Tagged: intellectual property

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.

Much of MEA’s digital music fortunes lie with carriers and RBTs
Music revenue in the Middle East and North Africa is largely in decline, while revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa are growing at a relatively vigorous pace. But, overall, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region generates negligible digital music revenue other than that derived from mobile – a reality that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. In essence, virtually all digital music revenue produced throughout most of the region comes from ring-back tones (RBTs), and the lion’s share of that revenue is ending up in the hands of mobile operators, which have a monopoly over the delivery of RBTs. Unfettered piracy; limited access to broadband; high data charges; low smartphone penetration; consumers’ inability or unwillingness to pay for music; insufficient spending on digital advertising; inexistent or inadequate royalty-collection systems; and, in a fair number of countries, political unrest and war, are all factors conspiring against the success of digital music services – both a-la-carte and all-you-can-eat.

Vivendi hits back over Spinal Tap fraudulent accounting claims
Vivendi has filed a motion with a California district court to dismiss claims made by the co-creators of cult movie This Is Spinal Tap. Late last year, the co-creators accused Vivendi and its movie studio subsidiary, Studiocanal, of engaging in anticompetitive and unfair business practices as well as fraudulent accounting, and sought compensatory and punitive damages of $400m. Vivendi and Studiocanal claimed their motion to dismiss was brought because the co-creators had failed to state a claim upon which any damages could be granted and because they had not provided any evidence of fraud as required under federal rule of civil procedure. The two defendants also refuted the termination rights claims, since the music in the movie was made as a work-for-hire.

Premium subscriptions now one-third of total Belgian music sales
Belgium’s recorded-music sector has registered a second consecutive year of growth in retail spending. According to new figures published by the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA), total consumer spending on recorded music grew 6.9% year-on-year in 2016, around the same rate as in 2015. The improved performance was almost all down to a big rise in spending on subscription services countering falls elsewhere. Vinyl sales also increased, although the format accounts for a minor share of total spending. Despite the growing interest in streaming, Belgian music consumers continue to support the CD album, with the format accounting for the biggest share of retail spending. The second year of overall growth is positive news for Belgian record companies, given the numerous years of decline the industry has seen. It should, though, be remembered that record company earnings from recorded-music sales in the country are still less than half what they were at the turn of the century.

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 report. China is the world’s most populous country, with close to 1.4 billion people. It is also home to the second-biggest economy. Despite a slight slowdown in economic growth last year, the latest figures from China’s statistics bureau suggest the country is on course to meet the government’s aim of doubling GDP and per capita earnings between 2010 and 2020. In line with this optimistic outlook, China’s music industry is starting to show signs that it is living up to its long-held potential. In the past there have been several false starts. More recently, though, glimmers of optimism look set to turn into real sales. The latest IFPI figures show that trade revenue was up sharply in 2015, with a number of digital formats and services the growth drivers. Ovum estimates that growth continued last year and that 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 seven 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 still very small.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with India country report

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

Pay-monthly bundle opportunities for recorded music are expanding
Offering customers who buy one product a discount on another is a practice the retail sector has engaged in for decades. “Buy one, get one free” and “three for the price of two” are just two retail discounting terms most people are familiar with. Bricks-and-mortar sellers of music and other entertainment products have for a long time happily grouped together hard formats into multimedia bundles in an effort to boost sales, and this practice has been a central feature of most online retail sites. More recently, the rise of the fixed regular fee for access to music has given streaming services and communications providers, both of which charge for their services on a monthly basis, the opportunity to combine their offerings. However, consumers also pay monthly for many other financial necessities and household utilities. Although there might seem to be little connection between the likes of Deezer and Spotify and energy or water suppliers, the willingness of some services and suppliers to experiment suggests that the distribution of recorded music is set to experience another major evolution.

French recorded-music sales have an encouraging year, but medium-term concerns remain
French music trade association SNEP has reported a rise in trade earnings from recorded-music sales. Total trade income increased year-on-year, marking only the second time in the last 10 years that sales registered an uptick. Subscriptions and ad-supported streaming were the two growth sectors, with sales of single track and album downloads down sharply. The overall performance was buoyed by a modest dip in trade earnings from physical format sales, with digital more than offsetting the physical losses. However, physical formats still accounted for the majority of trade revenue, and there remains concerns over the medium-term prospects for the French recorded-music sector should the rate of decline in CD album sales begin to accelerate.

