Transmission: Music Industry News & Updates

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Transmission: Music Industry News & Updates is a new feature on the Manitoba Music website that will offer a semi-regular summary of music industry news from across the country and around the globe. Below is the second installment and look forward to providing future roundups of relevant and interesting industry happenings. We hope you enjoy it.

Music Sales, Streaming Services, and Copyright

Global music scales figures released last month suggest revenues from recorded music sales increased for the first time since 1998. Observers are suggesting this might be the end of the sales freefall of the past decade.

Mind you, observers also made that prediction in 2004

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry found that a rise in digital music downloads of 12% brings downloads to 70% of all digital music revenue. While these increases are celebrated, they also raise at least a couple interesting points. The fast growing subscription music service model still accounts for less than 30% of online revenues. And, physical sales still make up 57% of overall music sales. 

The greatest expense for fast-growing digital streaming services like Spotify and Pandora (neither are available in Canada) is paying artist royalties. At the same time, however, artists claim that the royalties paid for plays on streaming services are literally pennies, often only portions of pennies. 

Over 100 high profile artists have signed on to fight Pandora’s attempts in the U.S. to reduce the royalties it pays to artists. 

Meanwhile, the RIAA and others still see the fight for digital profitability as a fight against piracy. In 2012, the RIAA ramped up its efforts to get search giant Google to take down search results for URLs offering alleged copyright infringing content. This month, the RIAA will hit a milestone of 10 million takedown notices

And yet, a search for breakout group The Lumineers, will still turn up more illegal than legal offerings.

Others are taking the fight to corporations who advertise on file sharing sites in attempt to shame them into stopping their financial support of copyright infringing sites. 

For those artists who are looking to the financing of their careers back into their own hands, crowdfunding offers an appealing route. Amanda Palmer presented a TED talk on the recent success--and the criticism against--her campaign this month. 

Live Music, Concerts, and Venues

Meanwhile, in Toronto a “working group” has been assembled to assist in implementing a strategy designed to strengthen Ontario’s live music scene.

Spearheaded by Music Canada (the major label industry group in Canada) and the Ontario government, the task force formation comes after a report that compares the live music scene in Toronto to that in Austin, Texas – self proclaimed ‘live music capital of the world’. 

In Calgary, big, bold, and brash is often the approach. And this is certainly the case in plans revealed for the development of the National Music centre in the city’s historic East Village. The Centre has evolved out of the Cantos Music Foundation. The new development will see a restored King Edward Hotel, a storied Calgary venue, as part of new building that will house multiple music venues.

Small venues are not just struggling in Canada. The pressures on music rooms are being felt around the globe, even in hotbeds of musical development like London where venues are being pushed out by development and changing neighborhoods.

An issue that Winnipeger’s know well.

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