The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.
Midyear results confirm the recorded-music sector is heading for a fourth straight year of growth
With all the world’s major recorded-music markets and several other smaller ones having published midyear trade figures, Music & Copyright’s annual assessment of the results suggests global recorded-music trade earnings from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will register a similar rate of growth this year as in 2017. All the trade associations that have published figures or provided guidance have shown continued gains from music subscription services, and this earnings growth in all but one of the countries has more than offset declines in revenue from other formats. The ongoing dominance of the world’s biggest markets is set to continue, but, as has been the case in the last few years, the rate of growth in the less developed and so-called emerging markets will be higher than that of the global leaders.
Tencent Music Entertainment’s SEC filing lifts the lid on the Chinese company’s inner workings
Chinese music giant Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) has filed the necessary documentation with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), confirming its move to go public. The company will list under the symbol TME in what is expected to be the biggest IPO by a Chinese company in the US. As is the case with all listings, documents filed with the SEC lift the lid on financial and operating metrics not previously available. In contrast to Western services, which have seen revenue rise but losses deepen, TME’s music platforms are profitable, despite the low share of users paying a regular subscription. The filing also offers a look at some of the service offerings and initiatives not provided by Western services. This research note picks out some of the more interesting insights surrounding the financial standing of the service, its popularity, and what the details tell us about the Chinese music-streaming sector.
The future of selling recorded music and the next phase of streaming service development
With music streaming and subscriptions now the main revenue generator for recorded-music companies, and sales of buy-to-own formats in terminal decline, the term “music retail” is quickly becoming obsolete. Consumers in increasing numbers are not buying recorded music; they are paying to access it. Trips to the record store are a thing of the past for all but a small number of vinyl connoisseurs. Moreover, there is nothing to hold anymore, apart from the credit card used to pay for the subscription, or the hardware used to stream the music. In short, the first phase of music streaming is effectively over and the second phase, where streaming companies go beyond simple service provision, is well underway. Each company has its own plans for competing with its rivals and attracting new subscribers who are yet to take the streaming plunge. New artist initiatives, service acquisitions, expanded rollouts, and wider music bundles are already shaping the access-service landscape, but this kind of activity will only intensify over the next couple of years, as services look to enhance their position in what has become a rapidly evolving sector.
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 is one of Europe’s mid-tier music markets. The country’s recorded-music sector has been one of the region’s worst hit by digital piracy since the turn of the century. Although piracy levels are still high, spending on recorded music has recovered somewhat, but the transition from ownership to access has not all been smooth sailing, and this year has seen the gains from higher spending on music subscriptions offset by the continued fall in download and CD album sales. Per-capita spending on recorded music is low and lags a long way behind Europe’s leading markets. The steady improvement in Spain’s economic fortunes will have a positive effect on the country’s different music industry sectors. However, the unemployment rate remains high, particularly among younger people, who are traditionally the biggest music consumers. UMG remained the biggest recorded-music company last year, while troubled authors’ society SGAE reported higher collections and distributions. Spain’s live music industry experienced a positive 2017, with sales boosted by the reduction in the VAT rate in June last year.
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