Saturday, May 30, 2020

Warner Music Group prepares for June 3 IPO

By Emmanuel Legrand

Warner Music Group will be quoted on the NASDAQ stock market in New York on June 3, 2020 under the symbol "WMG." The initial public offering is for 70,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock, or 13.7% of the company's shares.

  On June 2, WMG will announce the opening share price, expected to be between $23 and $26 per share. A $26 share price would value the company at $13.26 billion and generate $1.8bn in income.

 Initially, WMG's parent company Access Industries, the investment tool owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik, planned the IPO in March but had to delay the proceedings due to the coronavirus pandemic. The sale of the shares will not benefit directly WMG since they will be sold by other stockholders such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Securities, Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, Citigroup Global Markets and J.P. Morgan Securities, among others.

  Meanwhile, it appears that China's entertainment group Tencent is seeking to acquire equity in WMG, a few months after succeeding in acquiring 10% of Universal Music Group for $3bn. According to a Wall Street Journal Report, Tencent is in talks to invest $200 million in WMG, ahead of the IPO.

GEMA's collections up 5% in 2019 thanks to 'robust' live sector

By Emmanuel Legrand

GEMA's Harald Heker (Credit: Jonathan Linder)

German rights society GEMA collected €1.069 billion on behalf of its members (authors, composers and music publishers) in 2019, a 5% increase compared to 2018, while distributions reached €905.6m. Although total expenses grew year-on-year to €163.7m from €159.7m in 2018, GEMA's expense ratio in 2019 was 15.3% compared to 15.7% in 2018.  

"Income from music events, which continued to grow due to a robust concert year in 2019, again made the strongest contribution to business results," said the Berlin-based society. 

Online is a significant source of income

  Commenting on the results, GEMA CEO Harald Heker said the society's "very good 2019 financial year will form a 'crisis airbag' for our members. For many of them, the regular distributions on 1 April and 1 June 2020 provide much-needed financial support. Especially in these difficult economic times, GEMA’s distributions may even secure people’s livelihoods."

  Online revenues rose by over 72% to €181.9m, thanks in particular to new contracts concluded with digital service providers. In contrast, income declined in the areas of mechanical and remuneration claims.

Need to transpose EU's Copyright Directive

  "Collection from internet and streaming services has now become a significant source of income for music authors," said Heker. "This makes it all the more important that the legislator in Germany now transposes the reform of copyright law adopted by the EU in 2019 into German law. More than ever, composers and lyricists need a reliable legal foundation so that they can participate fully in the digital value creation of their works."

  Other highlights include: 

- Revenues from public performances of music, collected by GEMA's Regional Offices, were again the strongest revenue sector in 2019, with collections reaching €407.4m, up 4.9%, thanks to good live music performances.

- Income from music usage on television and radio fell slightly by 2.2% to €295.2m, due to declining advertising revenues from private television stations. 

- Mechanical revenues were down by almost 25% compared to the previous year, at €61.1m. Sales of CDs continued their downward spiral, while vinyl delivered positive market trends. 

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus replaces Jean-Michel Jarre as President of CISAC

By Emmanuel Legrand

Björn Ulvaeus (Credit: TT News Agency)

ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus has been appointed President of CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, for a three-year mandate. The Swedish songwriter replaces French electronic music composer and performer JeanMichel Jarre, who served as President for the past seven years.

   Ulvaeus was elected President by CISAC’s General Assembly, which took place May 28 in a virtual meeting. Alongside Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus is part of the the songwriting team behind over 150 hit songs such as 'Mama Mia' and 'Waterloo'.

  CISAC described Ulvaeus as "a vocal campaigner for the rights of creators" who will bring to the job "a deep understanding of the creative industries and the systems that help authors get fair payment for their works."

Improve conditions for creators

  As President of CISAC, Ulvaeus will "support the confederation’s work to secure stronger rights, more royalties, better systems, and improved conditions for creators across five repertoires – music, audiovisual, visual arts, drama and literature," said the organisation in a statement.

