Music Collection Org: Revenues Are Booming… And That's Proof Why We Need Even More Draconian Copyright Laws

from the say-what-now? dept

As we showed earlier this year in our latest Sky Is Rising report, revenue in the entertainment industry continues to shoot upwards — and not because of draconian new anti-piracy laws, but almost entirely because of successful innovations from internet companies that have opened up massive new markets for content creators. You’d think that maybe this would make some copyright system supporters think twice about continuing to push for expansionary copyright policies that are likely to hamstring the very internet services that have provided them this windfall, but that would be expecting self-reflection from an industry famous for blaming everyone else for everything that has ever gone wrong.

Case in point, CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (a sort of mega group of most of the various performance rights collections societies around the globe) recently released its annual report on revenue, showing that things were looking up, up, up for songwriters and composers in getting paid. This report fits well with the annual IFPI report, which covers similar data for recording artists (generally speaking, IFPI covers revenue for recorded music, while CISAC covers revenue stemming from performance rights and songwriting royalties). In all cases, these show pretty massive increases, nearly all of it stemming from growth in internet services:

Royalties from digital sources jumped 29% to ?1.64 billion, thanks to rapid global expansion of music and subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services. In the last 5 years, creators? digital income has nearly tripled, now accounting for 17% of collections compared to 7.5% in 2014.

The increase in major markets? digital collections – notably the United States, France and Japan – are the biggest drivers of global growth. This growth is helped by new and extended licensing deals between societies and digital platforms, from dedicated content services like Spotify to social media platforms such as Facebook and video on demand platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

That all sounds pretty great, right? Except… that CISAC execs then made the rounds using this report to… call for more draconian copyright laws that would hamstring the internet and limit future growth.

I only wish I was kidding. CISAC’s own press release states:

Jean-Michel Jarre, CISAC President, said: ?Digital is our future and revenues to creators are rising fast, but there is a dark side to digital, and it is caused by a fundamental flaw in the legal environment that continues to devalue creators and their works. That is why the European Copyright Directive is so momentous for creators everywhere. The Directive has sent an amazing, positive signal around the world, building a fairer balance between creators and the tech platforms?.

Meanwhile, CISAC’s Director General Gadi Oron told press outlets like Music Ally that the report only reinforces why the EU Copyright Directive is so important:

On the first of those, the report includes a section on the European Copyright Directive, which was adopted in April and is now being implemented by the EU?s member states.

?It?s very encouraging to see that the digital income is going up at such a pace, including those territories like Mexico, Sweden and South Korea where digital is now the biggest source of income,? said Oron. ?I think that will spread to other markets, and digital will gradually become more important. That?s why it?s so important for us to get the legislation in place to make the most of that.?

But the whole point of the EU Copyright Directive is to make it that much more difficult for services to make use of digital music in any form without negotiating impossible licenses, that are designed to strip the platforms from any ability to innovate or offer unique new services. In other words, as is nearly always the case, these laws are designed to strangle the golden goose. For years we’ve pointed out that every single time the tech industry comes up with a new service that helps make musicians more money, the industry comes along and whines about how it’s not getting 100% of the value creation, and then pushes for laws to demand as such, even as it kills these new services.

It’s almost pathological. The industry seems simply unwilling to recognize that getting a slice of a larger pie is a better deal. It wants the entire damn pie, even if it means torching the pie to a crisp and making it inedible. The industry is thriving. And yet it keeps pushing for new laws that it insists it needs because the industry is at risk of being destroyed — and it doesn’t care if this effort actually destroys the industry that is helping them. It’s insane that politicians keep rubber stamping these moves.

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Comments on “Music Collection Org: Revenues Are Booming… And That's Proof Why We Need Even More Draconian Copyright Laws”

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55 Comments

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Anonymous Coward says:

Stronger copyright law will help, not harm, revenue. The only way to convince an audience of freeloaders to do the right thing is to not give them any other choice.

"They made me steal it" is not justification for piracy. Those who profit from this theft are criminals and their money is poison to those who earn their own money honestly.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It has to be for the collection societies revenue as how else will a chief of a collection society be able to run up a $50,000 brothel bill and claim it all as expenses in the name of copyright prtection: https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-boss-spent-50k-in-brothels-to-protect-copyright-141114/

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Dave P. says:

Re: Re: Re: boom

Hmm…….When someone of obviously limited intelligence is wrong and losing an argument, they quite often resort to obscenities and/or crass insults. Wonder who that might be? (Clue…..two people in mind, one of which is Donald Trump. The other is not a million miles from these comments – and today’s colour, children, is BLUE – B.L.U.E. – also spelt P.I.G. I.G.N.O.R.A.N.T.)

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Chris Brand says:

Re: Re:

"The only way to convince an audience of freeloaders to do the right thing is to not give them any other choice"

This has been proven to be false. Fro example from way back in 2015 https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/10/spotify-reduces-piracy-but-also-cuts-into-digital-track-sales/

The best way to convince an audience to pay for music is to make doing so just as easy as to pirate it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree that those who are getting their money dishonestly are to blame.

CISAC and similar organizations need to be put on US sanctions list and have their assets stripped along with every other US enemy that has the stated goal of eliminating free speech protections at home for the United States.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The only way to convince an audience of freeloaders to do the right thing is to not give them any other choice."

