Aussie music publishers rank Top 10 globally, but indies are lagging
Australia ranks as the ninth biggest market in the world for music publishers, but the indie players – despite strong A&R activity – still have a low share.
Also of concern, according to a new report, is that global publishing lags far behind recorded music in tapping into new digital income sources and cashing in on the growth of streaming.
The Independent Music Publishing Global Market View 2020, released this week, put the worldwide value of music publishing in 2019 at €5 billion (AU$8.26 billion).
The list was topped by the US, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, Italy, Brazil and Canada.
The IMPF reported that Australia generated €173 million ($286.5 million) in 2019, up from €166.75 million ($276.2 million) in 2018.
Its figures came from a survey by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) of its Australian and New Zealand members, as well as data from APRA AMCOS.
The APRA AMCOS figures “only related to royalties flowing through to music publishing companies and did not include royalties paid directly to songwriters and composers.”
Indie publishers – defined by the report as companies with a market share of 5% or less — represented 27% of the global share.
This share varied from territory to territory, with Japan posting a remarkable 63%.
“It’s a study that needed to happen, not just to use for global advocacy with policymakers, but for all music publishers to better understand our strengths, repertoire and indeed the regions of the world that may require more focus,” IMPF president Annette Barrett said.
“This study also underpins what we have always known, that the size of the indie music publishing market internationally is very significant in the overall music industry.
“This report is a starting point, and should we decide to look in the future at our contribution in real terms – employment and job creation, investment in new talent, support to songwriters and composers, number of companies, etc. – then our impact is only multiplied.”
The value of global music copyright was worth €25.12 billion ($41.59 billion) in 2018, with 61% attributed to the recording sector, and 39% to publishing.
What was of concern to Barrett was that while digital revenue accounted for about 80% of revenues for recorded music, that was not the case for publishers “where growth comes mainly from mechanical revenue”.
“Independent music publishers are well aware of this discrepancy and it is something that requires further reflection and action,” Barrett said.
That digital was just 19.1% of global music publishing income was not just merely due to safe harbour issues “but also due to the way licenses are negotiated”, thereby begging the question as to whether the indie music publishing market could in effect be bigger.
In other words, the works of indie publisher creators are undervalued in the digital marketplace.
Piracy and corruption also continue to be a real problem, particularly in Africa and China.