New issue of Music & Copyright with Russia country report

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

WMG makes biggest recorded music market-share gains of 2015; indies cement publishing lead
Music & Copyright’s annual survey of the recorded music and music publishing sectors has revealed changes in global market share for the three major music groups and the independent sector. Recorded music leader UMG lost market share in 2015, but WMG, the smallest of the three majors, made the biggest gains. SME experienced a slight increase in its share. Sony/ATV remained the leader in terms of corporate publishing control, despite its share edging down. UMPG was the only major publisher to increase its market share. However, the collective share of the independent publishing sector registered the biggest share rise, with leading indies BMG and Kobalt making impressive gains.

TEOSTO reports record year for royalty collections in Finland
Finnish authors’ society TEOSTO has reported a record year for royalty collections from the use of music in Finland. But the total amount of royalties collected in Finland, which also includes performance and mechanical reproduction royalties collected through other organizations and remuneration for public lending and private copying, was lower in 2015 than in 2014. The decrease was caused by a big drop in private copying income as a result of a change in the way the income source is administered. Broadcasting accounted for the biggest share of domestic performing rights. Despite a big rise in digital collections, the income source remains a minor income stream for local authors and publishers.

Live performance video streaming moves towards the mainstream
Live performance video streaming is beginning to establish itself as a mainstream music segment. Leading US live entertainment group Live Nation looks set to become a major broadcast player after successfully rolling out Live Nation TV on Yahoo, with music festival streaming likely to become a key part of its portfolio. Video games platform Twitch.tv is also well placed in the space, given its large audience of electronic dance music (EDM) lovers. Smaller outfits see live streaming as a promising opportunity too: Tidal is busy establishing itself as a broadcaster, to market its core streaming service to consumers, while streaming apps providers are carving out niches as low-cost providers for artists looking to air their live performances.

Russia country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Russia music industry profile. Russia’s two main music industry sectors, recorded and live, have had contrasting fortunes for much of this century. Recorded music sales had struggled to reach anything close to their potential given the size of the Russian population, while the live sector went from strength to strength. Now, the opposite is happening: Recorded music sales are rising in contrast to the live sector, which has been hit by the devaluation of the ruble and problematic relations with the West. Last year record company earnings benefitted from a surprise increase in revenue from the sale of physical formats. Although digital income was largely unchanged, revenue from subscription services registered a big rise, suggesting music access services are starting to resonate with consumers.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Italy country report

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

EUIPO report sheds light on young Europeans’ digital content habits
A new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has detailed the attitudes and behavior of 15–24-year-olds in terms of digital media and intellectual property rights (IPRs). The report looked at the main drivers and barriers to acquiring digital content made available by both legal and unlicensed online sources. The report found that young European consumers felt there was a lack of information about IPRs that would help them understand the important issues and that the current level of information available is not communicated effectively to their age group. It concluded that these factors combined to produce indifference among many young European consumers, who have been brought up in the digital age, not caring whether they infringe on IPRs when they acquire content.

GEMA reports flat year for collections and distributions
German authors’ society GEMA has reported its financial details for 2015. Total collections matched the previous year’s record total, marking the third consecutive year of growth after two years of decline. Distributions to members were down slightly but were still the second highest ever for the authors’ society. GEMA said expenses grew, but costs as a share of total revenue, excluding certain strategic costs, decreased. The authors’ society noted that its total income benefited last year from export revenue which turned out to be higher than projected, as well as favorable exchange rates. However, despite the steady year, GEMA said collections from digital services did not match the volume of use and payments made by consumers to access these services.

Big music gets to grips with big data
Data is becoming an increasingly essential tool for the music industry. Its proponents believe that robust data collection and analytics can genuinely provide a competitive edge. Festival operators and music-streaming providers have only just begun to effectively mine big data, using it to deliver more value from their products and services. We are likely to see the music industry ramp up its big data capabilities as the opportunities provided by data-driven understanding become clearer. Live music organizers and digital music providers will find themselves at the forefront of this change.

