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In this newsletter:

The IMPF’s 'Independent Music Publishing Global Market View’ report estimates that the global music publishing market was worth €7.68 billion in 2021.

Italy’s competition regulator last week told Meta to get back to the negotiating table with the country’s song rights collecting society SIAE.

French Senator calls for a 1.75% tax rate to be levied on the revenue of music streaming apps.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - April 28, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Indies account for 27.1% of global music publishing market, says new IMPF report

The Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF) yesterday published its latest ‘Independent Music Publishing Global Market View’. That’s an annual report that collates and reviews facts and figures about recent trends in music publishing – this time mainly crunching 2021 stats – alongside insights from key executives from the indie side of the music publishing sector. In terms of top-line figures, the report estimates that the global music publishing market was worth €7.68 billion in 2021, up from €6.51 billion in 2020. Independent publishers – so that’s everyone except the publishing businesses of Sony, Universal, Warner, BMG and Kobalt – together have a market share of 27.1%, which means the indie sector was worth €2.08 billion in 2021, compared with €1.95 billion in 2020. The report notes that songwriters and publishers suffered more from the pandemic than the recordings side of the music rights industry due to the impact on live performances. The rise in streaming revenues helped mitigate some of the losses but indie publishers without sister companies dealing in recorded music complain that they receive only 20% of the revenues. They believe this 80-20 split is a leftover from the CD era and should be re-balanced to reflect the essential role their works play.

Italian regulator tells Meta to resume licensing talks with SIAE

Italy’s competition regulator last week told Meta to get back to the negotiating table with the country’s song rights collecting society SIAE. Last month, it emerged that Meta had begun excluding songs represented by SIAE from its Facebook and Instagram platforms after failing to agree a new licensing deal with the society. For its part, SIAE criticized the social media firm, saying it had been left “bewildered” by Meta’s move to exclude its catalog, adding: “This decision is striking considering the ongoing negotiation and the full availability of SIAE to sign a license for the proper use of protected content under transparent conditions”. It was then confirmed that the Italian competition regulator was considering whether Meta had “unduly interrupted the negotiations” for a new license through its decision to exclude SIAE’s music while those negotiations were ongoing, exploiting its market dominance to put unfair pressure on the rights organization. According to Italian news agency ANSA, last week the regulator told Meta that it must resume its SIAE licensing talks and seek to restore music represented by the society to Facebook and Instagram, albeit only with SIAE’s consent. It should also provide the information that the collecting society says it needs to assist in those licensing talks, SIAE having previously criticized Meta for not being sufficiently transparent during its recent negotiations.

Politician In France Calls For New Tax On Music Streaming Services

A senator in France has called on the Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak to start taxing music streaming platforms that are operating in the country in an effort to preserve cultural content and support the country’s music industry. The proposal, presented by French Senator Julien Bargeton, calls for a 1.75% tax rate to be levied on the revenue of music streaming apps like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and YouTube Music. As first reported by Music Ally, the tax would apply to both paid and free memberships and would generate an estimated €20 million (approx. USD $22 million) per year. In addition, the proposal would also generate €5 million from the lowering of drawing rights. Senator Bargeton’s proposal aims to create a sustainable funding source for France’s cultural content and music industry, which has been impacted by the rise of music streaming services. “This contribution would target paid streaming services by subscription as well as free streaming services financed by advertising, on the model of the TSV5, at a rate low enough not to structurally modify the economic balances between players or have an impact on the consumer,” according to a translation of the proposal sent by Senator Bargeton to France’s culture minister.

Impala offers its latest plan for reforming the streaming economy

Just over two years ago, European indies body Impala published a 10-point plan for reforming the streaming economy. Now it’s revisited and reworked those ideas for a new plan. The lead now is a call to “grow overall streaming revenues and end dilution” which includes raising the prices of music subscriptions in line with inflation, as well as tackling ‘value gaps’. Impala has also come out strongly against initiatives like Spotify’s Discovery Mode. “No royalty reduction. No pay for play or other initiatives recreating elements of payola,” is how that’s explained. Impala also calls for “revenue enhancement mechanisms” in countries where streaming services are struggling to convert free listeners into paid subscribers. As for the ever-argued-over shares of the streaming pie, Impala is still against the idea of applying ‘equitable remuneration’ to streaming royalties. However, it has renewed its call for labels to “pay artists a fair contemporary digital royalty rate” while backing other ways to shake up streaming payouts – from France-style industry agreements to models including rates based on “active engagement, artist growth, fan participation, pro-rata temporis” (the latter relating to time/length of listening). Its aim to “revise recording share upwards” could ruffle some feathers though, given the debate about whether recordings already get too big a share of streaming royalties compared to compositions.

Ed Sheeran denies copying Marvin Gaye song at start of New York trial

British singer Ed Sheeran has appeared in a New York City court to deny that his song Thinking Out Loud copied Marvin Gaye's song Let's Get it On. Heirs of Gaye's co-writer argue that Sheeran, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Publishing owe them money for allegedly stealing the song. As the case opened, their lawyer called Sheeran's use of lyrics from Gaye's song at his concerts a "smoking gun”. But he said he'd "be quite an idiot" to do that if he had copied the song. In his opening statement, Mr Crump said Sheeran "recognised the magic" of Gaye's song and claimed that he had "decided to capture a bit of that magic for his own benefit”. As the trial began on Tuesday, US District Judge Louis Stanton warned the seven-member jury that despite the fact that music will be played in court: "We don't allow dancing." The trial is expected to last at least one week. If the jury finds the pop star liable for copyright infringement, the trial will enter a second phase to determine how much he owes.

Random Ramblings

  • Technology’s impact on music through the decades.
  • Nursery rhymes and Indian film-music top YouTube monthly view charts.
  • 20 times Barbra Streisand made awards show history.
  • Waxing lyrical on the present and future of record stores.
  • Women are breaking barriers in latin music. But why is it taking so long?

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