What’s sad is that you’re apparently still believing this, despite a full decade of this claim being proven wrong.

You also forget that the paying customers that you so often falsely attack as pirates always have a choice. If they’ve decided that the crap you shovel is worth exactly $0 to them, they’ll find something else to do rather than pay more than that. Why you insist on destroying the way paying customers use your products in order to try and get people who will never pay is a constant mystery.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think we are the limit of copyright law ,any more laws will just stop
innovation or new service,s rising to rescue the music industry from
its obsession with forcing in new laws that reduce fair use ,reduce free speech,
the music industry has a share in the streaming service,s
also they can increase fees anytime they want.
The new eu laws are being pushed by stupid politicians who dont i=understand the internet and big corporations ,
they want to force google, youtube to license everything
AT a price ,
music industry vs riaa ,
who is the most stupid or engaged in more lobbying to bring in stupid
laws even if they reduce the ability fro new services to exist
which can provide revenue for them.?

Federico (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copy levy

For your information that’s very much a thing. In Italy you pay 32.20 € on a phone or other device with over 400 GB memory for the "tax" (private copy levy or "equo compenso", fair compensation, in copyright newspeak).
https://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/eli/id/2014/07/07/14A05171/sg

The racketeering was so brazen that the Court of Justice of the European Union had to strike it down for some devices which were clearly not supposed to be subjected to the "levy".
http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=177701&doclang=en

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bobob says:

It won’t make content companies think twice (or even once) about copyright policies because those companies are not interested in lots of new creators with a lot of variety from which potential buyers may choose.

Those companies are interested in a small number of creators with whom they can establish a brand and provide a limited amount of content over which they have absolute control – contemporary content creators akin to a"Tom Cruise" brand, where one person may make a lot of money, but is bankable due to a lack of too many choices. If an argument by those who should know better seems illogical, it most likely makes sense if you follow the money.

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s slways been more about control and fear, using ‘money being lost’ as the means to stir up politicians and by giving underhand payments, get yhem to do the entertsinment industries bidding. Remember, there’s no such thing as an honest politician, just a few who are a bit less corrupt! Anything that can be done to ensure the public remain enslaved and vulnerable will be done, just as anything that keep the few controlling the many will also be done!

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Meanwhile, in the REAL world...

That is why the European Copyright Directive is so momentous for creators everywhere. The Directive has sent an amazing, positive signal around the world, building a fairer balance between creators and the tech platforms”.

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, and maybe in some magical land of utter insanity it might eventually, possibly, maybe be true at some point. In this reality though it was a greed and control driven attempt to both grab money you don’t deserve, kill off avenues for potential new creators, and will reduce the income of those that are already there as they find out just how much their stuff is actually worth.

While we’re on the subject of those poor creators and how they’re being taken advantage though, maybe check your own house to see how you are treating them, followed by the labels and how they are treating their artists, because I’m pretty sure either of those deals would make the ones offered by ‘tech platforms’ look very generous in comparison.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

Look at it from their perspective, a mountain of money is not all the money so they simply have to find new ways to keep wringing blood from a stone, even if they end up pulverising it in the process.

I for one am glad to live in a world where Warner brothers can make untold millions from buying the rights to Happy Birthday without creating a thing, where content is gated off in particular regions and often blocked in it’s country of origin, where GEMA can black out music services in Germany for years on end, and I’m thrilled to live in a world where performance rights societies can send legal threats to stop people singing while they work because they’ve already taken away the right to listen to the radio within earshot of customers. (Seriously, that happened http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/8317952.stm ) If publishers don’t control music and try to control and keep people from hearing it in the most miserly ways imaginable, they may reach wider audiences and be purchased and enjoyed, which is madness. It’s for the good of music to keep shoving stones in juicers in the hope of finding more blood and pushing for laws that make everything just that little bit worse for the audience, as we all know the easiest way to really make something become vibrant and full of life is to deprive it of Oxygene, right Jean Michelle?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Kickstarter, Smashwords, Bandcamp, commissions, self-publishing platforms where the creator doesn’t have to sign over the rights to theirs stuff… I’m sure the list could go on and on, but those were the ones that came to mind with a little thinking.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well "they" aren’t giving the middlemen any money, only the actual artists who earned the reward by producing the good.

I mean how dare someone else support the artists the **AA’s are trying to sign to life draining contracts that enslave them to the label for the rest of their (and their children’s children’s) lives???

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

**AA’s are trying to sign to life draining contracts that enslave them to the label for the rest of their (and their children’s children’s) lives???

Or stealing from them by using the slightest hint of infringement to claim all the money made by videos.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "Middlemen"

It’s odd that Twitch and Patreon are supposed to be some kind of damning point with these assholes, isn’t it?

Well "they" aren’t giving the middlemen any money, only the actual artists who earned the reward by producing the good.

I would argue that Twitch and Patreon (and Bandcamp, for that matter) are Middlemen, but unlike Record Labels, they’re enablers and not gatekeepers. That is, they play an in-between role, but they let the artists do the work themselves, and not meddle (or at least not meddle too much) in their creativity, and most importantly, only take a fee as a service instead of all of the profits and ownership of their copyrights.

Mike Masnick said as much here.

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