Italy country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Italy music industry profile. Italy was one of the world’s best performing markets for recorded music in 2015. Physical and digital sales growth boosted trade earnings to the highest level since 2008. Although a long way behind Europe’s big three markets of Germany, the UK, and France in terms of trade revenue from recorded music, the country has suffered the same problems associated with high levels of recorded music available online from unlicensed sources. Despite three consecutive years of growth, trade earnings from recorded music are still considerably lower than they were 15 or so years ago. However, continued gains from subscription services suggest the country is on the road to recovery. Live music sales also had a good 2015 with mid-year data from authors’ society SIAE showing a rise in ticket sales to concerts.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with China country report

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

SME labels file copyright-infringement claim against Radionomy
A number of SME record company subsidiaries including Arista Records, LaFace Records, US Latin, and Zomba have filed a copyright-infringement and unfair competition claim at the US District Court for the Northern District of California against the online radio service Radionomy. The labels have filed for seven claims for relief, including direct infringement of their rights under US copyright law; contributory copyright infringement; and inducement to infringe. The labels’ court filing states that they are entitled to the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per track infringed. The lawsuit comes just two months after UMG parent company Vivendi acquired two-thirds of the share capital of Radionomy.

Digital transition continues to dent French recorded music trade sales
French music trade association SNEP has reported a second consecutive annual fall in revenue from the sale of physical and digital music formats and digital access services. Despite sharp growth in trade income from subscription services, a big drop in earnings from physical formats and downloads meant the value of the French recorded music market last year was half of what it was 10 years ago. A good year for performance rights lessened the overall decline. In its report, SNEP drew attention to the rise of subscriptions in France – more than 3 million consumers are now paying for a subscription to one of the many services available in the country. However, with physical formats still dominant and downloads dropping away fast, it seems unlikely that the French recorded music market will return to growth any time soon.

Music video providers look to make consumers pay for the short form
The music video has come a long way since the launch of MTV in the early 1980s. Now the format is part of the short-form-video revolution which led the world to consume some five trillion clips last year. Music video consumption has long shifted online – largely into the hands of YouTube. Much of that content has yet to be fully monetized, but there are major moves underway to make more consumers pay.

China country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed China music industry profile. For many years China has been seen as a music market in the midst of development and one that offers great potential for growth. Certainly the country’s marketplace for creative content is developing rapidly. However, there have been a number of false starts, and industry sectors have been left disappointed with China consistently failing to live up to its billing. More recently though, there have been some glimmers of hope. The latest IFPI figures showed trade revenue was up in 2014 with streaming the big driver of growth. Ovum has estimated growth continued last year, and more is set to come. China’s digital infrastructure is highly developed and with smartphone penetration on the rise, all the requirements for further digital growth are firmly in place. However, some creative sectors continue to suffer against a backdrop of unlicensed services and restrictive practices. Royalty collections have grown consistently for the last six or so years, but given the size of the population and level of music use, rights holders’ earnings measured at a per-capita rate are tiny.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with South Africa country report

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

US court declares big is not bad in Live Nation IMP market abuse case
A US Fourth Circuit appeals court has affirmed a previous district court ruling that global event promoter Live Nation has not violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by engaging in monopolization, tying arrangements, and exclusive dealing in the music concert industry. The long-running case began almost seven years ago when the Maryland-based music promoters, It’s My Party and It’s My Amphitheatre (collectively known as IMP), filed a suit claiming Live Nation had wielded its market power to entice and coerce artists to appear only at amphitheaters and other venues owned or operated by Live Nation. The appeals court said the promoters had failed to define the relevant markets or to demonstrate any anticompetitive conduct.

Second consecutive year of growth for Spain’s recorded music sector
After a lengthy period of annual falls in trade revenue from recorded music sales, Spanish trade body Promusicae has reported a second successive year of growth. Trade earnings from physical and digital formats and on-demand access services grew 6.9% in 2015. Although this rate of growth was much lower than the 20%+ jump in 2014, that year’s growth was boosted by unusually high CD album sales. Crucially for the future of Spain’s record companies, the rise in digital income in 2015 was almost all down to higher streaming earnings more than offsetting lower sales of CD albums and music downloads. Despite the continued good news, it is sobering to remember that total trade revenue is still a quarter of the size it was at the turn of the century.