  “I have made a great living as a songwriter and an artist, and I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a lot of success," said Ulvaeus. "Now, as President of CISAC, I am happy to have a different kind of opportunity, to try and help the next generation of creators in their working lives. CISAC has a unique international authority, and I believe passionately in its mission to secure better, fairer terms for creators. I am also interested in how the technologies we use can work better, earning creators fairer rewards for their work and more royalties. I am therefore very excited about the opportunities ahead and looking forward to our collaboration."

  CISAC Director General Gadi Oron added: “Björn Ulvaeus has moved us, inspired us and lit up our lives with his songs and creations. I am absolutely thrilled that he has decided to take on the role of CISAC President, to support us in our mission to serve creators internationally. Björn has an extraordinary track record - as a creator himself, as a champion for creators’ rights, and as an expert in the systems which ensure creators are fairly paid. These qualities will be invaluable to CISAC’s work and we look forward immensely to collaborating with him."

Fight for music rights

  The US Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) has reacted positively to Ulvaeus's appointment. “The AIMP welcomes Björn Ulvaeus as President of CISAC and looks forward to working with him in the years ahead to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of independent music publishers and songwriters around the world. As a founding member of ABBA and prominent songwriter, Bjorn knows what it is like to fight for his music rights, and his dedication to technology and high-quality metadata makes him an ideal candidate to modernise royalty payments around the globe,” said in a joint statement AIMP National Chair and Los Angeles Chapter President Teri Nelson Carpenter, Nashville Chapter President John Ozier, and New York Chapter President Alisa Coleman.

  CISAC's membership comprises of more than 230 authors societies in over 120 countries representing over four million creators. CISAC members colelcted €9.6 billion of licensing income and royalties worldwide in 2018.

> During CISAc's AGM, Director General Gadi Oron paid tribute to Jean-Michel Jarre who has served as President of the organisation for the past seven years, “Jean-Michel’s global influence and achievements as President of CISAC over the last seven years have been immense," said Oron. "He has championed the interests of creators across all the repertoires CISAC represents. He played a huge role in the successful campaign for the adoption of the EU copyright directive. His interventions in Europe helped deliver a directive that reset the balance between creators and digital platforms. Without a doubt, he has been the pre-eminent global voice of creators who made a tangible difference to the environment in which they work.”

  In his final speech as President of CISAC, Jarre said: “With Gadi and everybody at CISAC, we have campaigned together. From the value gap to fair remuneration, from the resale right for visual artists, to fair rights for audiovisual creators.  And now, in this new crisis, we have to help our sector, not only to survive, but to get the decent living it deserves, in the near future. We have a window in the coming months, to invent a new economy for our creative sectors in this digital era - otherwise, we can say goodbye to much of it! Each and every one of you should be assured that this continues to be my battle: the battle for us to be heard and to have our relationship evolve positively with the giants of the Internet."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Covid-19 global, US and European updates


> Goldman Sachs Report: Global music revenue to drop 25% in 2020; full recovery expected by 2022
The global music industry — comprising live music, recorded music, and publishing — will experience a 25% drop in revenues to $57.5 billion in 2020, according to Goldman Sachs's 'Music In The Air' report, which was previewed by Rolling Stone. The report was The report was coordinated by the investment bank's media and internet equity research managing director Lisa Yang.
  The report forecasts a 76% decline in revenues from live music, 5% for the music publishing market, and 8% for the recorded music market by 8%. In 2019, Goldman Sachs estimated that the value of the global industry was about $75bn in 2019.

  Looking at the short-term impact of the Covid crisis on the music industry, Goldman Sachs expects the live sector to rebound in 2021, when mass gathering will be re-authorised around the world. Despite the C-19 impact on the music industry, Goldman Sachs did not change its long-term prospects for the music sector, forecasting that it would reach $140bn by 2030, in line with previous estimates.
  “We expect a strong rebound in outer years, with the live music industry nearly returning to its pre-COVID-19 level by 2022,” reads the report, forecasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% for the period of 2019 to 2030. "We believe the industry’s long-term growth outlook is intact," said the report.
  By 2030, the recorded music sector will have fully made its transition to streaming. The report estimates that The bank estimated that the paid music streaming market could reach up to 1.2 billion users by 2030. “While user time spent may shift away from music streaming to other forms of entertainment in the short term, overall we believe the industry’s long-term growth outlook is intact, driven by the secular growth of paid streaming, growing demand for music content and live events, new licensing opportunities, e.g. TikTok, and positive regulatory developments,” reads the report.

