Industry Announcements

    May 20, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – French Record Business Legalizes Minimum Streaming Royalty Rates / PPL Revenues Up 12% in 2021 / Latin Surpasses Country Music


    The French recording industry recently signed a “historic” deal, effective July 1, that would require record companies to pay minimum royalty rates for artists and performers from music streams on different streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube. Labels trade body SNEP, SCPP, and SPPF have all signed onto the pact.


    Music collection society in the UK, PPL, posted a 12% rise in revenues in 2021 YoY, making this the second highest ever annual total for the organization. Distributions to performers and recording rights holders, on the other hand, were down 15% year-on-year due to PPL’s claim of the negative impacts of the pandemic during 2020.


    According to Luminate via Billboard, the week ending May 12 marked Latin’s highest streaming week to date with over 1.8 billion weekly ODA streams, surpassing the country genre. Bad Bunny’s new album “Un Verano Sin Ti” has claimed 18% of all US Latin on-demand streams in a historic shift.


    After listing on the NASDAQ in New York three months ago, music streaming service Anghami posted a 16% increase year-over-year in total revenue during 2021. The platform’s advertising revenues also grew by 70%.


    Swiss / Liechtensteinian collecting society SUISA has filed a lawsuit in the Hamburg District Court against Snapchat’s parent company Snap for copyright infringement. According to the filing, the SUISA Digital subsidiary has made “repeated attempts to license Snapchat for almost two years” without success.


    YouTube announced at its Brandcast event that the company reached more than 230 million people aged 18+ in the US in October 2021, with that reach including 96% of the US population aged 25-54. These figures were pulled from research firm Nielsen.


    May 13, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – SoundExchange, VEVA Sound Enter Data Partnership / MMF Drops the “Song Royalties Manifesto” / Amazon Music Expands to Argentina


    A new data-sharing partnership has been made between VEVA Sound and SoundExchange in order to increase accuracy and efficiency in royalty payments. Utilizing cloud-based technology, VEVA Collect compiles all creator credits and their associated audio assets to ensure fair compensation.


    The Music Managers Forum (MMF) dropped a new report called the “Song Royalties Manifesto” in order to lay out a three-step plan to increase opportunities for songwriters and composers to get paid. The list begins by first making sure that every song’s data is accurately logged with an ISWC code before any recording is released.


    Amazon Music has launched in Argentina as part of its LATAM expansion, following its recent launches in Colombia and Chile in 2021. Listeners will be able to access the ad-supported and full music-subscription tier.


    According to a study from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), U.S.-based ad sales on podcasts are claimed to “exceed” $2 billion by the end of 2022, will hit $3 billion next year, and will cross $4 billion by 2024.


    iHeartMedia reported $69 million in podcast revenue during the first quarter of 2022 while total revenue reached roughly $843.5 million, surpassing Wall Street expectations. The company is continuing to expand in podcasting, following a recent investment in Sounder in February.


    Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) recently proposed legislation called the Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022 that limits copyright protection of existing copyrights to 56 years. The senator is targeting Disney for extending its copyright in 1976 and in 1998.


    May 6, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Songwriter Mechanical Rates Increase to 12¢ Per Song / New Ad Spots on Top 4% TikTok Videos / Dance Music Sector Up 71% in 2021


    A settlement has been reached between the RIAA, NMPA, and NSAI to increase the mechanical rate for physical and download sales to 12 cents per song – up from the 9.1 cent rate that has been in place since 2006. The trade bodies filed a motion yesterday to the Copyright Royalty Board, which is currently in process of setting rates for the 2023-2027 term.


    According to TikTok, select creators of the top 4% of videos will be allowed to participate in the company’s new ad program, TikTok Pulse. Marketers can buy ad spots on these videos, which are determined by brand suitability, viewer engagement, video views, and “creator engagement signals”.


    In an annual report published by the International Music Summit (IMS), the dance and electronic music sector saw revenues increase by 71% in 2021, representing a significant recovery following the major impact of COVID in 2020.


    ByteDance-owned Douyin released a beta music subscription service in China called Qishui Yinyue this week. The app will only be available in China. The country was the 10th largest recorded music market in the world in 2021, according to IFPI.


    MCPS, the UK’s mechanical rights collecting society, confirmed that monies distributed to its music publisher and songwriter members last year were up 15% year-on-year. This is the highest pay out by MCPS since 2009.


    April 29, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – YouTube Ad Revenues Up 14.4% in Q1 2022 / The MLC Seeking Publisher Candidates / Spotify’s Q1 Revenue Grows 24%


    YouTube’s advertising revenues were up 14.4% year-on-year to $6.87 billion for the first quarter of 2022, Alphabet announced this week. YouTube Shorts is now averaging more than 30 billion daily views, double the Q2 2021 figure, said Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.


    The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is currently accepting suggestions of Publisher candidates for its Board of Directors and Unclaimed Royalties Oversight, Dispute Resolution and Operations Advisory committees until May 26, 2022.


    And Spotify’s first quarter revenue of 2022 grew 24% year-on-year to $2.96 billion, which was also a 1% dip from Q4’s revenue. The company also counted a total of 182 million paid users and 252 million ad-supported listeners in its latest earnings release.


    According to SoundCloud, 135,000 indie artists are now getting paid through Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR), marking a 30% growth in the volume of artists who have signed up to monetize their music via FPR on the platform since March 2021.