Ukraine tops the IIPA hit list in the latest copyright-protection report
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has released its annual report detailing the impact that piracy and limitations on market access are having on US copyright holders in the worst offending countries around the world. Ukraine remained top of the IIPA hit list and the only country designated as a priority foreign country. In a slight change on previous annual reports, this year’s IIPA report focuses on markets where the organization believes that active engagement by the US government could generate positive results for creators and the industries that support them. The IIPA said that in several key foreign markets, recommendations adopted could create jobs, increase investment, and contribute generally to healthy economic growth in the US and abroad.

South Africa country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed South Africa music industry profile. South Africa is the biggest music market in Africa. Consumer spending on recorded music and live performance and royalty collections are significantly higher in the country than in any other market in the region. Despite its geographic location, South Africa is more akin to a Western music market and has far more in common with many countries in Europe and North America than it does with its closest neighbors. While this means per-capita spending on music is high compared with other countries in the region, the same problems encountered in the developed world in the shift from physical formats to digital have been experienced in South Africa. Although the rise in high-speed Internet access has exacerbated problems associated with the unauthorized distribution of music, the higher digital sales, rising smartphone penetration, and the move into South Africa by a number of international streaming services suggest the market may be heading for a brighter future.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

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.

Munich court rules in favor of YouTube in GEMA damages case
A court in Munich has ruled that the online video service YouTube is not responsible for copyright infringing content uploaded by the service’s users. The court found that the sole responsibility lies with individual uploaders and that no damages should be paid by YouTube for unlicensed content appearing on the service. German authors’ society GEMA said the decision meant YouTube was presently not financially accountable within the current legal framework when works protected by copyright are used on the platform. GEMA has been at odds with YouTube for a number of years with the two unable to agree rates for a licensing deal.

Stable year for physical music sales in Japan; Avex remains the market share leader
New figures published by the Japanese recorded music trade association the RIAJ show that the total production value of physical formats was unchanged in 2015 compared with 2014. Although the value of audio units slipped slightly, a rise in video units offset the decline. The production value of domestic artist releases increased year-on-year, but the value of international artist releases dropped sharply. According to chart compiler Oricon, Japanese record company Avex remained the leading music company, despite losing market share to local rivals.

CUR Media sets its sights on the “massive” US music streaming market
The latest entrant to the already crowded US music streaming sector is CUR Media’s CUR Music service. First launched as an Internet radio service a few years ago under a different name, the rebranded service rolled out in the US on iOS in January and will be available on Android and the Web in February. Although the service offers fewer tracks than the leading subscription services, the two advertising-free tiers offered cost less than its rivals. Cur Music’s emphasis is on radio and playlists, which puts it up against the likes of Pandora and iHeartRadio. The US has already seen a number of casualties in the streaming sector in the last year or so and with CUR Music seemingly late to the party, the service will do well to hold its own against established offerings that are making most of the running.

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 an improved recorded music sales performance in 2015. Just how much of an improved year 2015 was will be confirmed in the next couple of months when the IFPI publishes trade revenue figures for the country. According to Nielsen Music, unit sales of recorded music were down year-on-year, but a big jump in streaming is likely to have reduced the rate of contraction in trade revenue compared with 2014. UMG remains the clear market share leader, ahead of SME, and preliminary details published by authors’ society SOCAN show royalty collections were up for the third year in a row with the level of royalties identified, collected, and distributed all breaking previous records. Canada’s live music industry is also thought to have had a good 2015.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with US country report

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

Spotify hit by second US copyright infringement lawsuit
Music subscription service Spotify is facing a second class action lawsuit accusing it of reproducing and distributing sound recordings without the necessary license. In December, the artist and rights advocate David Lowery filed a class action copyright lawsuit at the Central District Court of California claiming $150m in damages because the service had failed to identify or locate the owners of certain compositions for payment that it has distributed, and had not issued a notice of intent to employ a compulsory license. Now artist Melissa Ferrick has filed a second class action lawsuit at the same court, and is claiming $200m in damages. Both lawsuits note Spotify’s public acknowledgment that it does not have the correct licenses to distribute certain recordings after it said it had created a reserve fund for royalty payments that had been withheld from artists and that it was investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve the licensing problem.

