Tagged: Music subscriptions

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.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

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.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

Record companies the biggest winners in forecast consumer shift from ownership to access

Retail sales of recorded music will see little variation in total spending levels in the years to 2020 despite the rising interest in streaming, according to global analyst firm Ovum’s latest forecasts. Spending on digital formats and services will overtake physical formats this year and go on to account for almost three-quarters of all sales in just six years.

According to Ovum’s latest research, the retail value of all recorded music sales is expected to contract this year and next before edging up 0.1% in 2017. However, the slight return to growth is forecast to be short-lived and spending will fall in each of the three years to 2020. Music Practice Leader for Ovum, Simon Dyson and author of the report said “2015 is a big year for the music industry with global retail sales of recorded music crossing the digital tipping point.” Dyson added that “For the first time, digital spending will top physical sales, amounting to US$11.7bn this year (compared with US$10.3bn for physical) and reach US$15.7bn in 2020.” Music subscriptions will lead the digital charge and will dominate retail spending for the foreseeable future.

Global recorded music retail sales, 2010–20
Global-Music image
Source: Ovum

For each of the six years forecast, Ovum has estimated that the overall annual difference in the global retail sales figure will not change by more the one percentage point either way. The biggest annual movement is expected in 2020, with a year-on-year dip of 1%.

No anticipated growth in overall consumer spending on recorded music will make difficult reading for the record companies. Moreover, the estimated value of recorded music spending in 2020 is expected to be US$3bn lower than it was in 2010. But there is some comfort in the figures. According to Dyson, “the shift from ownership to access has meant manufacturing and distribution costs have been reduced and, with consumers steadily spending more on access services and less on downloads, costs are going to continue to shrink.”

Dyson says that “the gross income record companies expect to make from physical format sales this year is around US$5.2bn and this will fall to just under US$3bn in 2020. EBITDA is also forecast to decrease, from US$520m to US$300m.”

In contrast, for downloads there are no manufacturing costs and only minimal distribution expenses. The gross record company income from downloads is estimated at US$2.6bn in 2015 and US$1.4bn in 2020, while EBITDA in those years will be US$790m and US$420m, respectively.

The EBITDA share for subscriptions and advertising downloads will be slightly higher than downloads because of lower sales and marketing expenses. Gross record company receipts from subscriptions/streaming are estimated at US$2.4bn in 2015, rising to US$5.4bn in 2020, while EBITDA from subscriptions/streaming is forecast to grow, from US$820m to US$1.9bn.

Taken altogether, gross receipts for record companies from the combined sales of physical formats, downloads, and income from access services are forecast to slip, from US$10.2bn this year, to US$9.8bn in 2020. However, as consumer spending on subscriptions rises, EBITDA will grow, from US$2.1bn to US$2.6bn.

Streaming is riding close to the crest of the recorded music wave at the moment with a good number of trade associations reporting high growth figures and rising subscriber numbers. In some countries, access services are more than offsetting declines in sales of physical formats and music downloads. But, given that physical formats – and to a lesser extent single tracks and digital albums – still account for a sizable share of music retail sales, the streaming sector will be hard pushed to make up for the forecast declines in the buy-to-own formats. “Assuming consumers don’t make a sudden rush to access services, no decline in total sales in the coming years may well be the best result the recorded music industry can hope for,” concluded Dyson.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Netherlands country report

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

Subscriber growth, artist moans, and missing royalties cap an interesting week in streaming
Over the course of just a few days, developments in the music subscription sector have illustrated both the potential for growth for music access services and the problems faced in convincing some in the recorded music industry that their future is in safe hands. First, Apple announced some fairly impressive metrics for its four-month-old Apple Music service, and then came news that Spotify had pulled the catalog of indie label Victory Records from the service because of a dispute over publishing royalties. Claims from copyright administration service Audiam that millions of dollars of authors’ royalties was missing followed, along with a couple more artists complaining that their streaming royalties were unacceptably low.

Aurous teases the RIAA into a restraining order and copyright infringement lawsuit
Unlicensed music streaming service Aurous has quickly found itself in hot water after drawing the ire of the US trade body the RIAA. Three days after launch, the RIAA served Aurous with a copyright infringement lawsuit and gained a temporary restraining order. In the run-up to launch, the service’s creator Andrew Sampson publicly championed the technology behind Aurous, which allows users of the app to stream content via the BitTorrent network. Concerning for music companies is the fact that Aurous’ app does not use any external servers and so is almost impossible to shut down. A hearing at the end of October will determine whether the restraining order remains in place and when the copyright infringement claims will be heard in court.

