|TUESDAY 10 JANUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: British recorded music retail revenues - so streaming plus download, CD and vinyl sales - were up 3% last year to £1.98 billion. That's according to the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association, which also reports a 6.9% increase for the wider home entertainment market... [READ MORE]|
UK music retail revenues up 3% in 2022, with entertainment at large growing 6.9%
In music - and the wider entertainment sector too - streaming continues to power much of the growth. Subscription income at the music streaming services was up 5% to $1.66 billion last year. That continued growth helped counter a 3.8% dip in physical revenues.
Although within the physical domain, the vinyl revival continues, with vinyl sales now outperforming CD sales in revenue terms, of course. Vinyl was up 11% to £150.5 million, while CDs were down 17.4% to £124 million.
With music retail bringing in £1.98 billion in total last year, the sector is operating at its highest level since 2003, and is slowly returning to the peak of the CD era, which came in 2001 when the sector generated £2.21 billion.
And, if you're mapping the record industry's recovery post the difficult decade that was the 2000s, current revenues are nearly double those achieved in 2013, when music retail in the UK was at its lowest ebb.
Of course, in real terms, when pesky inflation is taken into account, there is still quite some way to go before UK music retail revenues really return to the peak of the CD era. Though it's always worth remembering that - for the record industry itself - the profit margins are higher on digital.
Commenting on the music retail stats for 2022, ERA CEO Kim Bayley says: "We are approaching a watershed. Thanks to the investment and ingenuity of streaming services on the one hand, and to the physical retailers who have driven the vinyl revival on the other, music is within sight of exceeding £2 billion in retail sales value for the first time in more than two decades".
"Music has to be great to win people's attention", she adds, "but it's the buying and consumption experience which ultimately persuades people to put their hands in their pockets".
Elsewhere in entertainment retail, video saw the highest growth in 2022, though gaming still brings in the most money overall.
Video revenues - so video streaming plus DVD and Blu-ray sales - were up 14.4% to £4.43 billion. Subscription income from the likes of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+ and Now TV was up 17.6% to £3.84 billion, meaning such services now account for 87% of the video retail market.
Gaming saw the lowest growth rate of the three strands of home entertainment, but still accounts for 42.1% of the wider sector. Sales were up 2.3% to £4.66 billion.
On games, Bayley notes: "Gaming remains the often-unheralded leader of the entertainment market. While growth at 2.3% was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous and in terms of innovation and excitement it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector".
When you add music and video and gaming together, the wider sector generated nearly £11.1 billion in 2022, 6.9% up on 2021. And 39% up on pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with video growth in particular behind that impressive stat.
Recently appointed ERA Chair Ben Drury says: "Despite pandemic, political uncertainty and recession, entertainment has continued to soar. Growth of nearly 40% since 2019 is extraordinary".
"Few would have believed we would retain the huge bounce in revenues seen when the COVID lockdown kept people at home", he adds, "but these numbers show that even amid recession, people are determined to maintain their spending on entertainment".
"This is a huge vote of confidence in the attractiveness of our members' offer", he concludes, "whether they be small independent record shops or global streaming platforms".
And hurrah for that. Just in case you're interested, ERA's end-of-year stats pack also tells us that the biggest releases in each strand of the business last year were Harry Styles' 'Harry's House' (music), 'Top Gun Maverick' (video) and 'FIFA 23' (games).
Dr Dre sets lawyers on Marjorie Taylor Greene over copyright infringement
The two minute video shows Greene wandering around the halls of Congress and aims to big up her role in getting fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy elected as speaker of the House Of Representatives last week, a process which proved somewhat eventful.
All of this is soundtracked by the very distinct sounds of 'Still DRE'. Although, Greene herself is keen to stress, only the instrumental elements of the track, none of the words.
Addressing the rapper via a statement issued to TMZ, the Trump loyalist stated: "While I appreciate the creative chord progression, I would never play your words of violence against women and police officers, and your glorification of the thug life and drugs".
Of course, just because you appreciate a creative chord progression doesn't mean you can use it in your political videos without getting permission from the relevant copyright owners.
Because, while the use of music at political events gets a little bit complicated because of the blanket licences issued by the music industry's collecting societies, political videos posted to social media are more straightforward and a sync licence is required.
As a stern letter sent by Dre's legal reps yesterday points out. "We write you on behalf of our client, Andre Young pka Dr Dre, composer and performer of the hit song 'Still DRE'", said letter begins.