Graduated response and litigation not enough in the ongoing battle against music piracy
Graduated-response mechanisms appeared to have had their day, as evidenced by the recent closure of a number of programs, most notably in the US. However, content owners and ISPs have now joined forces to roll out a warning-notice project in the UK, with a view to steering primarily young demographics away from illegal file-sharing websites and toward legitimate sources. The efficacy of graduated response in deterring music piracy – as well as in promoting the use of rights-protected content – has always been contested. As pirates turn to innovative ways of illicitly disseminating music, the industry needs to come up with new responses to the threat.

India country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed India music industry report. India’s music industry is regularly grouped together with those of a small number of countries that for years have underperformed but that offer great potential to become major markets of the future. With the country accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s population and with an economy that is growing steadily, tapping into what is a market ripe for exploitation is high on the recorded-music industry’s list of priorities. However, India has yet to live up to the promise of its “emerging” label, with favorable results one year followed by poor sales the next. Arguably the biggest problem for the country is piracy. Retailers have always struggled to compete in a market flooded with illegal copies. Moreover, rising internet penetration has brought with it increased access to unauthorized music distribution sites and services. There is some hope that streaming will be the way out of the piracy problem, but the road to greater sales and meaningful returns is likely to be a long one.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright

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

EU negotiators agree on new rules for cross-border online content service use
European Union (EU) negotiators have agreed on a series of new rules allowing citizens of member states to maintain access to online content services when they travel out of their home country around the EU. Services covered by the new cross-border rules include films, sports events, e-books, video games, and music. The agreement marks the first related to the modernization of EU copyright rules as proposed by the European Commission as part of its Digital Single Market strategy announced in May 2015. The next step will see the agreement formally confirmed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Once adopted, the new rules will become applicable in all member states by beginning of 2018.

Sixteen countries singled out by the IIPA in latest copyright enforcement 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. Eight countries were placed on the priority watch list with a further eight countries placed on the watch list. In line with last year’s change on previous annual reports, the latest IIPA release 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, meeting the challenges identified in its report would create US jobs, promote exports, and contribute substantially to healthy economic growth in the US and overseas.

Major labels file copyright lawsuit against mixtape service Spinrilla
Mixtape site Spinrilla and its founder are being sued by the major record companies for alleged copyright infringement of their works. The labels filed a lawsuit in an Atlanta district court claiming that Spinrilla has profited from widespread copyright infringement for at least three years. The site and accompanying mobile apps allow users to freely stream and download content as well as make playlists and share music. The labels are claiming Spinrilla has committed direct and secondary copyright infringement and are claiming the maximum statutory damages or actual damages, including Spinrilla’s profits from its infringement.

Spain’s recorded-music sector sees third consecutive year of growth
After a long period of year-on-year contractions in trade earnings from recorded-music sales, Spanish trade body Promusicae has reported a third successive year of growth. Although combined revenue from physical and digital formats and on-demand access services only edged up last year, and although the growth rate was lower than the previous two years, the sector’s performance was notable for a number of reasons. Digital income overtook earnings from physical formats for the first time, and access services generated more than half of the overall recorded-music revenue total. The vinyl revival continued, and earnings from mobile personalization rose sharply. 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.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Australia country report

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

Secondary-ticketing services thrive on the back of unique live-market economics
Media exposés and government investigations in some European countries have brought the thorny issue of secondary ticketing to the fore of music news reporting in the last month or so. Police in Italy are investigating two prominent promoters after a local TV program exposed a number of shady dealings, while a government committee in the UK questioned representatives of leading secondary-ticketing services over their business practices. However, despite the unpopularity of ticket resale services, few countries in Europe have gone as far as outlawing the practice and restricting services’ operations. In some cases, laws and regulations are not being enforced, and resellers are making huge profits at the expense of consumers. Most live-industry stakeholders would like to do away with secondary ticketing altogether, but while tickets to big events are continually sold way below market value, some believe that the problem of ticket resale is one of the live industry’s own making.

Court filing sheds light on the Flo & Eddie SiriusXM pre-1972 sound recordings settlement
In November, a joint notice filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California by artists Flo & Eddie and satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM stated that the two parties had reached an out-of-court settlement in the long-running dispute over the payment of performance royalties for the broadcast of songs fixed in copyright before February 1972. Now, the artists and broadcaster have filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of the agreement. The filing details the potential payments SiriusXM might be required to make based on the outcomes of pending state court appeals. The case dates back to 2013, when Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, founding members of 1960s group The Turtles who later became known as Flo & Eddie, accused SiriusXM of copyright infringement on the grounds that the broadcaster played their tracks without holding a license to do so.

