|THURSDAY 6 JULY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK recorded music exports last year were up 20% to £709 million according to new stats from record industry trade group BPI. So, that's the revenues generated by the sales and streams of UK releases outside the UK... [READ MORE]|
UK recorded music exports grew by 20% last year
That significant surge comes despite the Anglo-American music industries - which have generally enjoyed the most success in the past when it comes to exporting artists and releases - now facing much more competition from music made elsewhere in the world. In particular South Korea and some of the key Latin American markets.
Breaking down the export stats a little, the BPI says "there was a double-digit percentage increase in physical and digital download sales, streams and other consumption of British music in every region globally last year".
"This was led by emerging music markets", it adds, "including the Middle East (+59%), Africa (+48%) and Latin America (+38%), where streaming user bases grew significantly in volume". Though, "UK music consumption also increased in more established markets, rising in North America (+28%), Europe (+11%), Asia (+17%) and Oceania (+16%)".
The biggest market for UK recorded music exports is the US, the biggest recorded music market of them all by quite some margin. There, export revenues were up 28% year-on-year.
Some of that was down to the strong value of the US dollar against the pound, but also - of course - the success of numerous British artists in the American market, including Harry Styles, Glass Animals, Adele, Coldplay, Kate Bush and Sam Smith.
Growth in the second biggest market for UK exports, Germany, was a more modest 4%. But in a bunch more markets there was double digit growth, including: France (+15%), Australia (+17%), Canada (+30%), the Netherlands (+15%), Italy (+18%), Spain (14%) and Brazil (47%). And if you'd prefer triple digit growth, in India export revenues were up 130% year-on-year.
Commenting on the stats, BPI Chief Strategy Officer and Interim Chief Executive, Sophie Jones, says: "These record export numbers by UK labels represent an exceptional achievement in the face of unprecedented competition on the global music stage, both from long-established and rapidly-expanding new music markets".
The BPI has set a goal for UK recorded music exports to top £1 billion a year by 2030, and Jones notes that the 2022 stats show the industry is making good progress in achieving that ambition. Although, of course, she also stresses that the industry needs ongoing government support to help ensure the £1 billion a year target can be met.
"For this growth to continue", she adds, "the UK needs to remain a supportive environment for investment in music, and policy makers should continue to work with industry to maximise the overseas potential of UK music".
One of the ways the UK government already supports this activity is the BPI-managed Music Export Growth Scheme, which provides funding for independent artists and labels looking to pursue opportunities in new markets. Additional funding for that scheme was confirmed last month.
Welcoming that development once again, Jones concludes: "MEGS has played an integral role in driving our export numbers with a high number of artists who have received funding now enjoying substantial and sustained streaming success in overseas markets. This, in turn, is delivering for the UK economy".
And now for some quotes from some politicians...
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer: "From global superstars to emerging artists, British music is breaking records across the world. The government wants to support them every step of the way and we're investing millions to help the next generation of talent launch international careers and keep UK artists at the top of the charts for years to come".
Exports Minister Malcolm Offord: "We are proud to support our creative industries, so it is excellent news that British music exports grew at a record rate in 2022. Last month we announced that we tripled funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme, ensuring the next generation of UK artists and small and medium-sized enterprises can continue to champion British music abroad, share our world class UK creativity across the globe, create jobs and grow the economy".
Rolling Stones seek dismissal of song-theft lawsuit on jurisdiction grounds
Sergio Garcia Fernandez claims that the Stones' 2020 track 'Living In A Ghost Town' rips off two songs he wrote in the 2000s, 'So Sorry' and 'Seed Of God'.
His lawsuit claims that the Stones track lifted "vocal melodies, the chord progressions, the drum beat patterns, the harmonica parts, the electric bass line parts, the tempos, and other key signatures" from 'So Sorry' and the "harmonic and chord progression and melody" from 'Seed Of God'.
As for how Mick Jagger and Keith Richards might have heard Fernandez's music before writing 'Living In A Ghost Town', the Spanish musician alleged that he had previously sent a demo CD to "an immediate family member" of Jagger.
According to Digital Music News, legal reps for the Stones filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last month. The court filing notes that Fernandez's songs were not written in the US and are not registered with the US Copyright Office.
