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A year in music rights – from Next Generation ISWC to Spotify Kids
Music streaming continues to grow, bringing with it many changes. We look at some of 2019’s news stories and industry developments for CMOs.
Burst 2019
Burst, 2019


Record Payments for artists by Sound Exchange

In its Q4 Digital Radio Report, Sound Exchange revealed record payouts of $953m for artists in 2018. This was the highest number in the collective rights management organisation’s 15-year history. They also celebrated the Music Modernization Act which passed at the end of 2018.

Announcement of Next Generation ISWC

As streaming platforms, usage and database grow, music is not being matched accurately. ISWCs (International Standard Musical Works Codes) provide accuracy in identifying songs. However, the systems being used to manage them can no longer deal with the volume of information to be processed. CISAC announced early this year that they would partner with Spanish Point Technologies to upgrade the current ISWC system in an effort to address key issues faced by CMOs. This system would provide faster and more accurate music matching.

The EU Copyright Directive adopted by the EU Parliament

For too long creators did not have a voice as streaming increased. This new policy redistributes the power evenly between the artists and the streaming platforms, increasing fairness. Uses of artists’ music, even in user generated content, is now protected and must be licenced. Gadi Oron, Director General of CISAC, shared that these rights “allow creators to be respected for their talent, their long working hours and the sweat and tears that goes into their creations.”

Spotify announces 100 million paid subscribers

In the first half of the year, Spotify shared this significant milestone. Achieving growth of 32% on the previous year.


Amazon Music emerges as the fastest growing streaming service

It was reported that Amazon Music is adding subscribers at a much faster rate than rivals Spotify and Apple Music. In just one year the platform had achieved a 70% growth, reaching 32m subscribers. This growth was fueled by the rapid increase of smart speakers, powered by Alexa.

SGAE suspended by CISAC

In a vote by the global organisation CISAC, Spanish music rights organisation SGAE was given a one year suspension. In this year suspension, SGAE is tasked with addressing issues around the treatment of rights holders and unfair royalty distribution practices to ensure compliance with group policies.

Taylor Swift’s Masters sold – the world discusses music copyright

In an interesting story that gripped the world’s media, copyright was at the centre. In the summer headlines were dominated by the news that rights to Taylor Swift’s first six albums were sold to Scooter Braun this year.

Classical music poses unique metadata issues

Earlier this year The New York Times wrote a piece on music metadata for Classical music that caught attention. Although rising in popularity in music sales, with issues in metadata classical music accounts for just 1% of total streams. Classical music is not streaming friendly as the exact desired music work is often difficult to find on general streaming platforms. A Lot of this comes down to the complexities of titles and ownership of songs created hundreds of years ago. New streaming platforms such as Primephonic and Idagio are developing databases of classical music to address the demand.

Pixabay 2019
Pixabay 2019


Goldman Sachs predicts paid streaming to be worth $28 billion by 2030

In its ‘Music in the Air’ report, the company revised its earlier conservative predictions. With 2018 revenue figures at $7 billion for paid streaming, this prediction is huge. This is fueled by their prediction that paid subscribers of music streaming platforms are set to grow from 225m in 2018 to 1.15 billion in just over 20 years. The report also stated that this growth will predominantly be driven by emerging markets. Growth of streaming is not slowing down.

Streaming accounts for 80% of US music revenues

The Wall Street Journal reported that despite growth in physical sales, streaming continues to dominate global music revenues. Much of this is also driven by paid subscribers.

Spotify Announce Launch of Spotify Kids

In a beta launch in Ireland, Spotify launched the application targeted at the next generation of listeners. Intended for children ages 3 and up, the application features a database of singalongs, lullabies and soundtracks. The look and feel of the app also are designed with the younger customer in mind. Spotify Kids has since been rolled out to Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand.


Matching Engine Launch

The volume of music data to be processed has grown for CMOs. Often their legacy systems do not have the capability to manage this. Spanish Point Technologies built a cloud based application to address the needs of CMOs for efficiency and accuracy.

CISAC Global Collections Report – Streaming grows, but not digital collections paid to artists

The recent report shared that global digital revenues have hit record numbers, achieving 29% growth in the past year. However, in contrast, the percentage of payments to artists via digital sources remains at 20%. Jean-Michel Jarre highlighted this mismatch, calling it the “dark side of digital”.

At the end of 2019, we are excited for the next year and decade. We expect streaming to continue to grow and hope that copyright becomes a more important issue in the eyes of lawmakers and the global media. If you are reviewing your systems for 2020, please do not hesitate to talk to our Matching Engine team.

Happy New Year from the Matching Engine Team.