    The Apple services division, comprising Apple TV+, Apple Music, iCloud and the App Store, totaled $19.8 billion in revenue during the second quarter of the fiscal year, up from $19.5 billion in Q1. It now has 825 million paying subscribers, says Apple CFO Luca Maestri.


    PRS for Music posted a 22.4% YoY revenue increase in 2021, despite public performance nearly 40% beneath pre-pandemic totals. Online plays was the main driver of its 2021 revenue growth, with the category up 45.6% YoY.


    SiriusXM announced Thursday that the company lost subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 but improved net income to $317 million on revenue of $2.19 billion. Pandora, SiriusXM’s internet music streaming platform, lost 65,000 self-pay subscribers in the quarter, its third consecutive decline.


    April 22, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Exploration Weekly – Netflix Loses 200K Subscribers in Q1 / RIAA & Major Labels Appeal to Keep Mechanical Rate / Spotify Releases Video Podcasts


    Netflix posted a loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter on Wednesday with shares of Netflix falling 35.1%. Music companies Spotify, Tencent Music Entertainment, and Cloud Village also saw their own shares fall, leaving investors to question the state of the current streaming market.


    The RIAA and major labels filed a motion with the CRB to keep the 9.1 cent mechanical royalty rate on physical and download format sales. It also requested that the CRB extend the response period to 60 days, instead of requiring participants in the proceeding to respond by April 22.


    As of yesterday, all creators in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia are now allowed to upload their own video podcasts to Spotify via distribution company Anchor. The streaming service announced that creators will also be able to receive 100% of revenue until the end of this year.


    According to the South China Morning Post, TikTok parent ByteDance launched a new music streaming service in China, called Qishui Yinyue. The new app will operate similarly to Resso, and is currently in beta with an invitation code required to use it.


    California federal judge Otis D. Wright ruled that Post Malone must stand trial in a copyright lawsuit that claims he failed to credit a co-writer (Tyler Armes) of his hit “Circles”. Armes may have allegedly played a key role during an August 2018 studio session for an earlier song before “Circles” was released.


    An annual report by German collecting society GEMA revealed that its revenues grew by 8.4% year-on-year in 2021. After expenses, its distributable amount grew by 9.9%, which is a bounce-back from the first year of the pandemic.


    April 15, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Latin Music US Recorded Revenues Up 35% in 2021 / Digital Audio Ad Revenue Outpaces Streaming Video / Deezer to IPO via SPAC


    The latest report by the RIAA announced that Latin music recorded revenues in the US last year hit a record high of $886 million, up 35% compared to 2020. This is the sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth in revenue for the music category.

    According to the IAB, podcasts and streaming for music and radio reached a total of $4.9 billion in ad revenue during 2021, outpacing streaming video, social media, search, and display advertising growth. Mobile devices accounted for 85% of the category’s total revenue.


    Deezer is reportedly trying to go public again after its last attempt fell apart in 2015 on the Paris stock exchange due to difficult “market conditions”. The Wall Street Journal sources say that Deezer is nearing a deal to file a public listing via a SPAC merger.


    Live audio chatroom app Spotify Greenroom is now being rebranded as Spotify Live and incorporated into its main streaming app, said Spotify on Tuesday. The feature allows users to participate in group audio conversations with a capacity of up to 1000 people.


    Record industry trade body BPI announced that indie recordings in the UK saw its fourth consecutive year of growth in terms of consumption share last year. This category accounted for 26.9% of UK music consumption in 2021, up from 25.9% in 2020.


    Deezer unveiled a new real-time translated lyrics feature on its platform this week. The company will provide translations in French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, accessed through a “With Translation” button, and available on Deezer’s web, desktop, and mobile apps.


    April 8, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Amazon Music Prices Increase / Viewers Overwhelmed by Streaming Overload / MLC Appoints Two Advisory Committee Positions


    As of May 5, Amazon Music Unlimited subscription prices are rising by a dollar for Prime members. The individual plan is increasing from $7.99 to $8.99 per month, and the single-device plan is rising from $3.99 to $4.99 per month.


    A recent Nielsen report revealed that according to its survey, 46% of streaming consumers feel overwhelmed by the number of platforms and titles available to them. However, viewers are not planning to slow down as 93% of respondents said they would keep the paid streaming services they have or add more over the next year.


    Spirit Music Group exec Melanie Santa Rosa and drummer/composer Nate Smith have both been appointed to two advisory committee positions at the MLC. Santa Rosa is now part of the Operations Advisory Committee, and Smith is appointed to the Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee.


    SOCAN saw collections rebound 6.4% to 416 million Canadian dollars ($325.5 million) from the prior year despite the pandemic’s lingering economic impact in 2021. The increase was driven by 29.8% growth in digital collections.


    Ed Sheeran recently won a copyright suit in UK court over his 2017 hit “Shape of You” after a judge ruled that the musician did not infringe a 2015 song titled “Oh Why” released by artist Sami Chokri.


    The analytics firm Data·ai published its latest “State of Media & Entertainment on Mobile” report, revealing that consumer spending on music and audio apps in 2021 grew by 29% year-on-year to $1.95 billion.


    April 1, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – CRB Drops 9.1 Cent Mechanical Rate / Music Catalog Sales Up 180% in 2021 / SoundExchange Unveils $235 Million Payout for Q1 2022


    The CRB has agreed to drop the 9.1 cent mechanical royalty rate that songwriters and music publishers will earn from the sale of songs during the upcoming 2023-2027 rate period. All participants must now either come up with a new rate settlement or the rate will have to be litigated.