> Film piracy rises during lockdown  
The coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a significant increase in film piracy, according to piracy data specialist MUSO. MUSO data shows that film piracy increased by 41% in the US, 43% in the UK, 50% in Spain, 62% in India and 66% in Italy between the last week of February 2020, when the lockdown started, and the end of March.
  "These numbers confirm that it has never been easier to view content illegally and people have never been more relaxed about doing so," wrote MUSO CEO and co-founder Andy Chatterley, in a white paper titled 'COVID-19: The demand for content and a new dawn for discovery'. "But it’s not just piracy: Netflix reported 16 million new subscribers to the platform in the first 3 months of the year, however the company was careful to state that they did not expect further growth of this nature; indeed it forecasts a deceleration in new subscribers."
  Looking at the post-confinement, Chatterley surmised that "in order to ride out the aftermath of mass unemployment and job uncertainty, luxuries such as cinema tickets and entertainment subscriptions may be amongst the first expenditure to be sacrificed."
  He warned: "Make no mistake — the need for entertainment will never go away — but the ability to pay for it on a regular basis is already being severely curtailed. Accessing content via unlicensed sites, on the other hand is free, and add to the mix Generation Z — who never grew up trying to illegally download albums via dial-up — realising that anything you want to watch or listen to is available for free, often from the first page of Google and almost instantaneously. Suddenly a whole new army of 'can’t pay, won’t pay' consumers may well have been born."


> Music organisations oppose the HEROES Act
Organisations representing music creators and independent companies have expressed their opposition to the HEROES Act, recently introduced in the House of Representatives.
  The bill would allow TV stations that are part of larger groups to apply for small business loans, when instead their ownership would not qualify them for. The National Association of Broadcasters, which supports the bill, said it would provide television and radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers, "the same treatment as hotels and restaurants received under the original CARES Act PPP (Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program) – eligibility based on a physical location basis." To qualify for a loan, local stations would have to have revenues under $41.5 million annually.
  “NAB thanks Speaker Pelosi and chairwoman Velázquez for their inclusion of expanded access to Payroll Protection Program loans for local radio and television stations in [the] draft Coronavirus economic relief legislation," said NAB president Gordon Smith.
  House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden(R-Ore.) expressed his opposition to a bill "written behind closed doors in the Speaker’s Office." He added, "House Democrats confess this legislation has no chance of becoming law, yet they wasted time writing an 1,815 page spending manifesto rather than working with us to craft real solutions."
  Reacting to the bill, a coalition regrouping SoundExchange, the American Association of Independent Music (A2iM), the Future of Music Coalition, and the Recording Academy said, “Language in the HEROES Act introduced in the US House of Representatives essentially green-lights a warrantless Big Radio Bailout for every massive broadcaster within the multibillion dollar industry who can lay claim to a smaller station within their portfolio. To be clear: there are a small number of broadcasting companies who own hundreds of stations in markets of all sizes across the country, and the language in this bill will provide more help, even if unintentionally, to companies like iHeartMediaCumulus, and Sinclair than it will to the small independent broadcasters truly hurting in this environment."
  The four organisations added: “There is a difference between supporting vital local news outlets and billion-dollar broadcast conglomerates, especially given that these enormous radio conglomerates refuse to compensate recording artists for using their music, in contrast with satellite radio and streaming services that do pay. With so many people in need at this time, let’s keep the focus where it should be: small businesses and workers, not on big broadcasters.”