New report details the supporting role of brands in online IP infringement
A new report detailing digital advertising and the scale of advertising-based funding of websites suspected of infringing intellectual property (IP) in the European Union has been published by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (the Observatory). The study monitored a number of different websites that offered a range of content and assessed the extent by which digital advertising supported IP-infringing websites. The study also analyzed the brands and sectors supporting the websites with their advertising and the advertising companies placing the ads. Among a number of conclusions, the Observatory said that, despite brands being able to control how agencies managed their campaigns, suspected IP-infringing websites were found to be a “brand-rich environment” with mainstream advertising accounting for almost half of all the ads collected in the study.

Rightscorp and clients hit with a $450,000 “robo-call” settlement bill
Copyright enforcement company Rightscorp and its two clients BMG Rights Management and Warner Bros. Entertainment have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit which accused them of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by using an automatic telephone dialer and sending pre-recorded calls to the mobile phones of a number of individuals without their prior consent. The calls, made by Rightscorp on behalf of the two companies, were to inform suspected copyright infringers of their actions and to obtain pretrial settlements. In addition to receiving damages, the class action members were absolved of any copyright infringement claims.

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 profile. The US is the biggest music market in the world. Not only does it account for around one-third of global recorded music sales, the country is home to the largest live music sector in the world and the single biggest live music promoter, Live Nation Entertainment. The US also has two of the biggest authors’ rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and has quickly become the world leader in performance rights collections for record companies and performers, despite the fact that the country’s collection agency SoundExchange only collects royalties from digital music services.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

First issue of Music & Copyright for 2016

A very Happy New Year from all of us at Music & Copyright. What better way of starting 2016 with a new issue. Here are some of the highlights.

YouTube breathes easy as the PRS deal with SoundCloud means no safe harbor test
UK authors’ society PRS for Music and online music service SoundCloud have ended their legal dispute and reached an agreement for a multi-territory license to cover the service. PRS began legal action against SoundCloud in August, accusing the service of using its members’ music without paying the necessary royalties. At the time, SoundCloud claimed it did not need a license for its service as it was protected by safe harbor provisions in European Union (EU) law. The deal covers the use of music on SoundCloud dating back to the service’s launch, with PRS members being recompensed for past usage. However, the settling of the dispute means there will be no legal challenge to the safe harbor defense claim and it remains unclear whether services such as YouTube, that rely on safe harbor protection for the use of music, are operating within EU law.

PopArabia faces an uphill task in its MENA digital music rollout
In December, digital music rights company PopArabia added Warner Chappell to the list of music publishers it represents in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). Not only does the deal mean PopArabia has licensing deals in place with all of the major music publishers, it places the company at the center of the region’s digital music space. Although PopArabia represents one of the best chances for digital music services to gain access to international music publisher content and a return on music used by local services, the region remains devoid of much needed copyright legislation. Rights holders in a number of countries in the region see little return on the use of their works and the prospect for change remains clouded by a lack of movement by governments on rights protection.

EC takes aim at content portability in Europe as part of the new copyright framework
The European Commission (EC) has taken what it describes as the first steps to broadening access to online content in Europe and has outlined its vision to modernizing copyright rules in Europe. As part of its Digital Single Market strategy announced in May, the EC has now published an agenda with the express aim of bringing copyright legislation in the region up to date. Proposals tabled by the previous digital commissioner are to form the basis of new copyright changes going forward as part of the current five-year Commission. The EC noted that the task of uniting industry stakeholders that have long held very different opinions regarding the extent of copyright reform in Europe is not an easy one and commented that achieving the correct balance across all the different stakeholder sectors may well prove to be just as difficult and contentious this time around as it did in the previous Commission mandate.

Regulators are now considering OTTs’ impact on communications markets
In recent years, communications markets have been profoundly affected by the increasing uptake of OTT services by consumers. OTTs’ impact has been significant in both mature and emerging markets, radically modifying the way end users access communications services and posing a challenge to traditional telcos’ revenues. As often happens in markets heavily influenced by technological development, regulation has struggled to keep up with the changes. Nearly everywhere, regulatory frameworks still define electronic communications providers as those players that own or have access to a network and convey signals; inevitably, such definitions exclude OTT players, which have so far benefited from minimal or no regulation. However, regulators are now showing their awareness of the impact these players have had and are starting to consider how to adjust to the evolved communications landscape. In particular, there has been extensive debate during 2015 at the EU level and in India, where public consultations have taken place and will inform policy-makers’ response in the near future. In Switzerland, too, the regulator, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), has recommended changes to the telecoms act.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.