Music artists and firms look to the blockchain to reform a “broken” system
Blockchain technology, on which leading crypto-currency Bitcoin is built, is being held up by reformers in the music industry as a means of creating a fairer distribution system for content creators. It could bring transparency to rights metadata, instant remuneration to artists, and new forms of monetization to music. The blockchain – as it is often referred to, in the singular – is a nascent technology that not many outside geeky developer circles know about or understand, but which has a huge disruptive potential and which, in recent months, has begun to make its presence felt in the music industry.

Netherlands country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Netherlands music industry profile. The Netherlands, like most European music markets, has suffered big falls in recorded music sales in the past decade or so. Download sales went some way to countering losses from falling CD sales but the rate of the demise of the once popular physical music format pulled total trade revenue down. That was until 2013. Although download sales went into reverse for the first time, a big rise in consumer interest in music subscriptions meant trade revenue from recorded music increased for the first time since 2009. Last year, trade income edged down slightly but streaming sales were again positive and hopes are the market will return to growth in 2015. Total authors’ rights increased in 2014 with both performance rights society BUMA and mechanical rights collections by STEMRA rising year-on-year. The live industry experienced a difficult year with ticket sales down on 2013 and the buoyant festival sector is showing signs that it is heading towards the saturation point.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Japan country report

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

Little change forecast for global recorded music retail sales
Ovum has published new forecasts for retail sales of recorded music that suggest little variation in overall spending levels, but the continuation of the transition from ownership to access. Although global consumer spending on recorded music will change very little in the years to 2020, spending on digital formats and services will overtake physical formats this year and go on to account for almost three-quarters of all sales in just six years. According to Ovum, music subscriptions will lead the charge, dominating retail spending for the foreseeable future. Record companies are set to benefit most from the streaming gains, given the lower costs involved, and are expected to register increased earnings annually.

The corporate live music sector is heading for a record year
All of the leading players in the corporate live music industry have now published financial details for the first half of 2015. An assessment of how the sector has performed suggests the live music industry could well be heading for a record year. Combined earnings for the seven featured companies showed healthy growth overall with only the Brazilian promoter Time For Fun suffering a year-on-year decline in revenue. Live Nation is by far the biggest of the seven events companies detailed but the strongest revenue gains were registered by the most recently listed promoter SFX Entertainment. However, turbulence in SFX’s delisting process has hit the company’s share price and there remains a big question mark over the company’s future.

Music industry gets legal but digital compromise is coming
A recent court case in the US that has gone against the music industry has highlighted the fact that record companies have been ignoring the concept of “fair use”, which allows third parties to use IP-protected content for purposes such as news reporting, criticism, or parody without the permission of the copyright owner. At the same time, online service providers such as YouTube and SoundCloud are coming under increasing pressure from rights holders to license content shared by their millions of users. The music industry is challenging US and European “safe harbor” provisions which enable service providers to disseminate music without licensing the content first. However, while the two parties are currently at loggerheads over who extracts the value produced by artists, they do have strategic objectives in common which may see them working more closely together in the future.

Japan country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Japan music industry profile. Japan is the second-largest recorded music market in the world. According to the IFPI, the country ended 2014 behind the US in terms of overall trade revenue but was the global leader for trade income from sales of physical formats. Japan is unique among the leading markets in so many ways: Its trade revenue from sales of physical formats still accounts for more than 80% of total record company income. After several years of decline, digital earnings have started rising again and subscription services are showing considerable promise. Major record company dominance is ably challenged by a number of local independent companies. Japan also boasts one of the world’s largest authors’ societies in terms of royalties collected and it has a buoyant live sector.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.

New issue of Music & Copyright with Sweden country report

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

Mid-year trade results hint at a flat year for global recorded music sales
Almost all of the world’s biggest recorded music markets have published their mid-year sales figures. An assessment that the total global trade revenue from the sale of physical and digital recorded music and income from music access services will return to growth suggests the industry is heading for a stable year. Although music subscription services are continuing to experience gains in most of the leading markets, it remains on a knife edge as to whether the rise in record company earnings from access services this year will fully offset the lower income being generated by download and CD album sales. There have been some very positive mid-year results from countries that have suffered steady annual declines in recorded music sales for several years. But such is the ongoing dominance of a small number of markets, a return to global growth remains in the hands of the few.

