|THURSDAY 27 OCTOBER 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Revenues collected by the music industry's song right collecting societies worldwide increased by 7.2% to 8.48 billion euros last year, following a COVID-caused dip in 2020. However, with live music still very much restricted in 2021, total collections were 5.1% down compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is all according to the latest stats pack from global collecting society grouping CISAC... [READ MORE]|
Song right revenues began to recover in 2021, but are still 5.1% below pre-pandemic levels
Of course, while the copyright side of the music industry was not affected by the COVID pandemic on anything like the scale of the live side of the business, some copyright revenue streams were negatively impacted. And, crucially, the copyright revenues that did take a hit are generally more important to songwriters and music publishers than artists and record labels.
It's the songwriters and publishers that CISAC member societies represent, and its annual 'Global Collections Report' gathers together data from all those societies around the world. Last year's edition of the report confirmed that, in 2020, the COVID shutdowns caused a 10.7% decline in society revenues (or, actually, 11.5% if this year's methodology is employed).
That was actually less bad than some had initially feared early on in the pandemic, but still meant that total collections in 2020 were down 775 million euros compared to 2019.
A key reason why songwriters and publishers were more affected by COVID than artists and labels is that they earn royalties from the live sector whenever songs they wrote or published are performed. And, obviously, with the live sector shut down for big chunks of 2020, those royalties slumped.
Other copyright revenue streams that were hit by COVID included public performance - ie where recorded music is played in pubs, clubs, bars, cafes, shops etc - and broadcast. Many of the businesses that play recorded music were shut during the lockdowns, while broadcasters saw their ad revenues decline at the start of the pandemic. In 2020, live and public performance revenues were down 45.2%, while broadcast income dipped 4.4%.
So what about 2021? Obviously, there were further lockdowns last year and, while live music did start to return, especially in the latter part of 2021, restrictions were still in place in many countries. Plus 2020 actually had a couple of months of business as usual before the lockdowns first went into force. As a result total live income for CISAC societies in 2021 was down even on 2020.
That said, things differed greatly around the world in this domain, partly due to differences from country to country regarding when live music was able to resume without social distancing. Plus income from public performance generally went into recovery mode sooner, with businesses that use music often opening up before venues and shows.
As a result global income for live and public performance, which CISAC groups together in its stats, was basically flat in 2021, with the increases in public performance compensating for the further declines in live. In fact, the 1.49 billion euros in performance revenues was slightly ahead of the 1.48 billion recorded in 2020, though still way down from the 2.62 billion collected in 2019.
Broadcast revenues, which didn't slump as much in 2020 as some initially feared, saw another slight decline in 2021, down 1.8% to 3.19 billion euro. CISAC says that was mainly due to advertising rates being weaker in some markets, resulting in a decline in what broadcasters pay into the music industry.
With key revenue streams like live performance, public performance and broadcast more or less flat in 2021, the overall growth of revenues year-on-year was very much powered by increases in digital. Continued growth of subscription music services, plus increased income from user-generated content platforms, meant that digital collections were up 27.5% worldwide.
Such has been the growth of digital income in recent years that, in 29 countries, digital royalties are the biggest revenue generator for CISAC's member societies. On a global basis broadcast still brings in slightly more revenue, though only just. 36.1% of collections last year came from digital services, while TV and radio royalties accounted for 37.7%.
It's hoped, of course, that live and public performance income will return to pre-pandemic levels relatively soon - next year if not this year - and then go back into growth. And optimists hope further growth can be achieved within the broadcast domain as well.
However, digital revenues will also continue to increase in the years ahead, meaning digital income seems certain to exceed live and public performance income even once the negative impact of COVID on the latter is over, and could well start to out-perform broadcast income too.
And it's also worth remembering that CISAC data only includes revenue that is collected by its member societies. In the digital domain, some music publishers license some of their repertoire, especially their Anglo-American repertoire, through direct deals.
For complicated reasons, some of that money still follows through the collecting societies, but not all of it. Meanwhile, in US, the all new mechanical rights collecting society MLC is not a CISAC member, so that income is not included in the CISAC stats.
There is also some TV income that doesn't flow through the collecting societies, where music publishers negotiate sync deals directly with TV producers and broadcasters. Though traditionally that was mainly in the US, and it seems likely significantly more digital income sits outside of CISAC's stats. Which means overall, digital is probably the bigger revenue stream for the songs business.
Nevertheless, many songwriters and publishers continue to argue that digital growth should be delivering an even bigger pay day to that songs business, but it's not because the song rights are still being undervalued.
Currently with streaming, the record industry gets the biggest cut of the pie, followed by the streaming services, with the songs usually getting no more than 15% of total revenues. The song share has generally increased over the years, but plenty of writers and publishers want a further re-slicing of the digital pie.
