Industry Announcements

    July 30, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – YouTube Ad Revenue Hits $7B in 2Q21 / Spotify Grows to 165M Paid Subs / Songwriter Groups Call On CRB

    YouTube generated $7 billion from advertising alone in Q2 2021, equivalent to approximately $77 million a day, or $3.2 million every hour, according to an announcement made by parent company Alphabet. That’s up by 83.7% on the equivalent figure from 2020 ($3.812 billion).

    Spotify’s user base grew to 165 million paid subscribers and 210 million free users during the second quarter of 2021, the company announced in its latest earnings report.  That’s a net increase of 7 million paid users and 2 million free users compared to the first quarter. The metrics were on target with guidance, though Spotify conceded monthly active user growth was slightly underwhelming due to a softer first half of the quarter.


    Several songwriter organizations have called on the US Copyright Royalty Board to reject the NMPA/NSAI mechanical royalty rate proposal. The groups, which include the Songwriters Guild of America, are asking for the current rates to be amended to take into account inflation since 2006.

    Apple’s services business, which includes Apple TV+, Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud, delivered $17.5 billion in revenue in the second fiscal quarter of 2021. That is up from $13.1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Although the company did not disclose how many subscribers each service had, Apple CFO Luca Maestri told analysts that it had “more than 700 million paid subscriptions” across its services division.


    A recent study commissioned by Live Nation and produced by Oxford Economics found that, in 2019, the concert business was valued at $132.6 billion, employing 900,000 people with associated labor income of approximately $42.2 billion. Each year, concerts generate $55.2 billion in direct spending in the US. And for every $100 spent by an out-of-town attendee on a concert ticket, $334.92 is generated within the local economy.

    SiriusXM Revenues Up 15% But Pandora Listeners Still Falling

    SiriusXM reported its latest financial results with its Q2 revenues of $2.16 billion having grown by 15% year-on-year. The company added 355,000 net new self-pay subscribers during the quarter, taking it to 31.4 million overall. Its music streaming subsidiary Pandora had 55.1 million monthly active users in Q2, down from 59.6 million a year ago. On the other hand, its revenues grew by 82% year-on-year to $383 million.

    July 23, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Bill Ackman SPAC Drops 10% UMG Stake / YouTube Launches Super Thanks / TikTok Posts New Music Discovery Stats

    Bill Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Pershing Square Tontine Holdings announced this week that it will no longer be acquiring a 10 percent stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. The deal was previously finalized earlier this summer, valuing the music major at $41.6 billion.

    YouTube recently launched Super Thanks – a way for fans to “express their gratitude and show support” for individual videos by allowing viewers to buy at four price points, ranging from $2 to $50. The company additionally has three other ways to support creators by paying: Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel subscriptions.

    TikTok unveiled in a blog post that, according to two online surveys conducted separately by MRC Data and Flamingo Group, 75% of TikTok visitors discover artists there, while 63% say it’s a source for music they’ve not heard before, and additionally, 67% state that they are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services.

    UK-based fitness apparel brand Gymshark was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by Sony Music Entertainment (SME) in the US last Thursday. The filing claims that Gymshark allegedly infringed sound recordings and musical compositions used without a license for videos posted on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

    Game developer Peter Madsen recently created a new browser extension for Twitch called SpotifySynchronizer to avoid DMCA strikes. The feature allows viewers to synchronize their Spotify accounts with the streamer – so they can hear the music on their own account. Viewers who are watching without the extension will only hear the standard game audio.

    The UK government is cracking down on digital companies like Apple after it created the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in April. Those large companies with “Strategic Market Status” will be required to follow new rules to avoid alleged anti-competitive behavior.

    July 16, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Ent’t & Media Revenue to Rebound / 66%+ of US Music Listening are Catalog Records / YouTube Shorts Rolls Out in 100+ Countries

    In 2020, media and entertainment revenue globally dropped 3.8% as the pandemic led to an overall $81 billion drop, says a new report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers. On the other hand, the company predicts that the overall industry is projected to bounce back this year and continue growing, with a 3.5% compound annual growth rate from 2019-2025.