Meanwhile, he is a Spanish citizen, and Jagger and Richards are British citizens. And the Stones company also targeted in the lawsuit, Promopub, is based in the Netherlands. And while Richards is based in the US, he's in Connecticut not Louisiana.
Indeed, it seems the only person with any direct links to Louisiana is the lawyer hired by Fernandez, who is based in New Orleans.
With all that in mind, the band's court filing states: "The more appropriate forum for this case would be a court in Europe because plaintiff, a Spanish citizen and domiciliary, asserts infringement of his non-US works against defendants who all have a presence in Europe".
So, the band conclude, the Louisiana court should dismiss this lawsuit and then Fernandez can decide whether he wants to pursue any action on this side of the Atlantic.
Although, if that doesn't happen, at the very least - they add - the dispute should be moved to the slightly more convenient jurisdiction of New York.
Platform that connects music and games confirms new deal with APM
In its official blurb, Reactional says it provides "a rules-based music engine and delivery platform that connects the music and games industries commercially and creatively, allowing any music to be brought into a game, and the entire game's visuals, music and sound to react live to that music". So now you know. That platform is currently operating a beta pilot, and in terms of music deals the company previously announced an alliance with Hipgnosis.
As for the APM Music tie up, it says "with production music a key component in sound and music design in game development, the APM partnership will allow developers to search for and access fully licensed, high-quality production music through the Reactional platform as they build their games. It also opens up a more efficient method to create and prototype gaming soundtracks, increasing music choice and ease of use for everyone".
Confirming the new deal, Reactional Music President David Knox states: "The addition of leading production music libraries is an essential step in the development of the Reactional platform".
"Working with leading rights holders like APM Music", he goes on, "enables us to more effectively support our game development partners, providing search, prototyping and trialling of hundreds of thousands of music scores, tracks and effects. APM has an incredible reputation and a depth of experience stemming from having worked with many of the world's game companies".
Meanwhile APM Music CEO Adam Taylor adds: "We are THRILLED to have Reactional put APM's unmatched music catalogue at the fingertips of a very broad gaming audience, further cementing our position in this vertical. And we are looking forward to seeing game developers of all sizes leverage the power of APM's platform to take their games to the next level".
YOUROPE publishes free guide on making festivals environmentally sustainable
Called the 'European Green Festival Roadmap 2030', YUROPE says that the guide sets out measures which event organisers across Europe can implement in a bid to meet the European Union's Green Deal requirement of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, when compared to 1990 levels.
The free guide has been produced in partnership with A Greener Future and Greener Events Norway, as well as YOUROPE's own Green Operations Europe think tank.
Says YOUROPE General Secretary Holger Jan Schmidt: "Improving our festivals and increasing sustainability throughout the industry is an ongoing topic for YOUROPE and also for me personally. That's why it's a particular pleasure to present the 'European Green Festival Roadmap'".
Meanwhile Claire O'Neill from A Greener Future adds: "After nearly two decades working with festivals worldwide for sustainability, we're really happy to harness and share learnings in this 'European Green Festival Roadmap' with YOUROPE".
"The 'Roadmap'", she goes on, "helps prioritise and simplify the actions individual festivals need to take, and shines a light on areas for collective effort by the industry and beyond".
Spotify to shift customers making payments via Apple to its own transactions system
Currently many apps taking in-app payments on such devices are obliged to use the Apple transactions system, which charges at 15-30% commission. And another Apple rule bans app makers from sign-posting within their apps other places online where payments can be made.
Given Spotify's own profit margin is around 30%, it can't afford to pay the Apple commissions. Which means if it allowed subscribers to sign up for premium accounts within its iOS app, it would have to pass on the Apple commission to the customer. Which would make it look like a Spotify subscription was more expensive than an Apple Music subscription.
Which is why, since May 2016, Spotify hasn't offered the option to sign up within its app. Instead subscribers set up payments with Spotify directly on its website, which cuts Apple out of the process, even if the subscriber then subsequently accesses the service via an Apple device.
However - given that other rule banning the sign-posting of alternative payment options - by not allowing in-app payments Spotify has to hope that people looking to sign up for a premium account will think to look for the streaming firm's website.