Many on the songs side of the business - and indeed across the music community at large - also reckon the pie itself should be bigger. That could be achieved both by increasing the prices of subscription streaming services, and by having user-generated content platforms allocate a bigger cut of their ad income to the music industry.
And, of course, there is also the issue of incomplete or inaccurate music rights data increasing the costs of administrating digital royalties on the songs side, and sometimes stopping songwriters getting paid at all.
CISAC's reps - while happy that revenues were up in 2021 following the COVID-caused dip in 2020 - nevertheless hone in on those issues and debates in their official statements about the new 'Global Collections Report'.
CISAC Director General Gadi Oron says: "After the fall experienced in 2020, our societies' return to growth last year is an impressive achievement. Bearing in mind that income from live concerts and public venues was largely non-existent, the acceleration of digital licensing by many of our members to offset the decline in other areas is a real success story. The recovery is only half done, though. There is, without a doubt, much more room for growth, and to achieve that, we need to bring more value to creative works in the digital market and promote a fairer ecosystem for creators".
CISAC President Bjorn Ulvaeus adds: "Digital royalties collected by CISAC societies are growing impressively, but the streaming world is still unfinished business when it comes to ensuring a fair environment to earn a living. Too much of the data needed to identify and remunerate creators is incomplete or missing when works are ingested on streaming services. The result is a lot of money that is left on the table when it should be going into creators' pockets".
And CISAC Board Chair Marcelo Castello Branco states: "We need to see this year not just as a return to normality, but as a bridge to the next phase. In the near term, we face the prospect of economic slowdown ahead and the risks that come with the unusual combination of inflation and recession. Subscription prices are already undervalued and need to be raised, with prices having barely changed since the early days of the streaming model. Fair value and fair terms are essential so as not to compromise the remuneration of rightsholders".
Slacker asks for $10 million judgement in SoundExchange dispute to be set aside
Personalised radio services in the US - like Slacker, which was bought by the company now known as LiveOne in 2017 - can rely on a so called compulsory licence when it comes to recordings, meaning they don't have to negotiate deals with individual record labels. SoundExchange manages that compulsory licence.
The society says that Slacker stopped paying the royalties due under the licence back in 2017 following the LiveOne acquisition. After years of dispute and negotiations, it went legal in June this year.
And it scored a quick win in that litigation. Earlier this month a judge ordered Slacker and LiveOne to pay SoundExchange $9.7 million in unpaid royalties, while also saying that the company could no longer rely on that useful compulsory licence.
According to Billboard, it turns out that - once the dispute was in court - SoundExchange presented an agreement that had been signed by execs at Slacker back in 2020 which said that a judge should enter a judgment against the company for the full sum owing to the collecting society if the digital firm defaulted on a repayment plan that had just been agreed. Which it did.
However, LiveOne argues that it's unrealistic for it to hand over nearly $10 million to SoundExchange in one go, and that new talks should begin to agree a payment plan. This month's judgement, it adds, will cause "unsustainable economic damage" to the LiveOne business, not least because it has had a negative impact on the company's loan agreements.
But SoundExchange insists that the judgement should stay in place, basically arguing that - after five years of back and forth with LiveOne - now is not the time to be opening a new set of negotiations.
Legal reps for the society argue that this month's judgement was necessary to "protect performing artists", and that "the court should deny defendants' latest attempt to shirk their obligations with the promise that next time will be different".
Manchester music venue Night & Day Café facing closure as it continues to fight noise complaint
In a statement, the venue explains: "Manchester City Council refuse to remove the Noise Abatement Notice they served on us last November. Night & Day have appealed the notice. Despite explaining to MCC Licensing and MCC council leaders that we have and continue to operate in the exact same manner as we have done previously and for the past 30 years, the council refuse to remove the notice".
The notice is understood to have arisen from one single complaint, lodged by someone who moved into an adjacent building during lockdown while the venue was closed. Once COVID-19 restrictions lifted and live music started being put on again, the noise complaint was made.
While the onus is being placed on Night & Day to resolve the noise issues, the venue says that necessary measures to reduce noise from the venue were not put in place by developers of the adjacent building when it was converted into residential properties.
"We are of the understanding now that there is only a single complainant", the statement goes on. "After receiving a copy of the MCC planning file for the redevelopment where the complainant lives, we were shocked and appalled to find that a crucial acoustic report had not been provided, nor acoustic works completed to the development before it was occupied".
"This was a condition of the planning consent for conversion of the building next door", it adds, "to ensure that residents were not disturbed by noise specifically from pre-existing entertainment businesses".
Night & Day's owners say that they have brought all this to the attention of council leaders and "feel strongly that Night & Day has been mistreated and that this is the council's problem to resolve", but the local authority still refuses to retract the notice.