    According to MIDiA Research, music catalog sales were up 180% in 2021 year-over-year, totaling $5.3 billion that investors spent on publishing catalogs, recorded music catalogs, and producer royalties. Of the 131 deals tracked, 76% include publishing rights and 49% feature master royalty rights.


    SoundExchange distributed $235 million during Q1 2022 for a total of over $9 billion since 2003, reported SoundExchange execs this week. The organization’s president and CEO Michael Huppe touted live music’s ongoing comeback and technology’s role in the space.


    According to the UK’s Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), the company paid out almost $35 million in international revenue to some 26,000 rights holders and performers for Q1 2022. A total of 41 global CMOs paid into the estimated sum.


    Cloud Village saw its revenues grow by 42.9% to just around US $1.1 billion in 2021 as a whole. Like rival Tencent Music, Cloud Village’s revenues are split between online music (NetEase Cloud Music) and social entertainment services (for example livestreaming).


    Brazilian star Anitta reached the top of Spotify’s global Top 50 chart with her latest single “Envolver”, according to label WMG. The milestone means Anitta is the first Brazilian artist to reach the top of that chart, and also the first solo Latin woman artist to do so.


    March 25, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Global Music Sales Up 18.5% in 2021 / Google, Spotify Lower App Commission Fees / Spotify Paid Out $7B to Rights Holders in 2021


    The annual IFPI “Global Music Report 2022” announced that global music sales rose 18.5% in 2021 on the previous year, the highest growth rate ever recorded by the IFPI. Much of the growth attributed to a 21.9% increase in paid streaming subscription revenues and strong gains in physical record sales and performance rights.


    Users can now choose whether to subscribe to Spotify using Google Play or the streaming company’s payment services. In a new deal between Google and Spotify, the streaming service can now pay less in app commission fees when users choose the route of Spotify’s payment service. The feature is expected to roll out later this year.


    According to Spotify’s annual “Loud and Clear” report, the company paid $7 billion in royalties to rights holders in 2021. These payments go to labels, publishers, distributors, performance rights organizations, and others, according to the report, which then gets divided up depending on the artist or songwriter’s contract.


    ASCAP announced that it collected $1.335 billion in 2021, up by just 0.6% over the previous year. This was the smallest in monetary terms for ASCAP since 2013. The CEO Elizabeth Matthews primarily attributed this year-on-year fall in performance royalties on “business closures and the lack of vaccinations” in certain non-US territories.


    Italy’s recorded music market saw a 27.8% growth year-on-year in 2021, according to Italian industry body FIMI. That included 24.6% growth for streaming revenues, thus accounting for just under 63% of the market.


    In an announcement on Monday, Tencent Music Entertainment unveiled that its revenue from music streaming fell 1.4% to US $1.19 billion in the fourth quarter. Total revenue in 2021, however, was up 7.2% from 2020, mostly driven by a 36.1% subscriber growth to TME’s investment in original content production.


    This week, Lizzo’s 2019 copyright case for her hit “Truth Hurts” was put to rest per a joint filing from all involved parties. Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Justin “Yves” Rothman had purported to have co-written an unreleased Lizzo demo entitled “Healthy” months before “Truth Hurts” was released.


    March 18, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – P-MRC Data Rebrands as Luminate / Katy Perry Wins “Dark Horse” Copyright Lawsuit / UK Record Industry Revenues Up 12.8% in 2021


    Music and entertainment data analytics company P-MRC Data has rebranded as Luminate. It will be pulling the same dataset encompassing music sales, consumption, and consumer engagement, and will continue to power Billboard’s music charts.

    A federal appeals court recently ruled in favor of Katy Perry in the “Dark Horse” copyright infringement lawsuit against rapper Marcus Gray (aka Flame). The initial jury verdict in 2019 finding Perry liable was overturned once again last week after its first time in 2020 when a judge ruled that the eight-note “ostinato” Perry allegedly copied lacked the “quantum of originality” to warrant copyright protection.


    According to trade body BPI, UK record industry revenues grew by 12.8% in 2021, driven mostly by streaming, the UK record industry’s biggest revenue generator. Premium streaming revenues were up 13% and income from ad-funded video platforms like YouTube were up 22.6%.


    Recorded music revenues in France topped $1 billion in 2021, representing 14.3% year-on-year growth. The results were published on March 15 by French trade body SNEP, and included that streaming made up 97% of total digital revenues in 2021, generating $581.5 million.


    The Motion Picture Association (MPA) also announced that there were 1.3 billion online video subscriptions at the end of 2021, up 14% year-on-year. The latest figures from the IFPI, for comparison, counted 443 million users of paid music streaming subscriptions in 2020.


    The IFPI has opened a new Southeast Asia regional office in Singapore with Simon Seow appointed to the newly created role of IFPI Regional Director, Southeast Asia. Seow is expected to lead IFPI’s work in the region to promote recorded music, expand its commercial uses and campaign for the rights of record producers, says IFPI.


    March 11, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – US Recorded Music Revenues Hit $15B in 2021 / TikTok Unveils Its Own Music Distribution Service / PPL Supports Iceland’s SFH

    In 2021, US recorded music revenues reached $15 billion at retail, according to the RIAA’s annual year-end report. This figure was up 23% overall over the $12.1 billion clocked in 2020.

    TikTok has released its own promotion and music distribution platform called SoundOn this week. The service is already live in the UK, US, Brazil, and Indonesia. It allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok, RESSO, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and others.


