The good news for the industry: If you’re online, there’s a strong chance you’re consuming licensed music. The bad: piracy and the “value gap” are persistent problems.
Recorded music has never been consumed by more people, more often than it is right now, the IFPI illustrates in its newly-published Music Consumer Insight Report.
It’s a fairly positive state-of-the-market piece, and at just 12 pages, loaded with graphs and data, it’s an easy read.
The study, based on research conducted with Internet users predominantly aged 16–64 in 13 of the world’s leading music markets, including Australia, found that 96% of respondents stream licensed music, a figure which rises to 98% among 16-24s. And the next generation is tuning in.
The global trade association found that 85% of 13-15 year olds are streaming music.
“Young fans,” says IFPI CEO Frances Moore, are “showing high levels of engagement with music. Despite having enormous amounts of media content competing for their time and attention, they are taking music to their hearts and recognising its value. As they emerge as the next generation of music fans this is an encouraging sign.”
We’re also addicted to our devices. Nearly 60% of music consumed in Australia was delivered by smartphones, up from 52% last year. Mexico leads the pack at nearly 91% while Japan, surprisingly, brings up the tail at just 44%.
It’s not all rosy. Piracy, and copyright infringements are still a thorn in the side for the industry, with stream ripping the dominant method. Labels recently celebrated a victory with a legal takedown of the YouTube-MP3.org site, which reportedly boasted more than 60 million unique users per month and was targeted by the recording industry as a “chief offender” for illegal stream-ripping of tunes from YouTube.
But the single biggest threat facing the music world today, according to the new study, is the “value gap,” the perceived imbalance between the value that user upload services extract from music and the revenue returned to creators and investors. User upload video services, such as YouTube, account for the majority of on-demand streaming time and yet are not returning fair value to the music community, the report claims. The industry is campaigning for a legislative solution, Moore asserts. “The global music community is united in urging policy makers to act to address this,” she says.
Speaking at the Music Matters summit last week in Singapore, YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen suggested his company was on the same page. “That’s my mission here at the company — to help break the artists for the labels. To increase the advertising CPMs for their content and to build a subscription business that shows the industry that our funnel converts,” he said. “That’s so important to me and my personal story.”