Global publishing sector worth £4.5 billion - but streaming growth lags behind recorded music

Global publishing sector worth £4.5 billion - but streaming growth lags behind recorded music

The International Music Publishers Forum (IMPF) has issued a report showing the value of the global copyright business.

In 2019, the value of music publishing alone was estimated at €5 billion (£4.54bn) globally.

Independent music publishers represent 27% of the total. However, the proportion varies by territory – Japan’s indie publisher representation is at 63% of the total. In the UK, indie publishing is estimated at 33% of the market – six percentage points above the global market share.

The IMPF said that the global copyright business across recording and publishing was worth €25.2bn (£22.9bn) in 2018. The global recorded music sector was responsible for 61% of the total, while 39% was attributed to the music publishing sector worldwide.

Annette Barrett, president of IMPF and chair of the board of directors, said: “I am so pleased to launch this report as president of IMPF. It’s a study that needed to be undertaken, not just to use for global advocacy with policy makers everywhere, but for all music publishers to better understand our strengths, repertoire and indeed the regions of the world that may require more focus.

“This study also underpins what we have always known, that the size of the indie music publishing market internationally is very significant as is our positioning 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 – then our impact is only multiplied.”

While digital revenue was below 20% of the global publishing revenue in 2018, streaming and digital services are growing. But CISAC – which is set to release new figures for 2019 tomorrow – has noted that the works of creators are undervalued in the digital marketplace. 

“It is therefore important to tackle the reluctance of some online services to sufficiently remunerate rightsholders for the use of online copyright-protected content,” stated the IMPF report.

Barrett said the publishing sector needs to look at why it is not getting the same boost from streaming as labels. The Ivors Academy has called for a review of the streaming market, and the DCMS Committee will investigate the impact of streaming in the UK.

Digital accounted for 19.1% of global publishing revenues in 2018.

“While this figure is increasing, it is still shockingly low,” said Barrett. “For instance, though digital revenues account for approximately 80% of the growth in revenues on the recording side, this is not the case in publishing 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.” 

In terms of regions, North America, Europe and Japan are leading the growth curve for publishing.

The report also welcomes progress on the Copyright Directive in Europe as a solution to the value gap.

The IMPF study also acknowledges the “serious and devastating impact” of the Covid pandemic on the music publishing industry.

“While some CMOs have ventured to calculate estimated losses, the real impact will only be known, and felt, next year, given the timeline between collection and distribution,” said the report.

“As the network and meeting place for independent music publishers globally, IMPF is confident that together any challenge can be turned into an opportunity,” said Barrett. “In times of change this report demonstrates the strength of indie publishers. IMPF will continue to assist, provide, and connect indie publishers around the world and ever more so in the current climate and especially in those territories where indies may be sole operators and lack any solid network.”

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