    UK collecting society PPL is providing international royalty distribution services to its Icelandic counterpart, SFH. The new partnership is an effort to increase the amount of money distributed by SFH, and make the payment of royalties by SFH more accurate and efficient, states PPL.


    In a report by Bloomberg, YouTube is “extending offers of $50,000 to individual shows and $200,000 and $300,000 to podcast networks” in hopes of nurturing a new generation of video podcast hits, encouraging shows to produce video as well as audio versions.


    Dua Lipa was hit with two copyright infringement lawsuits in the past week for her global hit “Levitating”. According to multiple media reports, the first was filed by Artikal Sound System for their 2017 track “Live Your Life”, and the second was filed by songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer for their 1979 song “Wiggle and Giggle All Night” and 1980 song “Don Diablo”.


    March 4, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Epic Games Acquires Bandcamp / ASCAP Collects Record $1.34B in 2021 / ARIA Charts Incorporate YouTube Streaming Data

    Epic Games has acquired Bandcamp, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Epic Games, the two “share a mission of building the most artist-friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money.” Bandcamp will continue to be led by CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond.

    In the US, ASCAP has hit a new record for annual collections in 2021, reaching $1.34 billion. The PRO paid out $1.25 billion to more than 850,000 songwriter, composer and publisher members from last year’s collections.


    Effective as of March 4, YouTube data will be collected from logged-in users and contribute to all streaming charts released by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). This extension, says ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd, is “helping us to depict an even broader picture of Australia’s music consumption week to week.”


    In a new announcement, TikTok is expanding its max video length from three minutes to ten. The ByteDance-owned app launched in 2016 with a maximum length of 15 seconds. The company has been testing ten-minute uploads with some users since August 2021.


    According to the German Music Industry Association (BVMI), Germany’s record business revenues topped $2 billion (on a retail basis) for the second year in a row in 2021. The largest share (76.4%) of the market’s recorded music revenues came from digital music, up 17.7% versus the prior year.


    In a new legal complaint, five members of indie group Artikal Sound System are alleging that Dua Lipa copied their 2017 song “Live Your Life” for her 2020 release “Levitating”. Other songwriters and producers are also named as defendants, such as Clarence Coffee Jr. and Bosco Kante.


    February 25, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Facebook Reels Go Global / YouTube’s Brandcast to be Held During TV’s Upfront Week / RMLC, ASCAP Reach Interim Deal

    Facebook Reels Go Global with More Ways for Creators to Earn

    In a recent announcement, Meta will be rolling out Reels on Facebook in more than 150 countries in iOS and Android apps with banner and sticker ads being placed as overlays on Reel videos and video creators earning a share of the revenues.


    YouTube, for the first time, will hold its annual Brandcast event during TV’s upfront week on May 17 with an option to livestream the show. This means the advertising event will be held alongside similar events held by The Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, and more. YouTube vp Debbie Weinstein wrote in a blog post this week that it will “feature top creators and music talent”.


    The RMLC and ASCAP have reached an interim licensing agreement as both parties continue to work toward a long-term deal. The previous licensing deal covered 2017 through 2021, and expired on Dec. 31, 2021. The RMLC, also known as the Radio Music License Committee, represents roughly 10,000 US radio stations and uses blanket licenses to cover the use of songs on those stations.


    The US Copyright Office has rejected a second request to copyright a picture called ‘A Recent Entrance to Paradise’ created by an algorithm called Creativity Machine. The registered author of a piece of AI-created music will remain either the developer of the AI, or (if different) the person pushing the button to make it create.


    In a Twitter post by YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan, YouTube creators will now be able to signify that they are live by showing their profile pictures to be encircled by rings when they are in the midst of a stream, with the word “Live” written below.


    February 18, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Apple Music Spatial Audio Rapidly Growing / YouTube Ads Raked In $28.84B in 2021 / Billboard, MRC Data Drop International Charts

    According to Apple Music, Spatial Audio, the company’s version of Dolby Atmos Music, has seen an increase in listeners, reporting quadruple plays of Spatial Audio tracks since September. The catalog has additionally rapidly expanded, growing sevenfold since Spatial Audio became available last June.


    Alphabet recently reported that YouTube made $8.63 billion from advertising in Q4 2021. Adding to the $20.21 billion from ads in the first nine months of 2021, YouTube’s total ads business across the 12 months of 2021 raked in $28.84 billion. This is nearly double the equivalent figure ($15.15 billion) that YouTube generated from ads as recently as 2019.


    Billboard and MRC Data have partnered up to compile a new set of weekly “Hits of The World” charts, ranking the top 25 tracks in more than 40 countries worldwide based on streams and download sales. The new charts will be posted on Billboard’s website, with the data made available to MRC Data’s Music Connect subscribers.


    According to SoundCloud’s 2020 financials published this week, revenues grew by 31% to €193.5 million (around $219.6 million), and operating losses fell to €15.4 million in 2020. The company is also reportedly considering acquisitions, says their filing, as they “see an opportunity in the current consolidation activities within the wider industry”.


    Jon Glass of Warner Music Group (WMG) and Alasdair McMullan of Universal Music Group (UMG) have joined the SoundExchange Board of Directors. They will both lend business development expertise and legal acumen to the nonprofit, says SoundExchange.


    February 11, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – GMR and RMLC Settle Legal Dispute / The MLC Seeking Songwriter Candidates / Amazon Film, TV and Music Content Spending Up 18%

    A final settlement agreement has been set on a long-running legal dispute between the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR). In 2016, GMR filed a suit alleging unfair payment of songwriters. The RMLC represents the interests of around 10,000 commercial radio stations, and as of this week’s announcement, the committee has entered long-term licenses with GMR in order to settle the dispute.

