Overnight news from around the world: Wednesday, September 21

Overnight news from around the world: Wednesday, September 21

Darcus Beese receives MUSEXPO Europe European Executive of the Year Award

Island Records president Darcus Beese became the first winner of the MUSEXPO Europe European Executive of the Year Award at last night’s closing gala dinner ceremony at London's Millennium Hotel. Beese was presented with the award after participating in an on-stage interview with Music Week editor Mark Sutherland, in which he discussed his continued passion for uncovering new talent and the difficulties the industry has faced this year in breaking new acts. Commenting on what drives him as president of the company, he said: The excitement and the rush comes from breaking new acts, but it’s equally important when we have artists like PJ Harvey going to No.1 with her ninth album.” On the subject of the apparent lack of breakthrough artists in 2016 so far he added: “We can’t blame the market; it’s in all of our hands. We all [record labels] have to take responsibility for the fact that little has broken this year.” The European Executive of the Year award celebrates the work of an industry executive who has helped set new standards in artistic and commercial achievement across Europe over the past 12 months. So far this year, Island has notched up a stellar array of No.1 hits on the albums chart with artists such as Catfish & The Bottlemen, PJ Harvey and Ariana Grande, plus Drake’s near-record-breaking hold on the UK singles No.1. (Music Week)

Paid streaming boosts US music market with revenues up 8.1% in 1H 2016

Record music sales in the US are reaching a tipping point where 50% of the industry's revenues come from streaming. Figures released by the Recorded Industry Association of America for the first half of 2016 show that streaming now accounts for 47% of total revenues at retail value, boosted by a strong rise in revenues from subscription streaming services. During the first half, US industry's revenues at retail increased 8.1% on a year-over-year basis to $3.4 billion. The RIAA noted that it was “the strongest industry growth since the late 1990’s.” At wholesale, value increased 5.7% to $2.4 billion. Digital revenues now account for 78% of total US revenues, with permanent downloads accounting for 31%, physical sales for 20% and revenues from synch for 3% of the total. Paid streaming revenues passed the one billion mark for the first time and Sherman forecasts that music subscriptions to services like Spotify, Apple, and Tidal are “on pace to surpass $2 billion [in revenues] by the end of the year.” The RIAA includes in the streaming category revenues from subscription services (such as Apple Music, TIDAL and paid versions of Spotify, among others), streaming radio service revenues that are distributed by rights society SoundExchange (like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio), and other non-subscription on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify). Paid streaming was the unique growth driver as downloads and physical sales (including vinyl) went down during the first half. First half (1H) 2016 streaming music revenues totalled $1.6 billion, up 57% year-over-year, and accounted for 47% of industry revenues against 32% in 1H 2015, while subscription music streaming services grew 112% to $1.01 billion. SoundExchange distributions grew 4% to $403 million, an all-time high for the first half of the year. On-demand ad-supported streaming grew 24% y-o-y to $195 million. Revenues from permanent digital downloads declined 17% to $1.0 billion for H1 2016. The total value of digital albums was $500 million, down 11% versus the same period the prior year, and digital album units were down 15% to 48.2 million. But digital albums sales were more resilient than digital track sales, which declined by value 22% to $520 million, with sales volume down 22% to 432 million units.

AIM AGM announcements

AIM held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Glaziers Hall in London yesterday, featuring a programme of events that included a keynote interview with AIM founders Martin Mills (Beggars Group founder) and departing CEO Alison Wenham in conversation with Simon Raymonde of Bella Union. Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent label sector, also made a presentation outlining the positive outcomes Merlin’s members are experiencing as the market transitions to one dominated by digital and streaming. The AIM membership also voted on a shortlist of ‘Your Big Idea’ submissions. The initiative saw the organisation inviting ideas that would become agenda setting policies or campaigns moving forward. Submitted in advance by AIM members these Big Ideas were pared down to a shortlist of 10 by the AIM board with individual members ‘sponsoring’ an individual idea. That member then worked closely with the idea’s proposer to present it at the AGM, where a vote decided which one is adopted and actioned. The winning idea was submitted by Stephen Richards (Lucky Number Music) and sponsored by Shirin Foroutan (Mute Group) and Stephen Richards (Lucky Number Music). The idea was for AIM to lobby and further investigate tax breaks for investment in UK A&R asset creation. As part of the AGM, four new AIM board members were appointed: Achal Dhillon, Killing Moon, Frederick Jude, Snapper Music, James Endeacott, 1965 Records, Jane Third, Because Music. Wenham said in her final AIM speech: "The final AGM of my AIM tenure was hugely enjoyable. Being able to share memories with Martin Mills and Simon Raymonde was great fun as was helping agree the shortlist for this year’s ‘Big Idea’ and seeing the brilliant submission from Stephen Richards voted for by the membership.”

MUSEXPO Europe Day 2 round up

The second day of MUSEXPO Europe featured a number of lively panel sessions on subjects as diverse as marketing and sync deals, the evolution of radio and a spotlight on the Asian market. Discussing radio in the digital age, panelists Jeff Smith, head of music for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, and Edward Kershaw, chief commercial officer of digital music firm 7digital, offered opposing views on the role of data in radio curation in the session, moderated by Joe Denver, publisher and president of US-based AllAccess. The session was followed by a keynote interview with Fulwell 73 Productions director Gabe Turner and producer Leo Pearlman – the production team behind Carpool Karaoke. Rights to a spinoff version of the show have recently been purchased by Apple Music. A panel on brand partnerships and sync deals followed, featuring ThinkSynch Music’s music supervisor and creative director Connie Farr, Disturbing London general manager Damaris Rex-Taylor, Oum Pradutt, founder of Phase 1 events and Zoe Stainsby of Entertainment Marketing Consulting. A spotlight session on the Asian market featured founder and CEO of Canvas Talent and co-founder of Farout Media (India), Anurag Rao, managing director of Outdustry (China), Ed Peto, head of programmes at BBC Asian Network, Mark Strippel, and managing director of Phase 1 Events and Entertainment, Oum Pradutt. The final panel of the day saw the subject of A&R take centre stage, comprising A&R director, Atlantic Records, Alec Boateng, founder and president, Glassnote Entertainment Group, Daniel Glass, senior VP, BMG, and founder of Infectious Records, Korda Marshall, Decca Records MD Rebecca Allen and senior director A&R, Universal Muaic Germany, Sigi Schuller. Mike Walsh, deputy programme director and head of music, Radio X, moderated the panel. Among the topics discussed were gut instinct versus data and the cyclical nature of trends and genres. (Music Week)

UMPG promotes David Kokakis

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has announced the promotion of David Kokakis to executive vice president/head of business and legal affairs, business development and digital. The appointment was announced by Marc Cimino, chief operating officer at UMPG, to whom Kokakis will report. Previously senior Vice president / head of business and legal affairs and business development, Kokakis has led UMPG’s business affairs in North America since 2011. In his expanded role, he will contribute to shaping UMPG’s international digital strategies, handling government relations and public policy matters, and overseeing the company’s legal affairs, litigation matters and negotiation of digital and core publishing deals. As part of establishing a greater international presence, he was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Music Publishers Association and to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency. "David has proven not to just be a leader within UMPG, but a leader in our industry who consistently looks at new ways to move the music business forward while always staying true to UMPG's core of maximising value for our songwriters around the world,” said Cimino. “He exemplifies all the quality traits that we want at UMPG, and we couldn't be happier to announce this well-deserved promotion."

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