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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Calls for a new look at the DMCA safe harbor protection as music companies head back to court in battle against MP3tunes

Talking to rights holders in the run up to the CISAC World Creators Summit in Washington, it seems that few agree that any country has the right balance between certain technology companies’ use of music and the abuse of copyright. Google has been on the receiving end of several legal actions by a number of rights holders that have claimed its online video service YouTube has either not acted quickly enough to remove content when asked, or is using content that it has no license for. Ever-troubling for rights holders is the fact that it is their responsibility to check whether music is being used correctly and not the responsibility of the digital-music service. Continue reading “Calls for a new look at the DMCA safe harbor protection as music companies head back to court in battle against MP3tunes”

Has the music industry forgiven Justin Timberlake for his MySpace links and accusations of artist exploitation?

myspace_2452447bDepending on where a musician sits in the music industry value chain, a top-10 list of what’s most important to an unsigned artist will differ greatly to one compiled by a million-album seller. Scratching a living out of music is something tens of thousands of musicians do every day. Although the Internet has opened up the promotion and distribution of music to anyone with a computer, it has also made selling music a lot more difficult as almost every single release in a digital-music store is available for free somewhere online. Continue reading “Has the music industry forgiven Justin Timberlake for his MySpace links and accusations of artist exploitation?”

Is repertoire fragmentation the new enemy of digital-music services in Europe?

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 “Is repertoire fragmentation the new enemy of digital-music services in Europe?”

A short history of the music industry: different formats, familiar names but the same old problems

M&C coverIn 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 “A short history of the music industry: different formats, familiar names but the same old problems”

Big differences in splits for digital-music performance and mechanical rights in EU-27

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 “Big differences in splits for digital-music performance and mechanical rights in EU-27”

Consolidation in the music publishing sector is set to shake up Pan-European licensing

The European Commission (EC) is planning to publish draft legislation proposals early next year that will include new rules for the cross-border licensing of digital music. For several years representatives of the EC have expressed a mixture of mild irritation and outright annoyance over the licensing process for digital-music services in Europe. The number of such services has grown rapidly in the region, but several service providers continue to bemoan the time-consuming process involved in securing rights to operate in several countries. New business models specializing in digital-music delivery have brought change to collection societies, but according to some service providers, rights remain fragmented, and some providers have questioned whether the major publishers’ Pan-European initiatives have simply added a new layer of fragmentation and complexity to the licensing process, with Europe’s largest collection societies the only ones seeing any benefit. Continue reading “Consolidation in the music publishing sector is set to shake up Pan-European licensing”