    The MLC seeks songwriter candidates to be considered for seats on its Board of Directors, Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, and Dispute Resolution Committee. They must be professional songwriters who retain and license mechanical rights for songs they have written.


    Amazon’s spending on video and music content in 2021 hit $13 billion, up around 18%, according to its annual SEC filing. The expenses include licensing and production costs as well as costs associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content.


    PPL hit $127.4m of international collections in 2021, which was up 9.4% year-on-year. The company said that its work around improving recordings metadata and identifying usage of music helped it to grow those collections, along with partnerships with fellow societies around the world.


    Songwriters Braindon Cooper and Timothy Valentine are hitting back in a new legal filing accusing Chris Brown and Drake of ripping off one of their tracks on the 2019 hit “No Guidance”. Brown and Drake’s legal reps tried to dismiss the lawsuit last month, but the songwriters are pursuing to counter the motion.


    Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is hinting that the delay of the streaming service’s HiFi subscription tier is related to licensing issues, according to an announcement with analysts and investors during Spotify’s quarterly and annual earnings release.


    February 4, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – YouTube Sold $8.6 Billion in Ads / Spotify Reaches 180 Million Subscribers in 2021 / SiriusXM Adds Record 1.2 Million Subscribers

    In the fourth quarter of 2021, YouTube sold $8.6 billion in ads, about 25% above the $6.9 billion that it sold in the final quarter of 2020. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this brings YouTube’s 2021 ad revenue haul to $28.8 billion (not including revenues from its subscription services like YouTube Music).


    In the same quarter, Spotify’s global Premium Subscribers grew to 180 million, up by 5% from the prior quarter (Q3 2021), and up by 16% year-on-year. The streaming service’s Monthly Active User tally of 406 million was also near the top end of its guidance range, with much of its growth coming from India, Latin America, and Indonesia.


    Lastly, SiriusXM posted its Q4 financial report this week as well, revealing that it added around 1.2 million net new self-pay subscribers, taking its total to 32 million – a record for the company. Pandora, on the other hand, saw a decline in its listeners to 52.3 million, but a 30% increase in its advertising revenues to $1.54 billion.


    An entertainment tech start-up called WIO, launched WIOpro, a service that monitors airings of film and TV titles in 55 countries, allowing users to add titles to a “portfolio” in order to track usage and generate analysis reports.


    Saregama recently announced that it is planning a major investment in its music division. The Financial Express reported that the company has told analysts it is creating a fund of “up to Rs 750 crore” (around $100 million) to invest in music.


    January 28, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – CRB Judge Role Open / YouTube Channels Making >$10K Up 40% / Apple Services Hits Record $19.5B in Revenue
    A new job ad spotted by Music Business Worldwide indicates that the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is hiring a new Chief Copyright Royalty Judge to fill up the three-judge panel that conducts proceedings to determine songwriter streaming mechanical royalty rates between 2023 and 2027. Some qualifications include being an attorney in good standing with at least seven years’ legal experience and having at least five years in adjudication, arbitration, or court trials.

    In an open letter published by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to creators, Wojcicki writes that the number of YouTube channels around the world making more than $10,000 a year is up 40% year over year. She also adds that YouTube Shorts has now hit the milestone of 5 trillion all-time views, and Music and Premium subscribers have hit 50 million.


    In the first fiscal quarter of 2022, Apple services has reported $19.5 billion in revenue with Apple as a whole raking in $123.9 billion in sales, beating Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $118.3 billion in revenue, according to Yahoo Finance. The Apple services category is the second top revenue driver and includes Apple TV+, Apple Music, the App Store, and iCloud.


    UK competition regulator the CMA has officially launched its music streaming market study. Its first priority is to study “the nature of competition at different levels of the value chain, including the extent to which music companies and music streaming services may have market power.”


    Spotify for Artists now includes an educational website dubbed Made to Be Found in order to help artists better understand how users discover new music on the service by detailing editorial curation, personalized algorithmic recommendations and fan-led streaming.


    January 21, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – YouTube Music is Fastest Growing Western DSP / CRB Set to Determine Streaming Royalty Rates / YouTube Tests “Smart Downloads”

    According to a recent Midia Research study, streaming subscriptions grew by 26.4% worldwide in Q2 2021. Additionally, although Spotify had the highest market share among streaming services with 31%, YouTube Music showed the highest growth in the West by more than 50% during the 2020-to-2021 Q2 period.


    The CRB is expected to have new proposed streaming royalty rates by the end of this year, which will determine how much digital music services like Apple Music and Google must pay songwriters and music publishers for their work through 2027. The proposed rates for 2018 to 2022 are currently still under review by copyright judges after being overturned by the federal appeals court in August 2020.


    YouTube is considering adding “smart downloads” to its youtube.com/new hub, where it will detect when users are connected to wi-fi and use that connection to download up to 20 recommended videos per week to their device. This feature is already available to Premium YouTube Music subscribers.


    The Jimi Hendrix estate has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Jimi Hendrix Experience bandmates, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. The plaintiffs are demanding a restraining order barring the defendant estates “from claiming any rights of ownership or intellectual property rights” pertaining to the Jimi Hendrix Experience recordings.


