something of a curveball at the moves by legislators to speed up the passage of a new copyright law that would put an end to the discrepancy between pre- and post-1972 sound recordings in the US. Currently, pre-1972 sound recordings are governed by state laws and receive different protection than post-1972 recordings, which are under federal copyright protection. The unanimous passing of the Music Modernization Act through the House of Representatives and its subsequent introduction in the Senate gave rights holders hope that the issue of pre-1972 recordings would soon be at an end. However, the introduction of Senator Wyden’s new bill is likely to put the brakes on rights-holder celebrations. Unsurprisingly, opinions over Wyden’s bill have been divided, with some accusing the senator of putting legacy artists’ retirement security at risk.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. The UK’s recorded-music industry is going through a positive period. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade earnings. Although revenue has slipped back in the two subsequent years, the country has registered two consecutive years of growth. Going one better, the retail value of recorded-music sales has risen for three straight years with subscription sales and streaming growth more than offsetting lower spending on physical formats and downloads. UMG is the clear leader in market share terms, with SME in second place. Royalty collections in the UK are on the rise with both PRS for Music and PPL continuing to register record receipts. Live music continues to be the most robust leisure sector in the UK, and tours and festival appearances still the most secure way for artists to generate revenue. However, concerns over the ongoing decline in the number of grassroots music venues has prompted the government to launch an inquiry into the live music business, with a specific focus on small music venues.

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New issue of Music & Copyright with UK country report

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

Plotting the rise of paid audio subscriptions and the end of smooth lines and growth curves
Earlier this year, global trade body the IFPI reported that audio subscriptions were on course to become the biggest source of revenue for music companies. Digital as a whole overtook physical in 2014, and streaming became the biggest revenue generator in 2016. However, although the CD album was still the single revenue source when streaming is broken out into its three constituent parts, paid audio subscriptions is set to take the lead this year. The rise of the paid subscription from niche revenue source just a few years ago can only be described as rapid, and recent record-company results have illustrated the importance of access services to the companies’ bottom lines. As part of our annual look at the latest developments in the music subscription sector, we explain why streaming is now so important for the recorded-music industry and why the rise of access services is the beginning of the end for the well-established trend of straight-line growth and decline.

ECJ issues ruling on internet sharing platforms’ role in copyright infringement
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued a preliminary ruling in a case referred by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands on the legality of websites and services offering the indexation of metadata relating to protected works, which enable internet users to locate copy-protected works and share them online. The ECJ said that making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works may constitute an infringement of copyright. Even if the copyright-protected works are placed online by the users of the online sharing platform, the ECJ confirmed that the operators of that platform play an essential role in making those works available. The case was first brought by Dutch antipiracy organization Stichting Brein against internet service providers (ISPs) Ziggo and XS4ALL to force them to block the domain names and IP addresses of torrent tracker site The Pirate Bay.

Sharp rise in private copying collections boosts ARTISJUS results
Hungarian authors’ society ARTISJUS has reported a return to growth in royalty collections following a fall in 2015. A boost from retroactive private copying collections in 2014 was the main cause for the year-on-year decline the following year. However, sharp organic growth in private copying income last year, along with positive results from public performance and cable retransmission, took ARTISJUS’s total revenue close to the 2014 record. Digital collections were particularly positive, although they still accounted for a minor source of income for Hungarian authors. ARTISJUS noted in its business report that the focus of digital exploitation has shifted from downloading to streaming, resulting in much heavier administration in the course of the collection and distribution of royalties. Local VOD services generated around three-quarters of digital royalties, with international music services accounting for the remainder.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry report. The UK’s recorded-music industry is experiencing something of a growth spurt at the moment. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade earnings from recorded music. Although revenue slipped back in 2014, the country has subsequently registered two consecutive years of growth. The retail value of recorded-music sales has also risen year on year with subscription sales and streaming growth more than offsetting lower spending on singles and albums. Royalty collections in the UK are also showing positive signs, with both PRS for Music and PPL registering annual growth. Live music continues to be the most robust leisure sector in the UK with tours and festival appearances still the most secure way for artists to generate revenue. However, despite the relatively buoyant stadium and arena sector, the ongoing decline in the number of smaller music venues is a cause for concern.

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 UK country report

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

Google’s latest antipiracy report sparks criticism from music industry
Google has published the latest version of its How Google Fights Piracy report, detailing its recent antipiracy activities. In addition to updating some of the facts and figures presented in the 2014 edition, the latest report explains how Google’s products and services have created opportunities for creators around the world and how the company has targeted those that have misused its services to commit copyright infringement. The report lists creators that have used the Google-owned service YouTube to boost their careers as well as develop new revenue streams and business opportunities. Reaction to the report from music industry bodies was swift. Both the IFPI and the BPI commented that Google has the resources and expertise to do much more than it currently does to limit the amount of recorded music accessed without permission on its platforms.

