The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Smaller streamers look for an edge in a big-player market
The music-streaming sector’s leading lights made serious moves at the tail-end of last year, and the battle to dominate the subscription segment is set to sharpen in 2018. Amazon, Google, Apple, and Spotify are all looking to gain extra edge in a competitive market, making it difficult for the smaller services to remain relevant and play a leading part in the rapidly evolving sector. However, Pandora, Deezer, and Tidal haven’t given up the fight and are looking to carve out their own segments, largely with the help of bigger partners.
UK ISPs ordered to block access to illegal streaming service servers
Last year, the UK High Court issued its first order to block access to unlicensed streaming service servers. The handing out of blocking orders to an ISP by a court is quite common, and rights holders for several years have applied to courts to force ISPs to prevent their subscribers from accessing websites or torrent trackers that host or provide access to unlicensed music and media content. Given the shift in the way recorded music is accessed now, rather than owned, unlicensed streaming services are growing in number, and so blocking internet users from visiting certain websites is no longer the answer to the problem. At the end of last year, the High Court issued a new blocking order. Like the previous order, the block was to prevent internet users from viewing live soccer matches. The High Court action could have implications for the recorded-music industry’s attempts to prevent internet users from accessing unlicensed content.
Publisher Wixen files copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify
Spotify has been hit with new legal action accusing it of willful copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed by Wixen Music Publishing at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, claims that Spotify has reproduced and streamed music penned by its songwriters without permission. The lawsuit, which is requesting the maximum statutory damages for each infringement, described a previous settlement between Spotify and a class action group concerning similar claims as inadequate. It accused the service of building a multibillion-dollar business without ensuring that the music available had been properly licensed. The timing of the lawsuit’s filing was prompted by the introduction of the Music Modernization Act into the House of Representatives which aims at overhauling the US mechanical royalty system. The bill includes a clause preventing rights holders from filing similar mechanical rights–based copyright claims after the end of 2017.
US country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed US music industry report. The US is the biggest music market in the world. Not only does it account for around one-third of global recorded-music sales, it is home to the world’s largest live music sector and the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment. The US also has two of the leading authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and has quickly become the biggest performance rights market for record companies and performers, despite the fact the country’s collection agency, SoundExchange, only collects royalties from digital music services.
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