November 19, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Tidal Launches Direct-to-Artist Payouts / Global Value of Music Copyright Up 2.7% in 2020 / Spotify Rolls Out Real-Time Lyrics
Tidal is now launching a free tier in the US as well as a new user-centric payment model for its premium subscription offerings, according to an announcement made on Wednesday. Rights holders will be paid based on the streaming activity of each individual subscriber on Tidal’s HiFi Plus tier.
An annual report on the “Global Value of Music Copyright” by former Spotify chief economist Will Page states that the calculated value of music copyright for 2020 totalled $32.5 billion, growing by 2.7%. “The driver of these changes is streaming: Its contribution to labels, publishers, and their CMOs has risen, from 22% in 2016 to 54% in 2020,” wrote Page.
Spotify has announced that it is introducing real-time lyrics that display during song playback on both of its free and subscription tiers. The lyrics are provided by Musixmatch, and users can see the lyrics scroll as they listen to a song and can also share selected lyrics on social platforms.
The MLC is now seeking suggestions for a music publisher representative to fill an open seat on its Operations Advisory Committee, which, according to the MMA, “makes recommendations to the Board concerning the operations of the Collective, including the efficient investment in and deployment of information technology and data resources.”
Spotify is expanding its service into six new countries, including Iraq, Libya, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo, making the streaming service available in 184 markets currently.
Investment vehicle Global Media & Entertainment Investments (GMEI) has ended its bid to acquire as much as 49.99% of US radio giant iHeartMedia after reporting that “iHeart didn’t want this, sparking a transcontinental tiff between the two radio industry giants”.
November 12, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Spotify Enters Audiobook Space / Peloton Reduces Annual Revenue Forecast / TME and Apple Music Ink Global Streaming Deal
According to Peloton’s fiscal Q1 2022 (calendar Q3 2021) results, the fitness company posted a 6% year-on-year increase, marking a significant deceleration compared to the prior year quarter, when Peloton’s revenues rocketed by 232% YoY. As a result, annual revenue forecasts have been reduced from $5.4 billion to between $4.4 and $4.8 billion total revenue.
Numerous Chinese musicians will now be able to stream their music globally on Apple’s platform after Apple Music announced that it reached an agreement with Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) this week. Music from record labels and artists that are part of TME Cloud Music will become available on Apple Music.
A judge in the US legal battle between Apple and Epic Games has ruled that Apple must now add links and buttons to alternative payment options in their apps. The company has an option to make a further appeal, but if not, the order takes effect from December 9.
Spotify recently announced the launch of a new Charts destination website that includes new Genre and Local charts, like City & Local Pulse Charts and Artist Charts. These will be available to all Spotify for Artists creators and Spotify listeners around the world, according to the announcement.
According to Tencent Music Entertainment’s financial results for Q2 2021, the company generated total revenues of RMB 7.81 billion (approx $1.21 billion) in Q3, representing an increase of 3% year-over-year. TME further explained that the 1.5% decline they saw in “Mobile MAUs – online music” was due “to churns of our casual users served by other pan-entertainment platforms”.
November 5, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Rising Potential of the Creator Economy / Mexico, Brazil Top Consumers of Music, Says IFPI / Apple Services Revenue Hits $18.3B
Mexico and Brazil both are the first and second countries where people consume most music per capita: 25.7 and 25.4 hours per week, respectively, compared to an average of 18.4 hours per week across the globe. The results were part of the IFPI’s recently released “Engaging With Music” report, which dug deep into the music consumption habits of 43,000 people in 21 countries.
The services division at Apple, which includes Apple TV+, Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud, reached nearly $18.3 billion in revenue during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2021. Apple CFO Luca Maestri told analysts that Apple services had 745 million paid subscribers, up from the “more than 700 million” disclosed during Apple’s last quarterly earnings call.
A new campaign by MusicFirst called “Music Fairness Awareness Month” for November is focusing on the lack of performance royalties paid by traditional radio broadcasters in the US. The pressure for this situation to change will be tied to the proposed American Music Fairness Act legislation that was introduced in June this year.
