CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.03.20: COVID-19, economic support, live streaming, Katy Perry, BPI stats

By | Published on Monday 23 March 2020

Houses Of Parliament

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

The COVID-19 crisis started to have a major impact on the global music industry, with the live entertainment sector in virtual shutdown in multiple countries. Although it remains unclear how long extreme measures to restrict and delay the spread of the virus will be in force, an increasing number of festivals due to take place in the coming months have postponed or cancelled. Meanwhile the impact of those measures started to be felt beyond the live sector, with retailers, physical product distributors and recording studios also hit, and – with the TV and film industry now also in shutdown – the sync sector could be impacted too as the crisis period extends. [READ MORE]

In the UK, the key music industry demand to the political community became better support for freelancers. The government has made a number of significant economic commitments to help businesses and employees during the enforced shutdown, but so far support for the self-employed has been limited. This is a significant problem for the music and creative industries where an unusually high number of people are freelance. The industry’s trade organisations have become increasingly vocal in demanding specific support for the self-employed. [READ MORE]

Live streaming and direct-to-fan initiatives have quickly become key for many artists who have lost income from the live sector shutdown and who are still awaiting relevant government support. Live streaming isn’t new – and some artists and companies have utilised such technology for years now – though in the main the live streaming of music hasn’t gone mainstream. That could be about the change. Artists at all levels have been experimenting with different live streaming platforms while also exploring how such activity can be monetised, whether by charging access fees, or via crowd-funding and online tipping, or by using the stream to sell merchandise. [READ MORE]

The big Katy Perry song-theft ruling was overturned on appeal. Last year a jury ruled that Perry and her songwriting team had infringed a Christian rap track called ‘Joyful Noise’ when they wrote her 2013 hit ‘Dark Horse’. They were ordered to pay nearly $2.8 million in damages to the makers of the earlier work. But an appeals judge has now overturned that ruling, deciding that the musical segments both songs share – and the ways that those segments had been employed – were commonplace and therefore not sufficiently original to be protected by copyright. [READ MORE]

UK record industry trade group BPI confirmed that the British record industry’s revenues rose by 7.3% in 2019 taking overall income over a billion pounds. The streaming boom was behind most of that growth, with streaming services now accounting for 58.9% of overall monies. Physical revenues were down again, with CD and vinyl now accounting for just under a fifth of the industry’s income. The BPI said that continued growth was good news, though pointed out that the industry still has some way to go before it matches the revenues labels enjoyed during the CD era peak. [READ MORE]