SIAE reports slight growth in music repertoire collections in 2014
Italian authors’ society SIAE has reported a return to growth for royalty collections in 2014. Following a difficult 2013 when music collections fell and overall royalty income suffered a decline, SIAE said authors’ earnings from music repertoire edged up in 2014 with growth also reported for collections from dramatic works as well as opera. Although income from movies, literary works, and visual arts suffered a decline, the overall collection total for SIAE was positive. Digital music collections rose for the second consecutive year, but, as a share of total income, the collection source is still very low.

Rights holders use carrot and stick approach for music sampling
The art of music sampling had its heyday prior to the music industry’s sharp reversal of fortune. However, rights holders are increasingly eager to monetize the practice. Chasing unauthorized samplers through the courts is one way to do this, although EMI Production Music is choosing to give users of uncleared samples the opportunity to come clean, while also offering a spot of forgiveness for past sampling transgressions. But EMI’s initiative is a short-term promotional exercise above everything, and the threat of litigation will remain the primary mode of licensing enforcement — and revenue collection — going forward. However, those artists looking to legitimately use samples in their compositions are not finding it easy to clear rights and publishers really need to simplify their systems to accommodate them.

Sweden country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Sweden music industry profile. Sweden has quickly become the world leader in terms of music access, with home-grown service Spotify dominating not only record company earnings from digital music, but also total Swedish recorded music trade revenue. There have been signs of a slowdown in music subscription take-up, but earlier this year the local IFPI branch said it was confident there was still considerable room for growth. The IFPI made its comments after mid-year figures hinted at a return to growth in total trade revenue after a slight dip in 2014. One of the major beneficiaries from the digital growth has been STIM, the authors’ society, with collections last year rising to record levels on the back of authors’ growing digital earnings.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

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.

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud
UK authors’ society PRS for Music has begun legal action against the online audio streaming service SoundCloud. In a notice to its members, Karen Buse, executive director, membership and international at PRS, said the decision came after “careful consideration” and followed “five years of unsuccessful negotiations” to agree a license. No license means PRS members are not being paid for music streamed by the service. SoundCloud responded to the lawsuit by claiming that it does not need a license for its existing service and said it has deals in place with thousands of rights holders including record labels, publishers, and independent artists. The service described PRS’s actions as regrettable given that commercial negotiations with the authors’ society were ongoing.

Live music competition heats up in Germany as Live Nation muscles in
In August, the global events giant Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) formed Live Nation Concerts Germany (LNCG) with the local concert promoter Marek Lieberberg to promote concerts and festivals in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from the beginning of next year. LNE said at the time that Lieberberg was the fifth largest promoter in the world and that the deal would add more than 700 shows and 2 million fans to LNE’s current platform of 23,000 shows for 60 million fans across more than 40 countries. Under the terms of the deal, Marek Lieberberg will be chief executive officer of the new division with Andre Lieberberg serving as president. However, LNE has already failed once to crack the German live music sector and there are no guarantees the company will succeed this time around.

Crunch time for SFX as company faces possible bankruptcy and break-up
Live music promoter SFX Entertainment is facing the real prospect of being broken up and sold after chairman and CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman failed in his move to take the company private. Sillerman has embarked on a second attempt to take back the company that went public at the end of 2013 but, with a new deadline of the beginning of October – a month that will also see Sillerman face up to legal claims from ex-business acquaintances that they were partly behind the founding of SFX – the future of the company looks bleak. Revenue keeps rising but so do losses and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of company has driven up talk of bankruptcy and driven down the share price.

Physical formats are still the backbone of Japan’s recorded music sector
The Japanese music trade association, the RIAJ, has reported positive physical and digital recorded music trade figures for the first half of this year. Production levels of physical formats and record company earnings from digital sales and services increased year-on-year between January and June raising speculation that the total trade sales for the full year may return to growth after two consecutive years of decline. Although local record companies will welcome a rise in revenue, physical formats still account for around three-quarters of total trade income. Digital sales have proved resilient in the last year or so after some big annual falls, but should sales of CDs start going the same way as they have in many developed markets in the West, Japan’s recorded music sector may face some very tough times again.

If you want to know more about Music & Copyright then follow the below links.

Music & Copyright is published by Ovum.