Snap’s shares tumbled 20% and Facebook missed revenue expectations after Apple’s iOS privacy changes, which requires apps to receive user permission to track their behavior across other apps and websites. However, Alphabet showed strong earnings in advertising revenue, demonstrating Google’s strong ad business, which was able to circumvent changes to ad targeting thanks to its dominance in search and the company’s ownership of the Android operating system.
According to figures published by Spanish industry body Promusicae, Spain showed a strong bounce back in their recorded music market, posting a 22% increase in revenues during the first half of 2021 to nearly €170 million. Streaming made up more than 70% of those revenues.
October 29, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – YouTube Ad Revenue Hits $7.2B / Global Royalties Collections Drops 10.7% in 2020 / Spotify Reaches 172M Subscribers in Q3
YouTube hit $7.2 billion in advertising revenue during Q3, close to surpassing Netflix’s reported advertising revenue of $7.5 billion in the same quarter. Google Advertising increased roughly by 5% in Q3 compared to last quarter.
According to a report published by CISAC, global music royalty collections dropped 10.7% in 2020 due to the pandemic, declining to a pre-2017 level of approximately $9.3 billion. Digital collections, on the other hand, were up by 16.2% in 2020. It surpassed live and background for the first time to become the second largest income stream.
In Spotify’s latest financial results for Q3 2021, global Premium subscribers grew to 172 million, up 19% year-on-year. The company’s total global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) also grew 19% year-on-year in the quarter.
Rep. Ted Deutch introduced a new bill called the Protect Working Musicians Act aiming to give independent music artists and labels the ability to bargain for higher royalty rates. The legislation is endorsed by the Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Artist Rights Alliance.
According to the CRB, Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora are proposing lower rates for publishers and songwriters for the period spanning 2023-2027. The rates that cover 2018-2022 are still under an Appeals Court remand, and it’s unclear if its previous determination will stand.
The Verge recently reported that Amazon is “building a new app, codenamed ‘Project Mic,’ that gives anyone the ability to make and distribute a live radio show, complete with music.” It will be similar to a crossover between Clubhouse and Spotify’s “Shows with Music” podcast format.
October 22, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – The MLC Signs Two New DQI Partners / US Senators Propose Anti-Competition Bill / Music Orgs Welcome CMA’s Streaming Market Study
According to a press release announced by The MLC, Simply Royalties and Verifi Media have now joined its Data Quality Initiative (DQI) Partner Program. There are now seven music data companies onboarded as official DQI partners. By working with The MLC, these companies will be able to help their clients and customers prepare and submit their files as part of the DQI to increase accuracy of musical works data.
US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Charles E. Grassley proposed a new bipartisan bill called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. If the legislation is passed, dominant online platforms like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook engaging in anti-competitive conduct could face harsh penalties.
Music industry groups like the record industry trade body BPI and indie organization AIM have welcomed the news that the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority will begin a study into the music streaming market in order to consider the dominance of the majors in recorded music and music publishing as well as how streaming monies are currently shared out across the music community.
The IFPI’s new “Engaging With Music” report announced that nearly two-thirds of global music consumption occurs on free, social and video platforms. The organization surveyed around 43,000 internet users aged 16-64 in 21 countries.
Liberty Media sold its entire stake in iHeartMedia, the largest radio broadcaster in the US. The company holds 78% of SiriusXM, which owns music streaming service Pandora, and 32% of Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter.
The UK Music’s annual report recently stated that COVID-19 wiped out 69,000 jobs, or one in three of the workforce. In the live sector where 75% of the workforce are self-employed, many were not covered by government support schemes. UK Music is calling on the government to take action.
Apple announced a new Voice Plan that costs $4.99 a month, and is tied to the Siri voice assistant rather than to a single device. Users will be able to access the whole Apple Music catalog, and skip songs as often as they like although they won’t get features like spatial and lossless audio, lyrics or music videos, which are reserved for the $9.99 individual and $14.99 family tiers.
