At an address at our recent Contemporary Music Roundtable, APRA AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle shared some interesting insights for songwriters and musicians about the current state of play in the digital music world.
Cottle reflected on the impacts that the enormous shift in music consumption from physical products such as CDs, to digital based distribution such as streaming services, has had on the music industry. This has seen a well-documented halving of recorded industry revenues across the globe. In Australia our research has shown a reduction from 66 million down to 30 million recordings over ten years from 2003.
During this period there has been a corresponding but to date lesser increase in digital revenues, coupled with an enormous increase in the volumes of music available. APRA AMCOS estimates this increase to be from 150,000 tracks per quarter to “about a million discrete works each quarter in Australia/NZ – consumed via digital services”. And this has meant lesser revenues are shared with many more people, meaning lower returns to songwriters and musicians.
However this is where the cause for optimism comes in. As Cottle notes: “royalty rates for songwriters are – across the board – much higher in the digital world than in the old analogue world”. Songwriter royalty rates for subscription streaming services are up to 15 percent of gross revenue, compared with 7.8 percent for CD sales. And this is growing – substantially – currently royalties paid by streaming services are increasing at around 60 percent per annum, more than replacing the decline in download royalties from itunes, etc).
Recent legislation “giving rights holders the ability to apply to block infringing sites” and encourage more consumers on to licensed services is further good news. This, coupled with recent trends for telcos and music companies to offer bundled services, could if take up is successful, offer real prospect of the larger volumes need to restore viability to the incomes of songwriters and musicians.
Read Brett Cottle’s full story on the APRA AMCOS website.