Japan heading for flat year despite big rise in subscription revenue
Figures published by Japanese recorded-music trade association the RIAJ show that digital music sales for the first nine months of the year grew year-on-year at a faster rate in 2016 than in the same period of 2015. A big jump in trade earnings from subscriptions more than offset lower year-on-year sales of all unit downloads. Subscriptions are now the biggest digital revenue source for Japanese record companies, though combined sales of single tracks and albums still account for more than half of the online digital total. Despite the positive digital sales, the continued dominance of physical formats means the overall wellbeing of the country’s recorded-music sector is still largely determined by the performance of the CD album. Given that the RIAJ reported a decline in the production value of physical formats in the first nine months of this year, Japan looks to heading for a year of contraction.

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. The Australian recorded-music industry has shown signs that it is heading toward the end of what has been a long period of falling sales. Consumer interest in music streaming and subscriptions is strong and almost single-handedly boosted overall recorded-music trade earnings to growth in 2015. However, the country looked to have turned the corner in 2012, with record company income from digital sales fully countering the drop in CD album sales. But trade revenue contracted in the two subsequent years. In contrast to the recorded-music sector, royalty collections in Australia have been on the up for several years, with authors’ society APRA AMCOS experiencing consecutive annual collection increases on the back of strong gains in digital income. Australia’s somewhat erratic live music industry suffered a decline last year after two years of rising ticket sales and attendance.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Poland country report

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

Prince’s estate files copyright infringement claim against Roc Nation
The estate of the artist Prince has filed a lawsuit at the US District Court for the District of Minnesota against Roc Nation, accusing the company of copyright infringement. According to the lawsuit, Roc Nation-owned and -controlled music subscription service Tidal has been streaming the late artist’s recorded-music catalog without the necessary license. Prior to his death in April, Prince had pulled his music from all streaming services and was a fierce critic of access services. However, an exclusive deal was agreed with Tidal in August 2015 to stream Prince’s final album, HitNRun: Phase 1. In June, Tidal added a number of Prince albums to its service, claiming to have signed a deal with the artist. Although the estate said it recognized the initial agreement for HitNRun: Phase 1, it said it was unaware of any further deal between Prince and Tidal.

Court rules GEMA should not distribute collections to publishers
A court in Germany has ruled that GEMA does not have the authority to distribute royalty collections to music publishers. A case was brought by two author members of GEMA, who successfully argued that they should receive both the publishers’ share and the authors’ share of collections, since it is the authors alone who introduce usage rights to GEMA. Although the full reasoning behind the court’s decision has not yet been published, the result echoed an April ruling by a different German court in a case brought by an author of scientific works against collection society VG Wort. In that case, the court ruled that WG Wort could pay out of license fees for statutory remuneration to publishers in exceptional cases only.

Podcast take-up is growing, but monetization remains a challenge
In the US, 89 million people have listened to a podcast, and 17% of the population are regular listeners, a proportion that has grown substantially in recent years. But while podcasts are popular, they generate strikingly little revenue. Audiences are fractured, and advertisers are skeptical of the medium. Nonetheless, nearly all newspapers, broadcasters, and other media organizations produce podcasts in some form. For them, podcasts are a low-cost means of building their multimedia offerings and developing their brands. Similarly, some specialist podcast producers use the medium for self-promotion, while others simply carve out a modest living talking about a subject they love. More effective monetization may be around the corner as technology improves and as growing podcast audiences attract more interest from advertisers. But while podcasts have considerable room for growth in profitability, they will remain challenging to monetize in the short term.

Poland country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Poland music industry report. Poland’s two main music industry sectors, recorded and live, have both experienced positive times of late. Local trade association ZPAV signaled in September that strong midyear recorded-music sales in the country will result in a third straight year of growth. Higher trade earnings from physical formats and streaming were behind this year’s recorded-music gains. Although Poland has no live music trade association, local promoters have reported positive results for 2016 and are expecting a similarly good 2017. In contrast to recorded and live, royalty collections in the country have suffered two years of declines, with rising earnings from public performance more than offset by lower broadcasting collections.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Spain country report

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

Currency fluctuations affect global performance rights earnings in 2015
Given the long period of demise of recorded-music sales, producers’ and performers’ earnings from performance rights have become an important income source. Total collections in 2015 broke new records, with distributions to both producers and performers topping $1bn for the second year. Measured at reported exchange rates, global performance rights payments were down year on year. At constant rates, total distributions increased. However, the rate of growth was much lower than in 2014. Global receipts from performance rights remain dominated by the US organization SoundExchange. Although Europe is the biggest source of performance rights collections, the region’s share of the global total slipped below 50% for the first time.

