Our friends at Royalty Exchange round up and analyze the top news stories of the last fortnight in music royalties.
Week ending October 27th: Register Your Music or Your Money Will Disappear
French Society, SACEM, Finds Partner to Track Electronic Music Royalties (Billboard)
Benom’s Take: EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and other forms of electronic music (House, Trip Hop, Dubstep, Chiptunes, the list goes on…) is one of the more difficult genres of music to license and collect royalties for.
It’s a well-known problem in the music industry that professionals have been trying to solve for many years. Which is why this week’s announcement is a welcome one. French royalty collection society SACEM is now working with DJ Monitor to improve its royalty tracking and collections in France. DJ Monitor uses advanced audio “fingerprinting” technology to identify music played by DJs in clubs, venues and festivals across Europe.
As noted in the article, the core problem deals like this aim to solve is the lack of education and knowledge about royalties and licensing rights within the electronic music community. Most creators simply don’t know money is owed to them, or that they are even supposed to register songs for royalties.
“The deal follows a SACEM survey that highlighted some of the difficulties and unique challenges in identifying and distributing rights for EDM artists and rights holders. They included a general lack of understanding in the electronic music community about collective rights management practices and insufficient tracking mechanisms of works played in clubs or remixed as part of a DJ set. Another issue highlighted in the study was that EDM tracks are often not included in the catalogues of rights management societies as few of them are registered by their creators.”
The company already has similar deals in place with societies in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. “Fingerprinting” technology is essentially identifying a song via its specific waveform. For example, when you listen to a song on SoundCloud, the entire “fingerprint” of the track is on display as the song streams. This kind of technology is also used by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and Shazam to identify songs. [READ MORE]
And now for this week’s other headlines:
- Spotify On Course To Hit 500M Users and A $100B Valuations, Says GP Bullhound (Music Business Worldwide)
- U.S. Latin Music Revenues Up 44% In First Half of 2017 (Billboard)
- Indie Labels Raked in $6 Billion Last Year; Accounting for 38% of Global Market (Billboard)
- The Future of Major Labels (Lefsetz Letter)
Week ending November 3rd: Songwriters Cashing Out Their Royalties For New Opportunities
The Songwriter Catalog Market Is Booming, With Indies Leading the Way (Billboard)
Benom’s Take: It’s an amazing time for the buying and selling of music catalogs. This week’s Billboard article reports on the booming seller’s market in music publishing rights.
So why are artists and writers so interested to sell their most precious assets?
There are two primary reasons for these recognizable catalogs: Age and lagging streaming royalties for songwriters. As Tom Cochrane (writer and artist of the hit song, “Life Is A Highway”) says, folks are getting older and they want the money now so they can enjoy it. Many of these aging creators would like to cash in on their catalogs to buy real estate or other investments that provide a better rate of return in the short term.
It makes a lot of sense if you wanted to slow down, retire or invest in other things. The music copyrights from classic catalogs are a cash-rich asset that can provide lots of exciting opportunities to the seller. If you can get several years worth of your current earnings, and those current earnings are already healthy, that’s a lot of financial opportunity!
In addition to the age factor, some older artists are deciding not to patiently wait out the long tail curve of songwriter streaming royalties. Jeff Biederman, the attorney quoted in the article, makes a poignant statement on this issue: “It will be a while before a writer is paid his or her due on Spotify the way labels are…” Most songwriters are still waiting for streaming revenue to catch up. And for those who are aging, it makes more sense to cash out now. How very interesting that a lag in songwriter streaming royalties has actually helped drive these catalog sales. [READ MORE]
And now for this week’s other headlines:
This round-up was put together by Benom Plumb, Assistant Professor of Music Industry Studies at the University of Colorado Denver.
Missed the last Fortnight In Music Royalties news? Check it out here.