    According to MRC Data‘s new mid-year report, H1 2021 saw catalog music’s share of total album consumption in the US rise to 66.4%, up from 63.9% in H1 2020. Conversely, the percentage of total album consumption claimed by ‘current’ music was just 33.6%, down from 36.1% in H1 2020.

    YouTube Shorts is now expanding to all the regions where YouTube main is currently available. That will put it live in more than 100 countries worldwide. The TikTok competitor will be in beta as it plans to add more convenient features and increased monetization for creators.

    The Copyright Office recently recommended that the first distribution of the black box monies accumulated won’t be distributed until five years after the Mechanical Licensing Collective’s claiming portal is up and running. The system, which is in beta right now, will allow rights holders to search and claim unmatched songs so that they can be paid the royalties for plays of those songs.

    SoundExchange announced this week that it will take over the collection and distribution of domestic and foreign private copy royalties. The company will begin claiming international private copy royalties in late 2021 and domestic private copy royalties in February 2022.

    According to Midia Research, YouTube Music is the fastest growing subscription service, growing by 60% in 2020, and reaching an 8% market share in Q1 2021 – just under 39 million subscribers.

    TikTok parent company ByteDance has indefinitely put on hold plans for an initial public offering in the US or Hong Kong after Chinese government officials warned management to address data security risks, reported the Wall Street Journal. The China-based company was valued at $180 billion in a round of funding in December.

    July 9, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Roblox Inks Deal with Sony / IFPI Launches ISRC Data System in Africa / LyricFind Expands to Brazil with Abramus Digital

    Roblox Signs Music Partnership with Sony

    Virtual experience platform Roblox recently signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment this week, and is reportedly in talks with other record labels as well. The company has grown dramatically in recent years, reporting 43 million daily active visitors in May. The NMPA filed a lawsuit against Roblox last month for allegedly enabling piracy when users uploaded copyrighted music and shared them within Roblox experiences.

    IFPI to Administer ISRC Data System for African Musicians

    According to a recent announcement, the IFPI’s Sub-Saharan Africa office will be administering the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) data system for the continent, except for South Africa, where it is already managed by another entity. The office will also be holding virtual seminars this month to teach musicians how to use it.

    LyricFind Expands Its Brazilian Business with Abramus Deal

    LyricFind has signed a licensing agreement with Abramus Digital, which is part of Brazilian collecting society Abramus, and represents more than 80,000 songwriters and publishers. Brazil is the fifth-largest territory in terms of business for the lyrics-focused company.

    TikTok is Parking Its Tanks on YouTube’s Lawn…As Report Says Its Users are More Engaged Than Its Rival’s

    Analytics firm App Annie revealed that as of May 2021, both US and UK TikTok Android users spent more time per user on average than US and UK YouTube Android users. According to their report, US-based TikTok users on Android devices spent an average of 24.5 hours per month, compared to 22 hours per user, per month on YouTube.

    Indian Rapper Badshah Was The World’s No. 1 Songwriter on YouTube Last Year, Says New Report

    A songwriter chart released by music rights data platform Blokur showed that the biggest songwriter of 2020 on YouTube was Indian rapper Badshah. The chart takes into account the success of songs on various streaming charts, as well as the percentage of each song that each songwriter is credited with writing. Badshah counts 2 million subscribers on its YouTube channel and has attracted over 261 million views.

    K-Pop Propels YouTube to Streaming Dominance in Korea, Study Finds

    YouTube is the dominant streaming video platform in South Korea, a new study has found, according to a quarterly report from consultancy Media Partners Asia, which leans on the company’s AMPD Research Platform. YouTube accounted for 81% of minuted consumption, compared with 13% for all subscription-VOD platforms combined.