October 15, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – NMPA Seeks 32.4% CRB Rate Increase / Latin Music US Revenues Up 37% Mid-Year / Royalty Shares Receive First SEC Qualification
Latin US recorded music revenues grew by 37% to $407 million for the first six months of 2021, according to the RIAA’s 2021 mid-year Latin revenue report. The genre now represents a 5.8% share of the overall U.S. market, which grew by 27% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
The SEC recently green-lit the sale of shares in a song for the first time, reported by fan investment platform and royalties marketplace SongVest. In a move to allow fans to invest in a secure online marketplace, SongVest says the song “Hit the Quan” by ILOVEMEMPHIS has received an SEC qualification to publicly sell Buck Nasty’s share of producer royalties from the song via its platform.
According to research firm eMarketer, for US listeners, Spotify is expected to grow from 83.1 million this year to 100.6 million by 2025, Amazon Music will grow from 49.8 million to 56.9 million, Apple Music will grow from 36.9 million to 40.6 million, and Pandora will fall from 54.2 million to 46.1 million. For paying subscribers, YouTube Premium is expected to grow from 29.5 million US subscribers in 2021 to 46.6 million by 2025.
Apple TV+, which has been available for almost two years now, is set to reach nearly 36 million subscribers by the end of 2026, states Digital TV Research. Competitors like Disney+ and Netflix are also set to reach 284.2 million and 270.7 million subscribers respectively by 2026.
October 8, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – YouTube Contributed $20.5 Billion to US GDP in 2020 / The MLC Presents “Junior Music Rights Week” / TikTok 2020 Revenues in Europe Up 545%
In a YouTube-commissioned study from Oxford Economics, titled The State Of the Creator Economy, YouTube contributed $20.5 billion to the US gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, as well as the equivalent of 394,000 full-time jobs. These numbers are up 23% and 14%, respectively, from the previous year in 2019.
The MLC is collaborating with the Save The Music Foundation on “Junior Music Rights Week” (October 11-15), an initiative aimed at helping young music creators between 13 and 18 years old learn more about the business side of the music industry and specifically, the mechanical licensing process. There will be two webinars and a virtual pop-quiz for participants to kick off the week.
The latest financial results filed by TikTok Information Technologies UK state that in 2020, TikTok’s revenues in Europe grew by 545% to $170.8 million. The company attributed the sharp increase in revenues to “a substantial increase in our user base which attracted more online advertisers and paying users”.
YouTube Music is set to roll out a background-listening option for ad-supported accounts in Canada “free of charge” on Wednesday, November 3rd, according to a company blog post. The music streaming service expects to launch the feature globally sometime down the line, albeit without disclosing an exact release date.
Chris Brown and Drake have been sued for copyright infringement by singer Brandon Cooper and producer Timothy Valentine for the 2019 song “No Guidance”. According to the lawsuit, it forged elements of their 2016 track “I Love Your Dress” by using similar beat patterns in the melody and lyrics used in the chorus/hook of “No Guidance”.
October 1, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Pex and WIPO Launch Copyright Dispute Resolution Service / NMPA and Roblox Sign New Agreement / TikTok Hits 1 Billion MAUs
Music licensing platform Pex has partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center to provide what they call the “first neutral, third-party copyright dispute resolution service” to address copyright infringement. The system is intended for use by creators, rights holders, platforms, and all those that create and house content. It will be made available within Pex’s Attribution Engine.
Roblox and the NMPA signed a new agreement that is expected to create future opportunities for collaboration between music publishers and creators. It will also settle any previous claims against Roblox filed by NMPA members, and additionally offer songwriters new ways to monetize their songs and catalogs.
TikTok has officially reached one billion monthly active users, the company announced this week. That is up from 689 million monthly active users counted in July 2020. Facebook has a reported 2.9 billion MAUs, YouTube has 2.3 billion, and Twitter has 206 million daily active users, for comparison.
In 2021, global music streaming has increased by 25.9% from the same period in 2020, says a new study of international music trends from MRC Data. The total amount of on-demand audio song streams from January through August of this year was 1.7 trillion, as opposed to 1.4 trillion during the first eight months of last year.