"You are wrongfully exploiting this work through the various social media outlets to promote your divisive and hateful political agenda", it adds. "Andre Young is the owner of the copyright in 'Still DRE', with the exclusive right to exploit same. Mr Young has not, and will never, grant you permission to broadcast or disseminate any of his music. The use of 'Still DRE' without permission constitutes copyright infringement".
"One might expect that, as a member of Congress, you would have a passing familiarity with the laws of our country", it continues. "It's possible, though, that laws governing intellectual property are a little too arcane and insufficiently populist for you to really have spent much time on. We're writing because we think an actual lawmaker should be making laws not breaking laws, especially those embodied in the constitution by the founding fathers".
"The United States Copyright Act says a lot of things", the letter then explains, "but one of the things it says is that you can't use someone else's song for your political campaign promotions unless you get permission from the owner of the copyright in the song, a step you failed to take. Demand is hereby made that you cease and desist from any further unauthorised use of Andre Young's music".
A takedown notice was seemingly also sent to Twitter which removed the video from the politician's tweet. Though, for now at least, you can still watch it on the TMZ site here, if you can tolerate both the copyright infringement and the general weirdness of the video itself.
Sony Music and Alamo Records announce new artist/label services venture
The new venture - called Santa Anna - follows Sony taking a majority stake in Alamo Records back in 2021. The major has also announced the recruitment of Lee L'Heureux, who was most recently General Manager at Universal Music's Geffen Records. He will become President of Alamo Records and also lead the new Santa Anna business alongside Moscowitz and Alamo COO Juliette Jones.
Says Moscowitz: "I'm excited for Lee to join the team and leverage his experience to create new opportunities for Alamo, as well as launch the start of what will be an incredible journey for Santa Anna".
Adds L'Heureux: "I've always admired Todd's approach to the music industry, as well as his dedication to supporting artists and their distinct, creative visions. I'm honoured for the opportunity and look forward to taking Alamo to the next level and carving out a path for Santa Anna".
UK live and night-time sectors criticise government's reduced support on energy prices
A temporary energy price cap covering businesses, and subsidised by the government, was introduced in October to help mitigate the impact of those surging prices.
However, that cap was only put in place for six months, and ministers were somewhat vague about what would happen once those six months were up.
Yesterday details of the support that will be provided from April onwards was confirmed, with what is basically a subsidised discount scheme replacing the price cap. This reduces the support available and removes the element of certainty regarding energy costs that the price cap provided.
Increased energy prices are a major challenge, of course, for venues and other night-time businesses, many of which operate on tight profit margins, and which are still recovering from all the lost business caused by the COVID lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
Last October's price cap helped many of those struggling live and night-time businesses to meet that challenge in the short term. However, it is feared, with that government support due to be significantly cut back in April, we could see another spike in venues and clubs going out of business.
Criticising the cut back in support, Jon Collins - CEO of UK live sector trade group LIVE - said yesterday: "The average energy bill for live music venues has gone up by nearly 300% which is leading to permanent venue closures as owners struggle to cover costs".
"This decision further jeopardises these well-loved establishments", he added "restricting access to live music, inhibiting venues' ability to turn a profit, and damaging town and city centres at a time when we desperately need growth".
Meanwhile, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, stated: "The announcement today once again outlines how out of touch the government are with businesses. Even under the current relief scheme, greedy, profiteering energy companies are subjecting businesses to over 400% increase on previous energy bills".
"All of this in light of the fact that gas/oil wholesale prices in recent months have dropped below the levels prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine", he added. "The scaling back of the energy relief scheme by government [in] April will without doubt mean thousands of businesses and jobs will be lost in the coming months".
Rock FM in breach of broadcast regulations over sweary breakfast show
The sweary statement wasn't even uttered during a live phone call, instead it was part of a pre-recorded voice note submitted by a listener. Nonetheless, those tuning in still heard the recording in full and unedited, it concluding "...but that's probably because my ex is a cunt". Two apologies were made by presenter Joel Ross immediately following the incident.
Meanwhile, Bauer told OfCom that while the station has a "robust process" in place to vet voice notes before they are played on air, "human error by the producer in the studio" meant this unvetted one somehow slipped through. That was all "due to the nature of live radio and trying to achieve a turnaround in a tight time frame", the broadcaster explained.
As a result of this incident, Bauer said that the station has now added "an extra layer of security where the audio is always loaded into a separate player" to ensure that only content that has been fully vetted is available to be played on air. It also assured OfCom that both Ross and his producer are "fully aware of the significance of this issue and are very apologetic".
