CMU Digest

CMU Digest 12.07.21: COVID-19, Sainsbury’s, GECAT Pass, Artist Growth Model, Hipgnosis

By | Published on Monday 12 July 2021

Live Music

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

The UK music industry welcomed the news that the government plans to allow full capacity shows to return on 19 Jul. Although some medical experts have criticised the decision to lift most of the remaining COVID restrictions in England on the same day, especially given the recent surge in cases, the fact the live sector can finally resume its operations was widely welcomed by the music community. However, reps for the industry stressed that further support was required from government as live music returns, especially state-backed insurance for large-scale events. [READ MORE]

Sainsbury’s confirmed it was phasing out the sale of CDs and DVDs. The UK supermarket chain said that, with so many of its customers now getting music and video from digital platforms, stocking physical discs was not the best use of shelf space. Tescos, Asda and Morrisons are not yet following that plan. Record industry trade group the BPI said that, while streaming was now the record industry’s dominant revenue stream, there was still an appetite among some consumers to buy physical products and, if Sainsbury’s stops selling discs, that is an opportunity for specialist music retailers, including HMV and all the country’s indie record shops. [READ MORE]

Pan-European indies group IMPALA and the International Artist Organisation proposed a new cultural touring area across the continent of Europe. Enabled by a GECAT Pass, the proposed scheme would make it easier for performers to tour across the European region, reducing the bureaucracy involved in such activity. It would most benefit those countries not currently part of the European Union or the European Economic Area – like the UK, Switzerland and some of the Western Balkans. Though even artists from within the EU have to navigate cabotage and tax rules, and the IMPALA/IAO scheme would simplify that too. The two trade groups said that their proposed scheme would be particularly useful as the live sector recovers from the impact of the COVID shutdown. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Association Of Independent Music published a study into the proposed artist growth model for distributing streaming royalties. It would involve paying a lower per-stream rate to the most streamed tracks and re-distributing that money to newer and more niche artists. Basically the first set of streams for any one track would be the most lucrative on a per-stream basis. AIM first proposed the approach as part of the UK Parliament’s inquiry into the economics of streaming, and the trade body has now tested the model with a set of real streaming data. [READ MORE]

The Hipgnosis Songs Fund published its Annual Report. Among stats about its catalogue acquisitions and expectations for the future growth of the music rights market, it also revealed how a focus on cleaning up bad data relating to the songs it has acquired has unlocked extra revenue. The company said that it had “identified 76 million views of unclaimed/unmatched recordings of our songs on YouTube in the month of January alone”, and that cleaning the data of five catalogues it has bought identified “broken registrations that indicate that more than 40% income on each has not been collected previously due to errors in registration that pre-date our acquisition”. [READ MORE]

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