Media investment and intelligence company Magna reported that it must raise its forecast on US advertising spend this year, because it saw record growth of 32% during the first half of 2021. In June, Magna forecast a 15% increase in US ad spending. However, now it has boosted that projection to 23% to $277.6 billion.
September 24, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Twitch Inks Deal with NMPA / New “Credits Due” Initiative Launched / UK Government Responds to Music Streaming Economics Report
Twitch announced a new deal with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) this week for future collaborations and improvements on the gaming experience and songwriter exposure. Twitch additionally released a new process for music rights holders to report certain uses of their music in their streams.
The Ivors Academy and Music Rights Awareness announced at the Ivor Novello Awards that they are teaming up on a new initiative called Credits Due to make sure all songs are tagged with the creator identifiers and role codes that services need to pay composers. Creators are now also able to register metadata on Sessions software that plugs into various music production tools.
The UK Government responded to a recent music streaming economics report, calling for a market study on the economic impact of the three major labels as well as for the introduction of a right to equitable digital music remuneration.
The MLC is commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month in September with a new initiative – “El MLC en Español” – that is designed to engage both current and prospective Spanish-speaking Members of The MLC and officially kick off the availability of Spanish-language resources to those individuals and groups.
Universal Music Group saw its shares jump in their stock market debut on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange on Tuesday. The stock closed at 25.10 euros ($29.43), bringing the company’s market value to 45.51 billion euros ($53.35 billion).
According to new reports, TikTok owner ByteDance is potentially releasing a streaming service “tentatively named Feile, and internally referred to as Luna,” which will expectedly launch later this year. ByteDance previously developed and launched a new music streaming service called Resso in India last March of 2020.
Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by the musical group Epikker for not properly crediting their song “Vibeking” on The Weeknd’s 2018 single “Call Out My Name”. According to the lawsuit, the two tracks have the same time signature and similar tempos.
September 17, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – YouTube Largest Content Licensor in the World / Recorded Music Revenues Up 27% in H1 2021 / Apple Music Adds DJ Mixes via Shazam
YouTube is now the largest content licensor in the world, according to YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl in an announcement at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention. He mentioned that the company’s partner program covers about 2 million creators, paying out $30 billion to them over the past three years.
In the RIAA’s latest mid-year report, recorded music revenues in the US grew 27% in the first half of 2021 over 2020. Paid subscriptions were the strongest contributor to growth, comprising nearly two-thirds of total revenue. Streaming accounted for 84% of all revenues, up 26% year over year, due largely to new licensing deals with companies like Facebook and Peloton.
In a company announcement, Apple Music stated it is streaming DJ mixes on its platform via the use of Shazam technology. Now, all rights holders on a mix can be identified and paid through a system that was developed as a result of Apple Music working with major and independent labels.
The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games was recently settled this week, ruling that Apple did not show antitrust conduct. However, the company must now allow developers to tell consumers how to make purchases outside of apps. Epic Games sued Apple a year ago to bypass the 30% commission that it takes on in-app purchases.
Global digital rights agency Merlin has extended and enhanced its existing music licensing partnership with India-based music streaming service JioSaavn. The deal enables Merlin’s membership to increase their presence in South Asia, and allows JioSaavn’s catalog offering to be expanded to its worldwide audience.
Universal Music Group posted its 306-page prospectus for investors this week ahead of its upcoming public listing, revealing that catalog music accounted for 54% of its recorded music revenues in 2020. Meanwhile: “No single artist accounted for more than 1%, and the top 50 artists only accounted for 23%, of UMG’s recorded music revenue in 2020.”
September 10, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – BMI Distributes $1.335 Billion / Gen Z Finds New Music via Video Games / Ad-Supported Streaming More Cost-Friendly Option
According to a US Music 360 report by MRC Data survey from July 2021, 28% of Gen Z music listeners use video games to discover new music. A large majority of those survey respondents also choose streaming, with 51% of music listeners saying that they had discovered new artists through audio and video streaming platforms.
