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Music Publishing At A Cross Roads How Streaming Is Transforming The Outlook For Music Publishers

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View

Everything starts with the song yet music publishers have often been the last part of the digital equation.  Relative insulation from the effects of declining music sales have enabled publishers to have a far less digital centric worldview than record labels.   Streaming is now acting as a catalyst for great publisher engagement in the digital marketplace.  Historically music publishers have enjoyed a highly diversified revenue base with clearly demarcated rights.  But these analogue era delineations are being tested, often to breaking point, by new emerging digital use cases.  This coupled with songwriter dissatisfaction and calls for great transparency mean that the outlook for music publishing is much less straight forward than it was five years ago.

Key Findings

  • Global music            revenue grew from            billion in            to            billion in 2014.  This            contrasts with a            decline in            label revenue over the same           
  • At the            time music publisher digital revenue            increased from            to           
  • Music industry            since 2000 has been a            label phenomenon with both love            music publisher revenue growing throughout            of the period
  • Performance royalties            music publisher revenue with            billion,            the total and grew by            2014
  • The diversity            revenue streams means that music            were largely insulated from much            the digital disruption that drove            record label revenues
  • The accelerated            in music sales that has            the rise in streaming is            translating into declining mechanical royalties            now represent less than a            of publisher revenue
  • Sony ATV            a            market share while innovative            Kobalt and BMG have both            grown market share
  • The music            royalty landscape is characterized by            slow reporting cycles, lack of            and poor quality data
  • Innovations in            and music publishers’ push for            larger share of digital rights            will be key issues over            next few years 

Companies mentioned in this report: Sony ATV, Warner Chappel, Universal Music Publishing, Kobalt, BMG, Round Hill Music, PRS for Music, Spotify

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