    According to new data from Mobile Index reported by The Korea Times, YouTube Music has grown from a 1.7% share of the South Korean music streaming market in 2019 to 19.22% by the end of 2021. This puts the streaming service neck-and-neck with the second biggest service, Genie (19.24%). YouTube Music’s monthly active users grew from around 630,000 at the start of 2021 to 1.26m by the start of December.


    Brazil has 64 million monthly active users of audio platforms and around 18 million music streaming subscribers, according to the Brazilian Association of Independent Music (ABMI). Carlos Mills, president of the ABMI, told Music Ally that Spotify has around 60% of music streaming subscribers in Brazil, followed by Amazon Music.


    January 14, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Apple Services Hits 745M Subscriptions / Dark Horse Lawsuit Faces Skeptical Appeals Court / Germany Reaches 165B Streams in 2021


    Apple’s services division, which includes music, video, news, fitness, and cloud storage, hailed 745 million paid subscriptions in 2021. A few new features were also announced in the music department, such as lossless and spatial audio and lyrics sharing.

    On Tuesday, a federal appeals court was skeptical in reinstating a $2.8 million copyright verdict against Katy Perry over her 2013 song “Dark Horse”. Rapper Flame alleged that this work infringed the copyright of his earlier track “Joyful Noise”. The three-judge panel is set to weigh the merits of the case and issue a ruling in the months ahead.


    According to data published by GfK Entertainment and German Music Industry Association (BVMI), Germany reached 165 billion music streams in 2021, almost a fifth more than in 2020 (138 billion), over half more than in 2019 (108 billion streams), and twice as many as 2018 (80 billion streams).


    Digital rights licensing organization Merlin has announced its 2022 board of new and returning members. These seats are elected from and by Merlin’s members and includes representatives from across the world.


    Spotify’s high-quality audio tier, Spotify HiFi, is delayed indefinitely, according to an announcement by the company this week. The feature was set to launch previously in select markets in November. Other major streaming services like Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon Music have already introduced high-quality audio in the past.


    January 6, 2022 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – US Audio On-Demand Streams Up 26.3% and Vinyl Sales Up 51.4% / Winnie-the-Pooh Enters Public Domain / Grammys 2021 Postponed


    According to MRC Data’s 2021 year-end report, US on-demand audio streams are up 26.3% over 2020, and vinyl sales are up 51.4%, beating CD sales. In addition, catalog streams and sales account for more than 74% of music consumption during the year.

    Early sound recordings from 1926 like Winnie-the-Pooh are now in the public domain in the United States, according to a full list of works published by Duke University this year. Approximately 400,000 early sound recordings have been included as part of the 2018 Music Modernization Act.


    The 64th annual Grammy Awards are postponed amid the Omicron surge. The announcement was made by The Recording Academy on Wednesday January 5. The event was originally scheduled for January 31 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. It is expected to be postponed until spring, sources say.


    The IFPI recently developed a “music charts framework,” which will aim to standardize the inclusion of YouTube streams in official music industry charts. They will only count views from logged-in YouTube users and official music videos – so not UGC content.


    The US consumer technology industry is projected to generate a record $505 billion in retail sales revenue this year, states a forecast from the Consumer Technology Association, owner and producer of the CES Show. Spending on streaming services and software is expected to rise 6% over 2021, according to CTA’s projections.


    The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) recently announced that vinyl sales grew twice as fast as streaming in the UK last year, helping drive an 8.7% rise in overall music spending. However, digital music services like Spotify and YouTube Music account for almost 80% of recorded music spending in the UK.


    December 31, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – GMEI to Buy Up to 14.99% of iHeart / Taylor Swift Files to Dismiss “Shake It Off” Lawsuit / US and UK Vinyl Sales Reach Record Highs


    The FCC has recently approved investment entity GMEI to acquire up to 14.99% of the shares in American radio giant iHeart. Earlier this year, GMEI had already bought more than 5% of the company controlling approximately 6.6% of total equity and 8.7% of voting interests.

    Taylor Swift is filing another dismissal of the song-theft lawsuit over the lyrics of “Shake It Off” before it ends up in front of a jury. Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accused Swift of ripping off their 2001 song “Playas Gon Play” in 2017. After a first dismissal, the duo brought it to the appeals court and the case is now sent back to court again for take two.


    US and UK vinyl sales are continuing to grow, according to the BPI and MRC Data. In the US, fans have reportedly purchased 2.11 million vinyl albums during the seven days ending on December 23rd, the highest weekly total since at least 1991. And in the UK, domestic fans purchased over 5 million LPs in the year, marking an 8% improvement from 2020.


    In 2021, artists like Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, and Bad Bunny topped the major streaming services’ year-end charts, according to the Digital Media Association. The organization stated that streaming continued to rise this year, and that major hip-hop and reggaeton artists garnered many of the top spots in the year-end lists.


    Based on research from Insider Intelligence, TikTok is now bigger than both Snapchat and Twitter for global users, making it the third largest social network behind Facebook and Instagram. They further reported that “there will be 755.0 million monthly TikTok users in 2022,” defining TikTok users as “internet users of any age who access their TikTok account via any device at least once per month”.


    December 23, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – SoundExchange Royalties Dispute Going to CRB / YT Creators Can Now Appeal Monetization on Mobile / Indies 28% of 2020 Pub Market


    SoundExchange’s royalties dispute with US television service Music Choice has been decided that the case will be referred to the Copyright Royalties Board (CRB) for further investigation, rather than being heard in Federal court. SoundExchange launched the lawsuit to recover underpaid royalties in April 2019.