OfCom found that two of its rules had been broken. Those being that "the most offensive language must not be broadcast ... when children are particularly likely to be listening" and that "broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context".
"In this case, the broadcast of the word 'cunt' at 8.40am on a Wednesday was a clear example of the most offensive language being broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening", says the regulator. "We also took into account that the voice note was pre-recorded and the incident was not the result of a listener calling in live".
"We took into account that the licensee accepted that it had made an error in broadcasting highly offensive language at this time of day; the apologies that were made directly following the incident; and the steps it said it has taken to avoid a recurrence in future", it continued. "However, OfCom's decision is that the broadcast was in breach [of broadcasting regulations]".
Ghostface Killah to release album via Stem Player
The gimmick with the Stem Player, you may remember, is that you can remix the different stems of each track. Something we'd all enjoy doing, I'm sure. Perhaps not long enough to justify the device's price tag though.
Ghostface Killah-branded Stem Players are available for pre-order now. However, you should note that the full ten track album will only be available with purchases of the black 'premium' edition, which costs $360. A cream version is cheaper at $240, but only comes with five tracks.
Both are also loaded with videos (which you can't watch on the player, it having no screen) and provide access to "meet ups and concerts".
A track from the album, '6 Minutes', is available to listen to via the Stem Player website in exchange for an email address. Existing owners of the digital music player can also start remixing that track straight away - although they will have to sign up to a $20 a month subscription service first.
There is more info on all this here, if you have more money than you know what to do with.
Belle & Sebastian to release new album this week
Arriving ahead of the album release is new single 'I Don't Know What You See In Me', co-written with producer Wuh Oh, of which frontman Stuart Murdoch says: "I was bicycling across Scotland last summer, listening to a mix of this song. It was written and produced for us by our friend Pete 'Wuh Oh' Ferguson. As I listened to it, I felt lucky to be the first person to get to sing this song".
"I let my voice swoop and soar in ways that it maybe hasn't before", he continues. "And as I continued through fields of gold and green I allowed myself to forget it was Belle & Sebastian, and pretend it was the latest hit on some random radio station. All music is escape, and perhaps we managed to escape a little further than usual with this unexpected tune. Thanks Pete!"
New Order managers Rebecca Boulton and Andrew Robinson have announced a new partnership with SJM Management to co-manage the band. "We have sought to future proof the band's management and protect their legacy so the merger with SJM management is a good fit and maintains our independent sensibilities", says Boulton and Robinson.
London's Royal Albert Hall has appointed James Ainscough as its new CEO. Formerly COO of the venue, Ainscough is currently CEO of Help Musicians and will move into his new role in the spring. "The Royal Albert Hall has always been close to my heart", he says. "It has been a privilege to lead Help Musicians for the past five years and the charity is in now in good spirit with a clear strategy, a strong sense of purpose, and a wonderful team of staff, trustees and partners. Only a really special opportunity, like 'coming home' to the Royal Albert Hall, could have tempted me to leave".
Mike Dungan has announced that he will retire as CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville in March. He will remain involved with the major though, acting as an advisor to overall CEO Lucian Grainge. "For 43 years the music business has been my home - smiling, dialling, selling, hustling, laughing, doing my part to help the art and magic realise its potential", he says. "And loving every minute of it. I've lived a charmed life, and there are no words to describe how grateful I am, and how blessed I feel, for everyone that I have encountered along the way".
Daughter have announced that they will release their third album - their first for seven years - on 7 Apr. Titled 'Stereo Mind Game', the first track from it, 'Be On Your Way', is out now.
Mo Gilligan will return as host of the BRIT Awards next month, it has been announced. "Hosting the BRITs last year was one of the most phenomenal moments of my life", he says. "I've been so honoured to get to know the incredible team behind the biggest night in music and so proud to bring our amazing audiences even closer to their favourite artists. I promise you, we're going to go even bigger this year". The ceremony takes place on 11 Feb.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Public Image Ltd vying to represent Ireland at Eurovision
"It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most", says Lydon. "It's also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all".
Both of Lydon's parents were Irish, by the way, if you're wondering what his connection to the country is. The other shortlisted artists competing to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2023 are Wild Youth, Adgy, Connolly, Leila Jane and K Muni & ND.
All six will perform their songs live on a special edition of 'The Late Late Show' on 3 Feb at 9.30pm. The show will be broadcast on the RTE One TV channel in Ireland, as well as being livestreamed online. The overall winner will then be selected via regional juries and a public phone vote.
You can listen to 'Hawaii' here.