Spotify - and many other app-makers - have been lobbying law-makers in various countries asking them to force Apple to abandon its App Store rules around in-app payments. Which would mean Spotify could then take direct payments from within its app.
Meanwhile, because you could sign up for a premium account within the Spotify iOS app from June 2014 to May 2016, a number of the firm's subscribers are still making their monthly subscription payments via Apple, which is taking its 15% commission. But not for much longer.
According to Variety, Spotify has emailed those subscribers to say that the company will no longer be accepting payments via the Apple system. Which means those people will now have to set up payments directly with Spotify itself.
The process for achieving that is slightly tedious. When the user's subscription next comes up for renewal, their premium subscription will end, meaning they will find themselves on Spotify's free tier, with all the ads and limited functionality on their iPhone. They will then need to go the Spotify's website to set up a new premium account.
There is the risk, of course, that some of those subscribers will just stay on the free tier. Though, in the wider scheme of things, not that many subscribers are actually making payments through the Apple system.
In a submission to the European Commission in 2019, responding to a complaint made by Spotify about the App Store rules, Apple said that only about 680,000 Spotify subscribers were making payments via is transactions system. And you have to think that number has gone down since then.
Glassnote Records has signed Tors. Label founder Daniel Glass says: "We are THRILLED to welcome Tors to the Glassnote roster. Their exuberance for music is unmatched and that is evident in their deep connection to their fans and in their respect among the writing community".
Spirit Music Group has signed songwriter/producer Autumn Rowe to one of those worldwide publishing admin deals that you all love. Artists Rowe has collaborated with include Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Pitbull, Zendaya, Ava Max, FKA Twigs, Leona Lewis and Jon Batiste. Spirit Music Chairman Jon Singer is "THRILLED" about the deal, adding: "Autumn is an undeniably talented writer and producer … [and] on top of that, she's a remarkable advocate for the interests of songwriters and producers and exactly the type of partner we look to work with".
Bauer Media Audio UK has appointed Richard Burnham as Events Director. He will report into the media firm's Chief Strategic Partnerships And Events Director Steve Parkinson, who says: "Richard joins our events team at a very exciting time as we continue to build on the success of Bauer's current events portfolio, which includes arena and theatre shows, tours and experiences across various platforms".
Ahead of performances this weekend at TRNSMT in Glasgow and Wireless in London, Flo have released a new three track EP called '3 Of Us'.
DZ Deathrays have posted their latest music video. It's for 'My Mind Is Eating Me Alive', a track on their recent album 'RIFF'.
Anne-Marie has posted new track 'Trainwreck'. "The song is about being with someone who's not good for you, but you stay with them because you're scared of what will be afterwards", she explains. "You think that you're going to be down and lost and lonely but then you dump them and realise how much happier you are without them in your life".
GIGS & TOURS
Taylor Swift has added a bunch more shows to her 2024 European Tour, including three extra dates in the UK: one in Edinburgh on 9 Jun, one in Liverpool on 13 Jun and one at London's Wembley Stadium on 23 Jun.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Bob Dylan inputting on Bob Dylan biopic, director confirms
The director spoke to the Happy Sad Confused podcast about the new movie, which is due to begin filming next month with Timothée Chalamet playing the lead role.
Asked about Dylan's input, he said that the musician had "personally annotated" the script and spent several days with the director discussing the project.
According to NME, Mangold also noted that the film will not be a "typical biopic", it being focused on a specific time in Dylan's life.
"It's a kind of ensemble piece about this moment in time", he explained, "the early 60s in New York, and this seventeen year old kid with $16 in his pockets hitchhikes his way to New York to meet Woody Guthrie who is in the hospital and is dying of a nerve disease".
"And he sings Woody a song that he wrote for him and befriends Pete Seeger, who is like a son to Woody", the director went on. "And Pete sets him up with gigs at local clubs and there you meet Joan Baez and all these other people who are part of this world".
"And this wanderer who comes in from Minnesota with a fresh name and a fresh outlook on life", he added, "becomes a star, signs to the biggest record company in the world within a year and, three years later, has record sales rivalling The Beatles".