    YouTube creators now have the ability to appeal video monetization decisions on the Studio mobile app, a feature previously only available on desktop devices. To do so, they will have to navigate to ‘Content’, tap the yellow ‘$‘ icon, and then select ‘Request Review’.


    Independent publishers grew their share of the global music publishing market from 27% in 2019 to 28% in 2020, states a report by the industry body IMPF. This suggests that indies have around $1.92 billion of the estimated $6.8 billion global publishing market in 2020.


    African music streaming service Boomplay and independent label agency Merlin have agreed to an expansion of their licensing agreement, extending the availability of Merlin members’ music catalog to 47 additional countries in Africa. Merlin already signed a licensing deal covering 11 countries with Boomplay back in 2019.


    Beginning this month, YouTube creators in Pakistan, Ireland, Peru, and more will be eligible to receive monthly bonuses — ranging from $100 to $10,000 — for creating Shorts as part of YouTube’s efforts in expanding its Shorts Fund to 70 additional countries. The $100 million Fund was first announced in May in the US and India.


    December 17, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – Austria Proposes Copyright Law / TikTok Triples Songs Reaching Billion View Mark in 2021 / YouTube Organizes Subscriptions Feed


    Austria is set to pass a law as part of the European Copyright Directive that creates a limited exception for clips of less than 15 seconds shared on online platforms and offers uploaders to declare that their material does not infringe copyright when used as a parody or pastiche. A similar law was passed in Germany. Eight other countries including France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands have so far implemented the directive.

    In a recent “Year on TikTok 2021 Music Report,” the ByteDance-owned video platform announced that approximately 430 songs surpassed 1 billion video views in 2021, which was three times more than in 2020. Latin music was the fastest-growing genre on the platform in the US, and Hip-hop/rap was the most-popular genre amongst its users in 2021, according to the report.


    YouTube released its latest Creator Insider video, stating that it is currently testing a feature called Collections that will allow users to sort the creators and channels they’re subscribed to into specific categories. The Subscriptions Feed currently lists out videos in chronological order from every subscribed creator. Collections will let users create categories and sort channels into them.


    In a recent 2021 stats roundup for artists on Spotify, fans listened to artists’ music for 107.9 billion hours this year, covering the “Wrapped” data period from January 1 to November 27. That’s around 9.8 billion monthly listening hours.


    Tracklib released its 2021 State of Sampling report with some interesting data: 48% of the songs on the Grammy-nominated releases for Best Rap Album include samples; 54% of the albums that charted on Billboard during 2021 contains samples from other previously released songs; and Drake’s album “Certified Lover Boy” is the most sample-based album of all Billboard charting albums, with 15 samples.


    December 10, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – “Brennan Bill” Rejected in the UK / Global Advertising to Jump 22.5% in 2021 / Indie Label Revenue Hit 43.1% Market Share, Says Report


    Last week, the so-called “Brennan Bill”, which contained proposals for “Equitable Remuneration” and a “Right of Revocation”, was rejected by the British government. The legislation was expected to benefit artists and featured performers, but record labels voiced strongly against it.

    In 2021 and 2022, global advertising is set to grow faster than previously expected, says media investment firm GroupM. In 2025, global media revenue will additionally exceed the $1 trillion mark after hitting $999.9 billion in 2024, according to the latest estimates.


    In a new report by Midia, global indie label revenue is confirmed to total 43.1% market share when considered on a “label ownership basis” (i.e. who holds the copyright, not who distributes it). Mida adds that the majors’ previous market share of 66.1% contains revenue of indie labels which use the digital distribution platforms that are owned by the majors.


    YouTube posted its first ever Copyright Transparency Report, stating that 60% of copyright claims disputed by content creators were dismissed in their favor. The data in the report was from January to July 2021, representing a total of 722,649,569 copyright claims made through its Content ID system.


    SoundCloud CFO/COO Drew Wilson explained in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the platform will see changes to pricing in early 2022 and it will solidify its relationships with artists and find more new talent on its platform. The company, according to him, is also anticipating net profit by 2023.


    The Spotify for Artists platform has now been made available in 16 additional languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Czech, Dutch, European French, European Spanish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Malay, Polish, Spanish for Latin America, Swedish, and Turkish. The app allows artists and their managers to add a canvas, update bios, artist picks and playlists and enables them to track the performance of new releases.


    December 3, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – CRB Posts Latest Royalty Hike for 2022 / UK Streaming Bill Debate Scheduled / TikTok Reveals “Creator Next” Monetization Portal


    The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) recently announced a royalty increase on December 1 for record labels and performing artists in regards to a select type of streaming platforms. In 2022, subscription-based “non-interactive” streams will see a per-stream royalty rate increase from 0.26 to 0.28 cents, while non-subscription will see an increase from 0.21 to 0.22 cents. These royalties will be paid out by webcasters such as Pandora and iHeartRadio.

    Politicians in the UK are scheduled to debate a proposed law today on December 3 over higher artist royalties from music streaming platforms as well as reversion rights after a period of 20 years. The Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians) Bill, introduced by MP Kevin Brennan, contains four key clauses that could change royalty payout structures and contractual terms between music creators and labels and publishers.


    TikTok unveiled “Creator Next,” an opt-in monetization portal for creators who meet certain eligibility requirements – such as being 18 or older, having at least 1,000 video views and three posts in the last 30 days. Creators can also gain access to tools and features, like Tips and Video Gifts.


