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Music tech and AI progress in music industry - WR #197
Weekly Roundups
January 19, 2024

Music tech and AI progress in music industry - WR #197

A new solution for assessing and certifying artificial intelligence was launched this week! In this edition we'll be looking at AI, but also at physical and digital distribution on streaming platforms.

#1. “Phantom Artists” are ripping off Indie acts’ IP

The exploitation of major distribution services and "phantom artists" profiles is regularly carried out by malicious actors thanks to the use of AI. A duo called Bad Dog, found that their SoundCloud album had mysteriously surfaced on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer with altered tracks and different artist names. 

The perpetrators are believed to have used metadata associated with the Bad Dog album, and to have used Level, Warner Music Group's independent distributor. 

In total, the problem of streaming royalty theft is estimated at around $2 billion a year, out of a total of $17 billion in streaming revenues, and it is generally difficult to find those responsible and thus financially compensate such fraudulent activities.

#2. Germany's stream numbers up in 2023

In Germany, the volume of music streams reached 213 billion in 2023, an increase of 12% on the previous year's figure. What's more, a new record for the highest number of streams in a single day in Germany was set on Christmas Eve, with almost 830 million streams! In fact, the total number of streams in a single day in Germany reached 213 billion in 2023, an increase of 12% on the previous year. 

"Current music" from the 2020s contributed 52% of all streams in Germany in 2023, with local artists such as Ayliva, Luciano and Nina Chuba particularly well received. This predominance of local-language artists on streaming services aligns with global trends seen in other markets, notably Italy and France.  This had a positive effect on recorded music revenues in Germany, which rose by 6.6% year-on-year in the first half of 2023, reaching around €1.056 billion (approx. $1.18 billion).

#3. Sony Music Masterworks collaborates with Roast Production

Sony Music Masterworks has entered into a strategic agreement with Roast Productions, a London-based live entertainment company. Roast Productions, led by experienced producers Bonnie Royal and Michael Stevens, will continue to manage day-to-day operations while collaborating with Sony Music Masterworks on the development of new productions. This collaboration will be supported by Mark Cavell, President of Sony Music Masterworks, and Ollie Rosenblatt, Founder and CEO of UK-based live show producer and promoter Senbla.

Sony Music Masterworks will continue to focus on the recording, production and promotion of original musical experiences and new live shows, primarily non-pop, curating film and television soundtracks and managing extensive archives including Star Wars, Phantom of the Opera and Memoirs of a Geisha.

#4. A new initiative to evaluate and certify AI models

Fairly Trained, a new non-profit organization founded by Ed Newton-Rex, has launched an initiative to evaluate and certify AI models based on their respect for creators' rights. "Licensed Model" certification aims to evaluate and certify AI models based on their data sources, offering consumers and companies transparency on AI models trained on data acquired with creators' consent.  

This certification will become a reference tool for companies adopting a fairer approach to creators. Nine startups, mainly focused on sound generation, have already achieved Fairly Trained certification supported by organizations such as the Association of American Publishers, the Association of Independent Music Publishers, Concord, Pro Sound Effects, and Universal Music Group.

#5. South Korea sold 115 million physical albums in 2023

In 2023, physical sales of the top 400 albums in South Korea exceeded 115 million units, a significant increase on the previous year, which saw 77.12 million albums sold. The data, provided by a breakdown from Circle Chart, reveals that 26 artists individually sold at least one million physical albums in 2023, compared with 21 in 2022. Seventeen became the best-selling artist, with 16.08 million albums sold during the year. The increase in physical album sales reflects the continued growth of the K-pop industry, with notable contributions from various South Korean entertainment companies, including Hybe and SM Entertainment.

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