France set to register annual growth in recorded-music sales
French music trade association SNEP has reported positive trade figures for the first nine months of this year. Total trade income increased year-on-year, and a good third quarter meant the rate of growth in the nine-month period was higher than the midyear rate. Subscriptions and ad-supported streaming were the two growth sectors, with sales of downloads down sharply. The overall performance was also buoyed by a rise in third-quarter physical-format income. Based on the SNEP figures, France looks well placed to register its first annual rise in trade earnings since 2013 and only the second for more than 10 years. The only worry for longer-term growth is that physical formats still dominate trade sales, and so a return to longer term growth is still dependent on how quickly local consumers turn away from CD albums.

Messaging is becoming the new battleground for music marketing
Fast-growing messaging services are gaining an increasing amount of consumer attention and younger demographics are spending more time on chat platforms than on social media. Music companies and artists are already using messaging to increase fan engagement and for promotional purposes, and this will accelerate. However, marketers looking to capitalize on messaging further will need to work hard to keep up with technological changes, particularly because messaging platforms are becoming increasingly automated. Chat bots are also coming to the fore, giving artists the chance to get even closer to their fans, but they are posing a threat to legitimate methods of selling concert tickets.

Spain country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Spain music industry report. Spain’s two main music industry sectors, recorded and live, have both recovered in the last couple of years. Recorded-music sales have increased for two successive years on the back of greater consumer interest in music subscriptions and streaming. The live sector is seeing rising revenues despite high rates of VAT on cultural events. Royalty collections in the country have remained flat for two years with lower collections from some sectors almost offset by gains elsewhere. The optimistic industry figures come at a time when the Spanish economy is continuing to register signs of improvement. However, the Spanish music sector, particularly recorded music, has a long way to go before it can declare itself out of the woods.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with France country report

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

German recorded music sector on track for another year of growth
Figures published by the German music trade body Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) show that total consumer spending on recorded music was up 3.6% in the first half of this year compared with the same six-month period in 2015. A big jump in music subscriptions was behind the overall rise, with the increase in consumer spending on paid audio on-demand services fully offsetting all other format declines. The continued revival of the vinyl LP also boosted total retail sales. Despite the fall in spending on CD albums, the format still accounted for the majority of music retail sales. However, the boom in streaming sales pushed Germany ever closer to the digital tipping point.

Second consecutive year of decline for Polish royalty collections
Polish authors’ society ZAiKS has reported its financial statements for 2015. Although collections in the year were down compared with 2014, they were still the third highest in the authors’ society history. Total distributions were also one of the highest on record, while the administration rate remained virtually unchanged year-on-year. Broadcasting remained the biggest income source for ZAiKS. However, most of the main sources of broadcast income were down, resulting in an overall broadcast collection decline. The only real domestic bright spots for ZAiKS came from a small rise in collections from background music, public performance, and neighboring rights. Internet collections fell sharply along with private copying remuneration.

SIAE reports positive year for Italian live entertainment in 2015
The Italian live events sector experienced a positive 2015 according to new figures published by the Italian authors’ society SIAE. Following on from a fairly flat 2014, total box office receipts in 2015 registered a healthy rise, with concerts generating the biggest gains and a return to growth after a decline in 2014. Attendance reversed the previous year’s dip and increased in 2015, although the rate of growth was lower than box office spending and audience turnover. In addition to concerts, box office receipts from cinemas also experienced a reversal of fortune and registered an increase, cementing the cinema sector as the Italian entertainment industry’s biggest sector. Dance was the only sector to suffer a decline in box office receipts.

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 recorded music industry is currently suffering due to the ongoing transitions from physical to digital and ownership to access. Consumer interest in streaming is maintaining overall growth in digital trade earnings, but falling sales of both downloads and CD albums have pulled down overall record company earnings. There is, however, some hope that this year will see a return to growth, with midyear trade revenue up year-on-year. French authors’ society SACEM registered a positive 12 months with collections increasing after a slight year-on-year decline in 2014. France’s live music industry is highly competitive with national and international promoters battling to represent big names. However, the last 12 months have been particularly difficult for the sector following a number of terrorist attacks.

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Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.