January Industry Wrap-Up

January 29, 2019

By Kevin Cornell

Another month is coming to a close, and TuneCore is here to fill all you independent artists in on some of the headlines you may have missed.

Whether it’s music streaming, publishing, product updates, studies and reports, or op-eds, we’re rounding up some music industry must-reads for all of you looking to stay in touch with the business and advance a career!

Multiple Groups Seek to Pump the Brakes On Article 13 Negotiations
January saw more ups and downs in the ongoing negotiations around the controversial European Parliament legislation known as Article 13 – which essentially holds platforms like YouTube responsible for hosting content that infringes on copyrights. On top of the original back-and-forth arguments of who loses out on potential revenue, music groups like IFPI and IMPALA argue that the drafts they’ve seen do little to hold larger tech companies accountable. Read more here.

Canadian Music Consumption Rose 21% in 2018
More music listening is good news for everyone, right? Nielsen reports that Canada’s 21% increase in overall consumption was driven by a 47% increase in on-demand audio streaming, with over 59 billions streams. While digital purchasing in Canada has declined, overall digital consumption is up 22% from 2017. Read more here.

More Streaming = Shorter Songs?
Dan Kopf at Quartz put together an article that should intrigue music fans and music creators alike, and it’s all about one thing: song length. Noticing a 20-second drop in average Billboard Hot 100 songs over the last five years, the article takes a deep dive into cases like Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Kanye West, Eric Church and other superstars. While these high-profile artists might seem less relatable to independent folks, there’s an argument to be made that their song lengths matter and impact the greater musical landscape. Read more here.

Quick Removal of Fake Beyonce Albums on Streaming Platforms
We’ve covered the problems surrounding streaming fraud and what consequences may lie ahead of those trying to get over on music fans and platforms, but what happens when it impacts one of today’s biggest pop stars? Fans of Beyonce were surprised to see two unannounced releases before Christmas make their way onto Spotify – as it turns out, these were not distributed by Beyonce. The releases contained unreleased demos and older songs. The releases were quickly taken down. Read more here.

More Growth! This Time in the UK
Speaking of music growth in 2018, British music industry groups BPI and ERA reported am 8.9% jump in record-music sales, a 1.6% rise in vinyl sales, and a 5.7% overall growth in ‘album equivalent sale’ (AES). Our friends at MusicAlly point to that last figure as a major headline, as it pertains to a 6.8 million stream increase from 2017 (as 1,000 streams is equivalent to a 10 single-track album). Read more here.

55% of Music Streamers Are Watching Music Videos on YouTube
Research firm MIDiA reports that across nine major music markets, music video consumption on YouTube has continued to trump even free audio streaming. Consumers who responded reported a weight average of 55% and 37%, respectively. MIDiA’s Blog offers a breakdown of this report, covering YouTube’s advantage, value gap considerations, and how this might impact subscriptions. Read more here.

Cassette (and Vinyl) Sales Up Double Digits in 2018
More year-end sales data! Every year the growth in vinyl sales are widely reported throughout the industry. It seems we can’t get enough talking about this trend and what it really means for the industry. But what about cassettes? If you’re making music or active in a music scene these days, you know that cassettes have been on the rise again. Big deal – more cassette releases, more cassette purchases, right? Well, this year not only saw 19% year over year cassette sales growth in 2018, a whopping 52% of copies purchased were over three years old. Read more here.

Copyrights From 1923 Enter the Public Domain
January 1, 2019 marked the entrance of copyright protected works of music (and other mediums) entrance into the public domain. The Sonny Bono Act of 1998 increased protection for works published before 1978 to a total of 95 years, and works from 1923 are first on the block. What that looks like in terms of re-makes, covers, and other derivatives remains to be seen, but it’s a historical moment that creators of all kinds should be dialed into as we move into the future of copyrights. Read more here.

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