Top Five Issues Facing the Music Industry

from Music Matters Asia
The music industry is in a period of enormous flux. Digital sales grew by more than 100 per cent in the first six months of 2006, but physical sales are still falling and online growth is hampered by piracy. I could give you a list of issues we are taking on that is as long as my arm – but here are the current top five:

• The extension of broadcasting and performance rights in key markets. We are still not being paid by the people that use our product. In the United States, for example, music supports a radio industry that generates $20 billion a year in advertising revenues – but no broadcaster pays us royalties for the music that attracts the listeners advertisers want to reach.

• ISPs need to live up to their responsibilities. ISP contracts tell their customers they will be disconnected if they don’t pay their bill or infringe copyright. These firms too rarely enforce the second rule, despite the fact they use music as a major marketing tool for their services. If they do not take action against infringement voluntarily we will have to ask governments to make them enforce the law in cyberspace.

• The next generation needs to be educated about copyright. Many young people want to have careers in the creative sector, yet too often they are using P2P networks to access infringing material. Education programmes in schools are needed to explain they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg and that if record labels can’t sell music they will not survive to provide jobs and support new artists in the future.

• The campaign to equalise the term of copyright protection goes on. We are working hard to ensure that record labels and artists in countries like Japan receive the same 95-year protection that their American counterparts do and are treated on a more equal footing with composers. It takes a team to create a piece of art that will last forever and the whole team needs to be rewarded fairly.

• Beijing needs to take action to guarantee a fair and open market in China. The Chinese government knows the country would greatly benefit from a strong creative sector and is reforming the law to combat copyright infringement. It needs to do more to enforce its new laws and introduce additional reforms that will help legitimate music producers and retailers take on the piracy that is still rife in China.

(John Kennedy, Chairman, IFPI)