    July 2, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Kevin Amer Assigned New Copyright Office Role / Dance Music Loses Half Its Revenue in 2020 / Gaana Raises $40M in Debt Financing

    The US Copyright Office has named Kevin Amer as new Acting General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, effective July 2, 2021. He has served as deputy general counsel at the Office since May 2019, helping co-lead the study on section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    Dance Music Market Lost Half Its Revenue in 2020, Says Study

    Overall earnings in 2020 from the electronic dance music industry reached a total of $3.4 billion, says an annual business report published by the International Dance Music Summit. That’s less than half of 2019’s $7.3 billion in earnings and lower than that of the industry in 2012. Despite the decline, the sectors within the industry – music sales/streaming and software/hardware sales – were up 4% and 23% respectively.

    Tencent Ups Investment in Spotify Rival Gaana, As Music Streaming Service Raises $40M in New Debt Financing

    India-based Spotify rival Gaana has just raised an additional $40 million in debt financing from China-based Tencent’s European entity, Tencent Cloud Europe B.V. The music platform also raised $51 million in debt to help finance its growth back in September from two existing Gaana investors – Tencent and Times Internet.

    YouTube Music Launches “Artist on the Rise” in New Countries

    YouTube is expected to expand its “Artist on the Rise” program to new countries: Germany, France, and South Korea. The company announced its latest emerging star – Zoe Wees – as a joint UK/Germany Artist on the Rise.

    TikTok will now allow its global user base to post clips up to three minutes long. The video app previously allowed creators to film in 15-second bites, and sew up to four of these bites together to form one 60-second video.

    As total podcasting ad revenue is expected to exceed $1.3 billion this year, and $2 billion by 2023, Spotify and Apple are both launching new creator tools in podcast subscriptions. Spotify is allowing creators to set a monthly price of $2.99, $4.99 or $7.99 for consumers, while Apple is allowing a starting price of $0.49 per month.

    Instagram to Lean Into Video Amid “Stiff Competition” with TikTok, YouTube

    Instagram is rolling out full-screen videos in their feeds in response to “stiff competition” with TikTok and YouTube, says Instagram head Adam Mosseri on Wednesday. These videos will include recommended content from accounts users don’t already follow, with a new test feature that will allow users to select topics that they want to see more or less of.

    June 25, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – American Music Fairness Act Introduced in Congress / Online Platforms Win EU Copyright Case / SoundExchange Payouts Up 4% in 2020

    Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced the American Music Fairness Act via a live streamed event on Thursday in response to the Local Radio Freedom Act introduced last month, which aims to continue terrestrial radio’s royalty-free status. The US is the only major country in the world where terrestrial radio pays no royalties to performers or recorded-music copyright owners of the songs they play.

    The European Court of Justice recently made a final ruling on June 22 that online platforms like YouTube should not be held accountable for hosting unauthorized user uploads. These websites, however, are liable if they are aware of illegal uses and refrain from stopping it. In addition, the ruling does not take into account the reforms being made throughout Europe as part of the EU’s Copyright Directive.

    SoundExchange distributions grew by 4% to $947 million in 2020, according to the company this week. The US digital performance royalties agency paid out $908.2 million in 2019.

    French media firm Vivendi inked a deal to sell a 10% stake in Universal Music Group (UMG) to a “blank check” company set up by Bill Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square, valuing the music major at $41.6 billion. Vivendi has long been planning an initial public offering of the music firm in Amsterdam by late September.

    Apple announced that its song recognition app Shazam has surpassed 1 billion song matches per month, bringing its total to 50 billion tags since its inception in 2002. The company designs the service with user privacy in mind, creating a digital footprint of the audio and matching it against a database containing millions of songs.

    TikTok finalized a multi-year deal with the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) covering digital mechanical royalties in Canada. The new agreement covers past usage of musical works, as well as setting down the terms for future royalty payments.

    June 18, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Spotify Greenroom Launches / CRB Sets Webcasters Royalty Rate / Average Services Per User Falls For First Time

    Spotify Launches Greenroom, Its Live-Audio App To Take On Clubhouse, With Plans To Pay Creators

    Spotify launched Greenroom on Wednesday, a live audio app and Clubhouse competitor, in addition to announcing new plans to launch a Spotify Creator Fund to pay live audio creators for their work. The new app is available on iOS and Android in more than 135 markets globally.