    On December 2, Chinese tech giant NetEase‘s subsidiary Cloud Village – which operates music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music – officially listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, raising approximately US $421 million at current exchange rates in its IPO. The share price was set at approx. US $26.3, which was the midpoint of the price range set in the company’s pre-IPO prospectus.


    In a recent survey published by Dolby, results showed that social media apps like TikTok are helping young people rediscover catalogue tracks from decades ago. In addition, more than two thirds of respondents said they spend more time listening to music than before the start of 2020.


    Spotify is reportedly testing a new vertically scrolling TikTok-style videos feed, says tech veteran Chris Messina and TechCrunch, after Messina spotted it in the new “Discover” button and feed in his Spotify app.


    According to a federal appeals court on Monday, Josh Groban’s 2003 hit “You Raise Me Up” didn’t infringe the copyright to a 1977 song, ruling that both songs were actually derived from the century-old folk song “Danny Boy.” This ended a three-year legal battle, upholding an earlier judge’s decision last year that the two songs originated in the famous folk ballad.


    November 26, 2021 – Industry Announcements powered by Exploration

    Exploration Weekly – New UK Copyright Bill Introduced / India Ranks Up on Global Music Rights Collections / TikTok and APRA AMCOS Sign Licensing Deal


    On November 24, UK labor politician Kevin Brennan introduced a new draft bill titled Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, Etc), in which a portion of artists’ UK streaming royalties could bypass the label system and get paid to performers directly via a collection society. The draft “Brennan Bill” seeks to write the model of Equitable Remuneration (ER) into UK law.

    According to new figures published by the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and CISAC, the royalty collection organization is now number 32 in the global rankings for music rights collections in 2020, up fourteen spots from the 2019 report. This was due to past settlements from TV and radio users as well as deals struck with Facebook and audio-streaming service Hungama Music.


    TikTok and APRA AMCOS have both entered into a new multi-year licensing deal, an agreement that will deliver a new revenue stream for the more than 111,000 songwriters, composers, and music publisher members part of the Australasian PRO.


    On December 2, Chinese technology giant NetEase Inc.’s subsidiary Cloud Village, which operates music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music, will list on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the symbol “9899.HK.” Sony Music Entertainment is buying shares in Cloud Village worth USD $100 million, as per an agreement signed by Cloud Village and Sony Music on November 22.


    According to TikTok global head of music Ole Obermann, the company has ambitions to create deals that cover B2B (commercial) usage by brands and businesses. He says the team at TikTok can “figure out ways that [they] could partner up with the rightsholders on both sides, publishing and master, in order to just make these clearances faster and easier and more user-friendly”.


    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 Launches Free Tier, Steps Into User-Centric Payments

    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.


    Global Value of Music Copyright Grew 2.7% to $32.5 Billion in 2020

    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 is Rolling Out Lyrics Across Its Apps Worldwide

    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 Seeking Suggestions for Music Publisher Representative to Serve on Operations Advisory Committee

    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 Expands Into Six New Countries, Including Venezuela and Iraq

    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.


    Global-Linked Investment Vehicle No Longer Pushing to Acquire Major Stake in iHeartMedia

    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

    Spotify is soon to acquire audiobook distribution company Findaway, marking the company’s first major acquisition in the audiobook space as it competes with other giants like Amazon’s Audible. The purchase is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year as it is pending regulatory approval.

    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 


    The creator economy is showing a lot of potential as established stars are seeking to grow their personal brands on a bigger array of digital platforms. According to research by YouTube and Oxford Economics, YouTube’s creator ecosystem contributed $20.5 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2020, and chief business officer Robert Kyncl expects the creator economy to “rival Hollywood in terms of economic impact and job creation”.

    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


    According to reports, the NMPA is seeking a 32.4% increase in the CRB headline rate to 20% of a digital service’s revenue for the Phonorecords IV (2023-2027). For comparison, Phonorecords III (2018-2022), was set at 15.1% of a service’s revenue in the final year. The CRB is yet to make a final decision on the rate for the next term as they will weigh the NMPA ask against what the digital services individually propose.

    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


    This week, BMI announced it has distributed and administered a record $1.335 billion to its songwriters, composers and publishers – its highest distribution ever. The company saw an 8% increase over last year, according to the announcement.

    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.


     

    Consumers Don’t Mind Ads If They Get Lower Streaming Subscription Prices, Study Says

    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


    YouTube Music’s free and paying subscribers reached 50 million subscribers recently, according to a blog post written by YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen. This is a 15 million subscriber increase since last October’s announcement made by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

    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


    Spotify is now allowing US-based podcast creators to download a contact list of their paid listeners along with a number of other podcast subscription options via the Anchor platform. Creators will still be able to keep all of their subscriber revenues until 2023, before a 5% fee kicks in.

    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

    Exploration Weekly – Facebook Reels Launches in the US / Spotify Hires Copyright Office Exec / Pershing Square’s SPAC Sued

    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

    Exploration Weekly – Apple & Google App Store Laws Proposed / Vivendi Sells 7.1% of UMG to Pershing Square / Majors Sue Charter Communications Again

    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 Sells 7.1% of Universal Music Group to Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square for $2.8 Billion

    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 Hit Charter Communications with Second Copyright Suit

    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.


    TikTok Owner ByteDance Plans Hong Kong IPO (Report)

    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 second version of The MLC’s Educator Toolkit has been released this week. The free resource provides college educators a guide to teach their students about the Music Modernization Act of 2018 and the landscape of US digital audio mechanical rights.

    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.


    NetEase Cloud Music Gets Approval for Spin-Off

    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 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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