A recent study from the National Research Group and Roku stated that 70% of survey respondents are more willing to choose ad-supported streaming if it meant monthly subscription costs would be lower. Additionally, nearly a third of respondents said that they added a new ad-supported free streaming service to their entertainment diets, according to the study.
App Annie recently reported that US mobile phone users watch an average of 24 hours of TikTok content per month, and an average of 22 hours and 40 minutes of YouTube content per month. They also announced that TikTok remains the most downloaded app globally.
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) made comments on music industry issues based on a recent music streaming economics inquiry report in the UK. FAC boss David Martin suggested that within the artist community, featured artists and artists signed to a label might have different viewpoints on streaming economics. The two companies also commented on the economic impact of major record companies in the music rights market.
September 2, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – YouTube Music Reaches 50M Subscribers / Apple Changes App Store Rules / Pershing Square Invests Another 2.9% in UMG
Apple will now allow companies like Spotify and Netflix to include web page links within their iOS apps in the App Store for subscribers to directly sign up to the service. The change was made as a result of an investigation by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission.
Vivendi announced that Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings is acquiring another 2.9% of Universal Music Group for just under $1.15 billion. This follows their 7.1% acquisition for $2.8 billion, totaling the stake to 10% of UMG’s share capital. The music company plans to go public as early as next month.
Users part of Facebook Gaming’s Partner and Level Up programs will now be able to play songs from a wide catalog of popular music thanks to multi-year music licensing agreements with various music companies signed one year ago. Facebook has also been testing its content recognition system to better handle copyright violations.
PPL and Veva Sound have partnered up to tackle dodgy metadata by starting up a new service called Veva Collect: a “secure, cloud-based file sharing credits platform”. “Verification partners” like PPL will now be identifying recording artists with an International Performer Number (IPN) in order to ensure that recordings credits have the accurate data to get musicians paid.
YouTube recently announced that it is expanding its “Copyright Match Tool” to allow rights holders who successfully submit a copyright removal to access the tool as well as the ability to submit requests that YouTube prevent copies of the same content from being uploaded in the future.
Apple has acquired classical music streaming service Primephonic, which offers a listening experience with search and browse functionality optimized for classical, premium-quality audio, handpicked expert recommendations, and extensive contextual details on repertoire and recordings. Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface.
August 27, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – Spotify Drops Podcast Listener Contact List / Olivia Rodrigo Adds Paramore as Co-Writers / TikTok Creators Turn to YouTube Shorts
Olivia Rodrigo retroactively added two Paramore members, Hayley Williams and Josh Farro, as co-writers on her hit single “Good 4 U”. She previously added Taylor Swift and co-writers to the credits of her song “Déjà vu” and “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” during the time of its release. The names are now listed in ASCAP’s Repertory database.
Three TikTok creators – Alyssa McKay, Katie Feeney, and Hannah Montoya – saw huge success on YouTube Shorts after posting a few of their videos on the platform and seeing noticeable gains in subscriber growth. Feeney, popular on TikTok with 6.3 million followers, gained 750,000-plus subscribers in three months.
On August 20, Spotify announced that it is beginning a stock repurchase program at the start of the third quarter of 2021. The company has approved repurchases up to the amount of $1 billion and 10 million of the firm’s ordinary shares. SPOT’s share price shot up by over 6% on the New York Stock Exchange at the time of publishing the buyback news.
YouTube’s Partner Program (YPP) now counts more than two million creators monetizing their content, says chief product officer Neal Mohan in a blog post this week. According to YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, the number of channels joining the YPP doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.
A lawsuit filed against H.E.R., DJ Camper, Justin Love and Sony Music Entertainment, over the 2016 song “Focus,” has reached a settlement. The complaint alleged that the song intentionally infringed upon Andre Sims’ original composition “Endless Minds” without receiving his consent or giving him compensation. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
August 20, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Facebook Reels is now being rolled out in the US, a new short-form video feature launched earlier this year in India, Mexico, and Canada. Facebook users can choose songs from Facebook’s music library, record their own original audio, or even use someone else’s audio if their Reels are set to public.