SGAE reports second year of modest growth in royalty collections
Spanish authors’ society SGAE has published its annual accounts for 2015 after approval from its membership at the June annual general meeting. SGAE has experienced an unsettled last few years with arrests of senior executives for misappropriation of funds followed by antitrust investigations over high tariffs for live performance and broadcast fees and several changes in its president. In terms of collections, the authors’ society has reported a second consecutive year of modest revenue growth after three years of decline. Ongoing economic difficulties have affected some of the main income sources. However, a big jump in private copying collections and growth in live music and general licensing collections fully offset revenue declines elsewhere.

The music industry must be more proactive about interactivity
New digital tech developments and ever more powerful computer processing are making consuming music a less passive experience. In various parts of the music industry, players are experimenting with interactive features that build a degree of customization into audio and audiovisual content. Although some of the creations are proving hugely popular, interactivity still feels like a nascent segment, and many players seem reluctant to go beyond the basics. They risk missing a great opportunity to develop more immersive experiences that really engage with audiences, especially millennials keen to stamp their mark on music-based content.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry profile. The UK recorded music industry is in something of a lull at the moment. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade revenue. However recorded music sales dipped in 2014, with rising income from streaming unable to match the drop in downloads and CD album sales. Last year saw the continued shift from ownership to access, but overall trade earnings were down for the second consecutive year. In contrast to trade earnings, the retail value of recorded music sales grew year-on-year with a rising number of subscriptions fully offsetting consumer spend on singles and albums. Royalty collections in the UK were more positive: Both PRS for Music and PPL registered annual growth. Live music continues to be the most robust leisure sector in the UK with tours and festival appearances still the most secure way for artists to generate revenue. Despite the overall increase in ticket sales, smaller venues in the country continue to close because of rising rents, urban development, and noise regulation.

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 UK country report

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

BMI wins the latest royalty battle in the ongoing rate dispute with Pandora
A New York rate court has decided that US online radio service Pandora must pay BMI, the performing rights organization (PRO), 2.5% of revenue for the use of authors’ and music publishers’ content. In making its decision, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York decided that the rate proposed by BMI was reasonable, despite being at the low end of what BMI had hoped for. However, the rate is still higher that the 1.85% rate Pandora pays to ASCAP. That rate was affirmed by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals in April after ASCAP had appealed a 2014 rate court decision. Previously, Pandora had paid BMI 1.75% of revenue and so, with the online radio service expected to generate around $1bn in revenue this year, the increased royalty payment to BMI could be as high as $75m. Pandora, which ended March with 79.2 million users, has said it will appeal the New York rate court decision.

Public performance gains return Czech authors’ society OSA to growth in 2014
Czech authors’ society OSA has reported a return to growth in royalty collections in 2014 after a slight dip in 2013. Despite a fall in broadcasting income and earnings from abroad, record collections from both public performance and digital boosted the authors’ society’s revenue to a new high. A good year for OSA also included a fall in costs and a subsequent decrease in costs as a share of collections, as well as a rise in distributions to its members.

Growth for all the major music groups in 1Q15
With UMG the last of the three major music companies to publish financial details for the first three months of 2015, a comparison of their respective performances reveals all of the companies posted year-on-year growth. Previous year-on-year comparisons of the three companies’ recorded music and music publishing sectors have been distorted by company acquisitions and sell-offs, and exchange rate fluctuations. However, with most dealings completed more than a year ago, the only major influencing factor in first quarter comparisons was exchange rates. Factoring in fluctuating current rates suggests that all three majors have got off to a good start in 2015. There are, however, still nagging doubts as to whether 2015 will be the year that the recorded music sector as a whole posts positive gains, and whether music publishing can register another year of growth.

On the Radar: BackBeat Solutions
A new “on the radar” section in Music & Copyright begins with a look at BackBeat Solutions, a company that provides pre-packaged deal management, royalties accounting, multi-platform publishing, and content services. It has a client portfolio in Europe and the US comprising tier-two music labels and music publishers. Founder Chris Chambers’ long association with the music licensing area has helped it secure projects for BMG Chrysalis, Fintage House, and Imagem Music Publishing.

UK country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed UK music industry profile. Optimism about a return to longer-term recorded music growth in the UK was quickly extinguished with the publication of last year’s trade results. Three straight years of decline ended in 2013 with a rise in trade revenue. However, recorded music sales slipped back again in 2014 with the rising income from streaming services unable to match the drop in downloads and CD album sales. The UK may well register growth again this year though as streaming increases in popularity. Royalty collections matched the recorded music decline last year with PRS for Music registering its first rights contraction since 2010. A rise in broadcast, digital, and public performance collections could not fully offset the fall in overseas income and mechanicals. The live sector remains strong, although research suggests small venues are under considerable pressure, both financially and regulatory.

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

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.