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Predicting new trends - WR #110
Weekly Roundups
April 8, 2022

Predicting new trends - WR #110

The music industry has seen a fast-paced evolution, and it makes predicting the next trends a bit more difficult than usual. Will catalogs remain a safe bet? Will music consumption change the way we create? Let’s dive in.

#1. Why was a mechanical-rate freeze rejected by the CRB?

Having trouble placing various words of this title? No need to worry, it’s a long and apparently not finished discussion happening currently in the US.

The CRB (or Copyright Royalty Board) is hearing proposals from organizations representing songwriters, Majors, platforms and other music professionals to determine a rate for mechanical royalties. This rate will then be applicable to all professional entities for the period 2023-2027. This week, the proposal of simply freezing the current mechanical rate (in place since 2008) has been rejected. This was a proposal from the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) with the Big Three labels.

Why is that? The CRB pointed out that the rate hasn’t evolved in a long time, but the context of the music industry has completely changed since: “The determination rendered in 2008, with an effective date of 2006, cannot continue to bind the parties sixteen years later, absent sufficient record evidence that the status quo remains grounded in current facts and is a reasonable option.

In its current state, the discussion is still opening a way towards a better deal on royalties, both on mechanical rates and on digital plans (which will be influenced by the decision on the first topic).

#2. Will catalogs remain a safe bet?

Last week we were already talking about the trend of buying out music catalogs going strong. And here we are today, nuancing a bit the headlines predicting great revenues over music rights in 2022.

This is exactly what is at stake here: how can we predict the course of the music industry for the next few months when it’s evolving at such a pace? Right now, music rights acquisitions are mainly based on music streaming data, but many other platforms will have to be studied as well because users’ habits are changing.

MIDiA Research took the time to dig up some numbers to highlight the insights on the diversification of consumption for music. Here are the details!

#3. So what will drive attraction to music in the future?

Considering the fact that passive consumption of music is not the only way to think of online audiences, where could the trend be going?

It seems that more and more creators online are engaging and interacting with artists through content, creating new streams of revenue, but also a more fragmented and engaged community. Since platforms like TikTok are enabling so many more people to create themselves, it becomes a recreational activity.

Now, the challenge will be to integrate these aspects to older music streaming platforms, giving the possibility for creation and attracting more of the younger community. Here are the details if you feel like digging a bit more into the topic!

#4. Are short songs better?

Questions are coming on whether or not Spotify would enable 30 seconds tracks on the platform’s playlists for artists to fit the creations they need on other platforms such as TikTok.

It is clear that the long format is now somehow not fit for the variety of platforms and the online habits. And even less when it comes to discoverability.

#5. What lawsuit did Bob Dylan win this week?

If you hadn’t heard about it, Bob Dylan was being sued by the estate of the songwriter Jacques Levy for not respecting a part of the contract over several tracks. These were part of the deal made with Universal Music Publishing Group for about $300 million by Dylan. The case has finally acted in favor of Bob Dylan this week.

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