“Mellow is the man who knows what he's been missing”
The Senate Judiciary Committee recently moved the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act out of committee this past Thursday. The legislation is aimed at streamlining copyright disputes, allowing for arbitration in a copyright small claims court, and it now faces the floor to be voted on by the full Senate. Creators can represent themselves or seek help from law students on a pro bono basis. And damages would be capped at $15,000 for each work infringed, and $30,000 in total. The bill was introduced on May 1 in the Senate by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA).
A recent report by Bloomberg’s Terminal states that Apple is about to make a major investment in creating its own original podcast content. This follows Spotify’s recent decisions to acquire podcast content and tools this year, including purchasing Gimlet Media and Anchor. Evidently, the company’s stock (SPOT) dipped down 3% around the time that the news was announced, only moments after its market cap reached its highest point of 2019 at market close, giving the company a valuation of $27.87 billion.
Sony is creating Sony Music Group by uniting its recorded-music operation - Sony Music Entertainment - and its publishing company - Sony/ATV - under one umbrella with SME chief Rob Stringer at the helm. The internal document obtained by Variety stated that the move will take effect on August 1, and that it was an effort made by Sony President/CEO Kenichiro Yoshida to streamline operations and increase interaction between the two companies.
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - July 19, 2019
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act this Thursday, bringing the legislation aimed at streamlining copyright disputes one step closer to becoming law. It now faces the floor to be voted on by the full Senate. If it does ultimately pass, the bill would create a copyright small claims court, allowing for arbitration, within the Copyright Office. Creators either have the choice to represent themselves within the system or seek the help of law students on a pro bono basis. Damages would be capped at $15,000 for each work infringed, and $30,000 in total. The Librarian of Congress will also staff three full-time “Copyright Claims Officers” to be appointed in the system. These officers would be tasked with rendering determinations on claims and counterclaims, along with conducting hearings, facilitating settlements, awarding relief, and maintaining records of each proceeding, among other duties. The bill was introduced in the Senate on May 1 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). Participation in the system is voluntary on both sides, as the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a trial by jury. The Copyright Alliance cited the cost-prohibitive nature of the current federal system as why they support the CASE Act. “Under the law, when a creator’s work is infringed, the only option they have is to take their copyright infringement case to federal court. But federal court is often far too expensive and complex to navigate for most individual creators and small businesses that own copyrights," said Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid.
Bloomberg’s Terminal reported that Apple is about to make a major investment in creating its own podcast content, and Spotify may very well be affected by this strategic decision, as it sees this as a key area for growth in 2019. Spotify’s market cap hit its highest point of 2019 at market close on July 15, giving the company a valuation of $27.87 billion. The company has earmarked between $400 million and $500 million to spend on acquiring podcast content and tools this year - the majority of which has already gone on its purchases of Gimlet Media and Anchor. On July 16, moments after the news that Apple was gearing up to create original podcasts, SPOT’s stock dipped down 3%, wiping more than $500 million off the company’s market cap. The lowest point so far for the stock in its history on the NYSE came at the close of December 21 in 2018, when its market cap tumbled to just $19.35 billion. The S&P 500 also showed a market lull in late December last year, with another in late May/early June this year, before a storming recovery in recent weeks, closely mirroring that of Spotify’s performance on the New York Stock Exchange.
Sony is uniting its recorded-music operation - Sony Music Entertainment - and its publishing company - Sony/ATV - under one umbrella entitled Sony Music Group with SME chief Rob Stringer at the helm. The report was discovered in an internal document obtained by Variety, and the move will take effect on August 1. A source close to the situation stated that the move is an effort by Sony President/CEO Kenichiro Yoshida to streamline operations and increase interaction between the two companies, although the source noted that they will remain very independent units. This follows just three months after Jon Platt took over as chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing from longtime boss Martin Bandier in a surprise move.