    CRB Sets Royalty Rate For Pandora, iHeartRadio And Other Webcasters

    Last week, the Copyright Royalty Board granted sound recording licensees a royalty rate increase for 2021-2025 for programmed song plays – a rate of $0.0026 per performance for commercial webcasters’ programmed streams and $0.0021 per stream for ad-supported non-subscription services. These new rates apply to companies like Pandora and iHeartRadio, but does not impact interactive on-demand services like Spotify.

    Streaming Fatigue? Average Number Of Services Per User Falls For First Time: Study

    According to an announcement made on Tuesday by technology research firm Omdia, the average number of video streaming services utilized per U.S. user has fallen for the first time, from 7.23 in November to 7.06 in April. However, outside of the US, Omdia’s survey found that the number of online services per home is continuing to rise, with the U.K. reaching 5.78 services per user.

    Kevin Brennan MP Proposes “A New Right To Fair Remuneration” From Streaming For Musicians In Private Members Bill

    Labour MP Kevin Brennan presented a Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians etc) Bill to Parliament which seeks to amend UK copyright law. According to the proposed legislation, it seeks to “create a new right to fair remuneration for musicians when their work is played on streaming platforms” in direct response to the #fixstreaming and #brokenrecord campaigns.

    British Music Exports Grew By 6% In 2020 To £519.7m

    British industry body, the BPI, announced that British music generated £517.9m in export earnings in 2020, up 6% year-on-year. It also urged the government to “seize the moment” to boost that even further this year and beyond by doubling the existing ‘Music Export Growth Scheme’ funding to support more artists, and other proposed strategies.

    Apple Launches Podcast Subscriptions, Offering Ad-Free Listening, Extra Content For Thousands Of Shows

    Apple launched its own podcast subscription service this week, in which users can pay to subscribe to individual shows and/or to “channels,” which are themed collections of content that “span many genres and formats, including news, comedy, sports, and true crime”. The news comes after Spotify also unveiled a podcast subscription offering a few weeks before.

    June 14, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – TikTok Radio Joins SiriusXM / Germany Approves EU Copyright Reforms / UMG No Longer Accepting LODs for Royalty Sales

    TikTok Radio is Coming to SiriusXM as Companies Join Forces to Create “Exclusive Audio Experiences”

    TikTok Radio is now coming to SiriusXM this summer as a full-time music channel, available in vehicles and as a streaming channel on the SiriusXM app, desktop, and all connected devices. Subsidiary Pandora will also be launching a TikTok Tastemakers series – a selection of exclusively hosted playlists featuring TikTok creators who will take listeners through their favorite songs with additional commentary.

    Germany Passes Controversial EU Copyright Reforms, Sparking Ire

    Germany’s parliament recently passed EU copyright reforms on May 20, sparking controversy that the move could potentially make it harder for music rights holders to agree to future license deals with sites like TikTok and Triller. The decision was made as part of the European Union’s Copyright Directive. The European Parliament approved the Directive in 2019, with the 27 member states of the European Union given two years to adopt its terms into national law.

    Universal Music’s New Policy Presents a Speed Bump for Royalty Sales

    Universal Music Group (UMG) announced this week that it will no longer be accepting letters of directions (LODs) for the sale of royalty streams, according to Billboard. UMG will now only pay artists and their creative collaborators, and any investors buying the rights to a percentage of that income will need to come to their own arrangements with creators to receive the royalties. The policy does not apply to publishing deals.

    Songwriters Demand Greater Transparency from the Copyright Royalty Board Over Mechanical Rates

    In an open letter to the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), songwriter organization Music Creators North America (MCNA) voiced their concerns about the statutory mechanical rate, which has remained at 9.1 cents per composition and copy since January 1, 2006. It was signed by the Songwriters Guild of America’s president, Rick Carnes, as well as MCNA officer and co-chair Ashley Irwin.

    NetEase Cloud Music to go Public in Spin-Off Listing

    NetEase Cloud Music will be spinning off in a public listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange under Cloud Village, the operator of the streaming service. NetEase’s monthly active users stands at 180 million in 2020, according to its filing.

    Compiled by Heidi Seo

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