"We believe there have been no further noise complaints that have arisen during the notice period", it goes on. "Despite this, Manchester City Council refuse to remove the notice and continue to place the onus on Night & Day to resolve".
If no resolution can be reached in the coming weeks, then the case will go to court for a three day hearing starting on 29 Nov.
"If our appeal is unsuccessful then this puts us at immediate risk of prosecution in the event of a noise complaint", the statement concludes. "For us to comply with the requirements of the notice would effectively ruin Night & Day as a live music venue which would likely mean the closure of the venue altogether".
This is not the first time Night & Day has been placed in this situation. In 2014 it was served with a Noise Abatement Notice in similar circumstances. Again, it related to complaints from a single person who had recently chosen to move into a property near the long-established music venue.
On that occasion, a petition gained 73,876 signatures and artists including Johnny Marr, Frank Turner and Tim Burgess voiced their support for Night & Day. Ultimately, the venue successfully defeated the action taken against it and remained open.
A new petition launched last year when the venue went public with its latest noise complaint gained 50,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. It now has more than 83,000 signatures, with the venue hoping to reach 150,000 in the coming weeks.
In the mid-2010s, incidents such as this became commonplace. Music venues would help to revive a previously lagging area of a city, which would then attract property developers. New flats and houses would then be built in the area without consideration for what was already there - ie the very things that had made that part of town attractive in the first place - meaning that when new residents moved into their inadequately soundproofed new homes they would complain.
As a result of campaigning on this issue, in 2018, the UK government introduced the 'agent of change' principle into planning law, which places the onus on developers to identify and mitigate potential future noise issues. This has led to a decrease in stories such as this, but clearly some issues still remain in this domain.
You can find the Night & Day petition here.
British Heart Foundation launches campaign to help people learn CPR with their favourite songs on Spotify
Building on an earlier campaign that taught people that CPR should be carried out to the beat of 'Stayin Alive' by the Bee Gees, this new initiative will generate a playlist of tracks from your Spotify listening history that can serve the same function, basically tracks at 100-120 beats per minute. From there, users can select a song to use in a fifteen minute CPR training programme on the campaign's website.
"Ever since 'Stayin Alive' became the song that inspired so many people to learn CPR in our advert with Vinnie Jones years ago, we've known the potential music has to help teach people CPR", says BHF chief exec Charmaine Griffiths. "This brilliantly innovative campaign enables people to discover their own lifesaving beat and learn CPR to a tune they love. My own personal favourite song to learn CPR to is Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill'".
"But this fun way of learning has a serious message", she adds. "With over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK and a survival rate of less than one in ten, there is an urgent need for people to learn CPR in an accessible and engaging way - BHF's Lifesaving Beats will enable thousands of people across the country to do just that".
You can generate your own playlist and take part in the online training at lifesavingbeats.com
Black Lives In Music announces plans for music industry anti-racism code of conduct
The code has been created based on the findings of the organisation's 'Being Black In The UK Music Industry' report, which was published last year. It was announced as BLIM Chief Executive Charisse Beaumont gave evidence yesterday as part of an inquiry into misogyny in music, which has been launched by the UK Parliament's Women And Equalities Committee.
Speaking about the survey results that were laid out in that 2021 report, Beaumont told MPs: "Out of about 900 women, 70% felt that they needed to change something about themselves to assimilate and be accepted into the music industry, and 43% of black women had changed something about themselves to be more accepted. One of the comments we received was, 'I wanted to change my name and lighten my skin to be more appealing, to be accepted and fit in and have more opportunities'".
"Black women are discriminated against twice", she continued. "Number one, they're females, number two, they're black. That has an effect in terms of their pay - black women are paid less, 17% less than black men, 25% less than white women, and 52% less than white men in the industry".
She added that women across the board currently face barriers to progression in the industry, explaining: "There is a low level of female participation. If we're looking at producers, only 2.6% of producers are female. Female producers struggle to find their way to make it in the industry. They study it, they understand it, they are qualified, yet they can't seem to get into the room because of that white male gaze, because they're seen as not technical".
She then outlined further barriers faced by black women, saying: "Barriers to progression could look like racial comments and racial microaggressions. 80% of black women have experienced racial microaggressions, and 77% of black women that we surveyed have experienced indirect racism".
As for ways to address these issues, she continued: "The music industry is like the Wild West. There is no central place to report bad behaviour. There could be more signposting, more obvious ways of showing that there's going to be a consequence to the perpetrator and that you're going to be protected and safe".
Speaking about the plans for the code of conduct - and the impact it could have - she explained: "We have an Anti-Racism Code Of Conduct that has been developed very closely with the film, TV and music industries and theatre sector". By the industry embracing the code, she said, it will be easier "to investigate the most serious and complex cases of bullying and harassment, as well as advocate for positive culture and discrimination".