A recent 2019 report published by the Consumer Technology Association’s US Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts states that US music streaming revenues are slated to jump another 33% in 2019. Posted twice a year, in July and January, the report specifically indicates that the revenue of “on-demand music services” will cross the $8.4 billion mark this year, which marks a growth of about 33%. Another huge increase is also foreseen in the number of smart speakers and innovative mobile devices, including smartwatches and wireless earbuds. Furthermore, the broader streaming category is also surging, pointing to the nationwide (and perhaps the worldwide) viability of the subscription business model. Video streaming revenue will near $18 billion in 2019, according to the CTA, which is an increase of about 25% compared to 2018. The numbers may probably be on the bullish side, given the trade group’s constituency of CE manufacturers (and its ecosystem of supporters). However, in short, consumers are quickly gravitating towards subscription services, especially music streaming services. And as a consequence, nearly every other music format except for vinyl is tanking, including Apple’s once-steady iTunes paid download.
According to a new report posted by the Financial Times, Amazon Music is the fastest-growing music streaming service globally, with its Amazon Music Unlimited service growing 70% over the past year. By comparison, Spotify’s premium worldwide paid subscriber base grew to 100 million through the end of March 2019 (representing growth of 32% year-over-year), while Apple Music’s grew from 40 to 60 million between April 2018 and June 2019 (representing 50% growth). As of April 2019, the report states that Amazon has more than 32 million subscribers worldwide across all of its music services, which include Prime Music and Prime Music Unlimited. The tally is unclear, however, as some Prime Music members do not exactly count as subscribers, and the number does not clarify whether it includes every individual from Amazon Music’s family plans. Amazon Music vp (now head) Steve Boom confirmed in an April 2018 interview that the growth of Amazon’s music services could be attributed to both the expanding number of Amazon Prime members and the popularity of the company’s voice-activated Echo devices. The company has made recent moves in the music streaming space, particularly around developing a high-definition music service that could launch by year’s end.
As YouTube reportedly has been known to lessen the power of English-language music on global pop charts, the trend was further evident in YouTube’s Top 10 most viewed videos released in 2019 so far, with only one out of 10 songs completely sung in English, and the Spanish language music dominating the chart. Five out of the Top 10 are Spanish language songs, while two originated in South Korea, two in India, and two in the US, although one of those (Nicky Jam X Ozuna Te Robaré Video Oficial at No. 10) is performed in Spanish. At the top, the most viewed music video of 2019 so far is “Con Calma” by Daddy Yankee, which has been watched over 1.16 billion times. In second place is “Secreto” by Anuel AA and Karol G also from Puerto Rico, which has racked up 729 million views. Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” is the one video featuring 100% English language lyrics, and it was the fifth most-watched video on YouTube this year so far with 484 million views.
Starting July 17, Disney is now designated its own music hub within Spotify, showcasing songs featured in Disney’s films, TV shows, and theme parks. Spotify listeners in the US, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand can type “Disney” into their search bars to access the new Disney Hub, a collection of playlists featuring music from the company’s wide spectrum of properties, from its classic animated titles to the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Playlists will also be built around different activities like singing in the shower, road trips, and bedtime. Some examples are: “Disney Hits,” “Disney Princess,” “Marvel Music,” and “Best of Star Wars”. The streaming service highlighted the tremendous popularity of Disney content on its service, noting that users have streamed more than 2 billion minutes of Disney music this year to date. The 10 most-streamed songs on the service include “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (from Frozen), “How Far I’ll Go” by Auli'i Cravalho (from Moana), and “You're Welcome” by Dwayne Johnson (from Moana). Back in December, Spotify also built Ellen Hub, a collection of content themed around talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, which includes exclusive content from the series.
A new report examining the cultural and economic value of Australian music exports entitled, Born Global: Australian music exports, stated that the export value of Australia’s music industry is estimated to be worth AUS $195 million ($137 million). This figure includes the combined export income of Australian artists, music publishers, and record labels. The University of Newcastle and Monash University conducted research on this study over three years, in partnership with Sounds Australia, APRA AMCOS, and the Australia Council for the Arts. A summary report was also released by the Australia Council, which presents key insights from broader research and reflects global success stories from artists like Flume, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Methyl Ethel, and Courtney Barnett. One insight shows that government grants provided the largest source of export support among surveyed artists. Those with support from both government and industry reported the greatest export success. In addition, live performance is the top source of income for Australian musicians in other markets. The biggest markets for Australian music are the US, UK, and Germany.
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