Spotify has recently hired Copyright Office exec Regan Smith to fill their head of public policy and government affairs role. Smith had worked at the Copyright Office for several years as former general counsel and associate register of copyrights, handling regulation, litigation, and other legal affairs.
On August 17, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) was hit with a lawsuit pertaining to its failed attempt to invest in Universal Music Group (UMG). The suit alleges that PSTH is not a proper special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), but rather an investment firm, and requests damages reflecting PSTH’s “breach of fiduciary obligations” under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
With the increase in live music outings in the UK, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) has gathered opinions from music fans and venues alike about concerts’ return. Among 1,891 fans surveyed, 8.9% would like to see music events requiring “certification of health status” for attendees. In addition, over two thirds of venues surveyed reported that their advance ticket sales are down compared to pre-COVID-19.
After being hit with regulatory penalties and seeing its share tumble to record lows, Tencent Music Entertainment, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, will be adjusting its business model to downplay music streaming and control of exclusive content. “We would like to reiterate that TME sincerely accepts the decision issued in July by the regulator pertaining to exclusive music licensing arrangements. We are committed to fully complying with all requirements in a timely manner,” said Cussion Pang, executive chairman.
August 13, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
US Senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn and Amy Klobuchar have proposed the Open App Markets Act to regulate the Apple and Google app stores. If passed, the new laws would ban Apple from obliging app-makers to use its proprietary payment system and App Store.
Vivendi recently sold 7.1% of its company Universal Music Group (UMG) to Bill Ackman’s investment firm, Pershing Square Holdings, for $2.8 billion. The deal values UMG at 35 billion Euros, or around $41 billion.
Major labels Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music have filed a second lawsuit against Charter Communications, alleging that the company has allowed thousands of its subscribers to infringe copyright during the period July 26, 2018 to present. The first lawsuit was filed against Charter in March 2019.
YouTube released a new gesture control on the Android version of its app that will allow users to navigate video “Chapters” by double-tapping with two fingers. Chapters, delineated sections of a video within the scrubbing timeline, was first tested in April 2020. The gesture control feature was subsequently rolled out a month later.
In the first half of 2021, Germany’s recorded music revenues grew by 12.4% year-on-year to €903.8 million (around $1.06 billion), according to German industry body BVMI. Streaming was up by 19.9% to account for 70.6% of the market.
A new Financial Times report released by people familiar with the matter states that after shelving tentative plans for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in April, TikTok owner ByteDance expects to list on the Hong Kong market in the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022.
August 6, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration
Exploration Weekly – The MLC Releases 2nd Educator Toolkit / Spotify Plus in Testing / #FrozenMechanicals Artist Campaign
A new ad-supported subscription tier is being tested by Spotify. Called Spotify Plus, the potential offering will allow users to play songs of their choice, with unlimited skips, for $0.99 a month. Right now, it is being tested with a “limited number of users,” says a Spotify spokesperson.
Songwriters and artists rights campaigners Helienne Lindvall, David Lowery and Blake Morgan recently submitted comments to the Copyright Royalty Board, protesting the 9.1¢ mechanical rate that has remained static since 2006. In an artist campaign called #FrozenMechanicals, advocates are calling for an un-freezing and gradual increase in the rate.
According to The Verge, YouTube is reportedly testing a new subscription tier called Premium Lite in select European countries for €6.99/month. It expects to offer ad-free viewing, but no offline downloads, background playback, and access to original content, which is included in a full-fledged Premium subscription.
LyricFind has launched a new lyric video creation tool for artists and labels to use for free. They will be able to use custom backgrounds, fonts and visualizers to animate a track’s lyrics in seconds.
China-based video game company NetEase has secured approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to spin off its music streaming subsidiary, Cloud Village, which runs the popular NetEase Cloud Music streaming service. The move arrives as surging streaming revenues have invigorated investor interest in music from around the world.
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 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
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
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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’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 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.
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 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
Powered by Exploration