The code has the support of the in development Independent Standards Authority, a new organisation which is aiming to "provide accountability and advice to the creative industries to improve standards of behaviour and the overall lived experience for the UK's talented workforce".
Expanding on the role the code and the wider ISA can play in bringing about change, Beaumont added: "There are pockets of support, but if you're looking for help, where do you go? That's why it's really important to have that overarching, strong messaging of consequence, of protection; that you do not have to have fear of retaliation. And I think that can be found with the ISA".
The code of conduct is set to be launched in the spring next year, with hopes of widespread adoption across the music industry.
Rihanna to return to music with song for Black Panther sequel
The song was written by Nigerian singer and producer Tems as a tribute to the late actor - and star of the first 'Black Panther' movie - Chadwick Boseman. Ludwig Göransson, who wrote the score for the film and produced this track, is also credited as a co-writer of the song, alongside the film's director Ryan Coogler and Rihanna herself.
"After speaking with Ryan, and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I've lost in my life", says Tems. "I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them. Rihanna has been an inspiration to me so hearing her convey this song is a great honour".
'Lift Me Up' is out tomorrow, with the album - 'Music From And Inspired By Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' - out on 4 Nov. The film itself opens on 11 Nov.
The UK's Featured Artists Coalition held its AGM yesterday. Brix Smith, best known for her work in The Fall, joined the organisation's board, with Imogen Heap, Katie Melua, Jeremy Pritchard, Sam Lee and Roxanne de Bastion all also returned as directors. Meanwhile Benny Bizzie becomes a permanent observer to the FAC board with a focus on issues of disability and access within the artist community.
Warner Records in the US has promoted Shawnae Corbett-Rice to SVP Marketing. "I've always strived to build sustainable visibility for our artists", she says. "So whatever stage they are in their careers, and wherever they are in a release cycle, they're always front of mind in the fan community. I'm really looking forward to creating more innovative and adventurous campaigns on behalf of our amazing artists and their music".
Adele has released the video for 'I Drink Wine' from her '30' album.
Killer Mike has released new solo single 'Talk'n That Shit'. "The song is self explanatory", he says.
La Roux is back with new single 'Feedback', featuring Baby Tate. She says of the track: "'Feedback' is about craving blunt honesty because you've reached a stage where you aren't taking things personally anymore, and have a deep desire to learn so you can be the best you can be".
The Go! Team have released new single 'Look Away, Look Away', featuring the Star Feminine Band. Their new album, 'Get Up Sequences Part Two', is out on 3 Feb.
Fucked Up have announced that they will release new album 'One Day' on 27 Jan. The album - taking its title literally - was written and recorded in one 24 hour period. "After you've been in a band for this long, you lose track of what your sound actually is", says guitarist Mike Haliechuk. "24 hours can feel like a long time, but you can get a lot done then, too. It can feel like forever and one minute at the same time. If you work on something for one day, it can end up being really special". Here's the title track.
Hundred Reasons have released new single 'Glorious Sunset', the title track of their first album in fifteen years, which is due out on 24 Feb. The band have also announced UK tour dates with Hell Is For Heroes and My Vitriol in February and March next year.
Ladytron have released new single 'City Of Angels'. New album 'Times Arrow' is out on 20 Jan.
Algiers have teamed up with Rage Against The Machine's Zack De La Rocha for new single 'Irreversible Damage'. They've also announced that they will release new album 'Shook' on 3 Feb, and have a London show booked at The Dome on 8 Mar.
Katatonia have announced that they will release their twelfth album, 'Sky Void Of Stars', on 20 Jan. It is, they say, "a dynamic journey through vibrant darkness. Born out of yearning for what was lost and not found, the very peripheries of the unreachable, but composed and condensed into human form and presented as sounds and words true to the Katatonia signum. No stars here, just violent rain". Here's the album's first single 'Atrium'.
Mikeneko Homeless have collaborated with Punipunidenki on new track 'Your Room'. Their new album, 'Time To Love', is out next month.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Billie Eilish found it "weird" that people said her music was "depressing"
Speaking in a new Audible series of interviews with musicians, called 'Origins', she says: "It was so weird to me when I was first coming up and, the thing everybody said was, like, 'Billie Eilish's music is so depressing, and it's so sad, and it's too dark'"
"I was like, 'What are you talking about?" she goes on. "Have you listened to the Beatles and 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Yesterday', and Lana Del Rey? Like, what the hell?' It was so surprising to me that people thought anything I was creating was dark. I mean, it's real".
Yeah, everyone knows that the best pop mixes upbeat music with downbeat lyrics. That is an indisputable fact. The more depressing the better, I say.
Other artists interviewed in this series include Doja Cat, King Princess, Koffee, Mickey Guyton, Flying Lotus, Camilo and Tobe Nwigwe. Audible subscribers can have a little listen here.