> Members of Congress warn of predatory behaviour in the live music sector in the wake of the C-19 crisis
US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim in which they express their concern that the coronavirus pandemic could have direct consequences for the live music sector's competitiveness, with bigger and better financed companies trying to buy into struggling independent companies.
  In the letter, they urge the Department of Justice "to ensure that a vibrant and competitive live performance marketplace will exist after the coronavirus pandemic."
  The letter continues: “As a result of the pandemic, live performance venues were among the first to close. And given the risks posed by large group gatherings, they will likely be among the last to reopen. This has caused event spaces across the country to close their doors, with little prospect of reopening in the near future and no alternative sources of income."
  It continues: "We recognise that independent industry participants may face additional challenges in weathering this crisis and are concerned that Live Nation Entertainment, a company that already dominates the live entertainment industry, will emerge even more powerful once it is over."
  They conclude: “When Americans are ready to go back to stadiums, theaters, and concert halls, they deserve a competitive marketplace that offers value, choice, and a variety of entertainment experiences. Accordingly, we urge you to closely monitor these markets during and after this pandemic to ensure that all industry participants and consumers benefit from free and fair competition.”

> NIVA launches petition calling Congress to support independent venues 
The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), the newly created organisation representing independent venues in the USA, has launched a petition titled "Save Our Stages" urging signatories to "tell your legislators to save independent music venues!"
  The petition, targeting Congress, asks to "support federal assistance that ensures the survival of independent venues and promoters." The petition states that "90% of independent venues across America will most likely not open again," if they are not allowed to reopen rapidly.
  It reads: "Independent music venues are economic multipliers, community builders, and beloved institutions. A Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activities for neighboring restaurants, hotels and retail shops and we believe that level of financial contribution is consistent in cities and towns across America. What would our communities look like without them? We must ensure their survival. Thank you for your extremely hard work for our state and our country in these absolutely uncharted times."

> US consumers watched more TV during the lockdown
T​he consumption of non-linear content via internet-connected devices, such as smart TVs and other multimedia devices, rose week after week in March, hitting its peak the week of March 23, 2020​, according to data from Nielsen.
  However, data show​ed that streaming trends varied across markets, age groups and times of day during the first month of living restrictions in the US. ​For example, states and cities that moved quickly to enact stay-at-home orders in mid-March, such as New York, Illinois, Washington and California, saw some of the most dramatic increases in streaming consumption between the weeks of March 2 and March 23.​ ​Across Nielsen’s 56 largest metered markets, streaming increases have been persistent across all hours of the day​ with​, the most significant gains have been in the early afternoon hours. ​
  Nielsen also measured an increase in streaming of non-linear content across all age groups in Nielsen’s 56 largest metered markets during March 2020​, in particular among people ​aged ​25-54​, whose consumption​has increased ​by ​almost 100% year-on-year. ​

  "​The current outbreak has further accelerated streaming’s growth among the key advertising demographic as consumers find themselves with more time in front of the TV glass​," said Nielsen.

> Motown launches The ABC Initiative
Motown Records has launched a multi-faceted campaign branded The ABC Initiative with the moniker #MotownABCs, aimed at "helping communities navigate the fundamentals of life in these unusual times" and bring "immediate, tangible aid to the hungry, small business owners and others who are particularly vulnerable in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic."
  Over a 13-week period, the label said it would "unveil compelling social media content to entertain, inform and inspire Motown’s followers." Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records and Executive Vice President of Capitol Music Group, said: “Motown is a label that was birthed in community and has always led by example. #MotownABCs will uplift our artists and their work, other creators, Black and Brown-owned businesses and various non-profit relief efforts. At the heart of this campaign is what is at the very heart of our label: being an unfaltering pillar of strength for our community in times of levity and in times of crisis.”
  #MotownABCs include:
  - Heritage grants, with 25 Black and Brown-owned businesses each receiving an $800 gift from Motown to help support their operations.
  - Motown will fund 100,000 meals for families and individuals in need via a donation made to Feeding America.
  - Via a donation to #HashtagLunchbag, Motown will subsidise 2,800 meals for children in need living in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. 

> Hachette unveils plan to help independent bookstores
Hachette Book Group has started a new programme to assist independent bookstores in their attempts to reopen and recover after the lockdown in the US. The programme, which will kick off in June, includes dating into 2021 for new orders, improved discount terms on current and future orders through 2020, an extended time-line for stores to pay older invoices, and a freight offset credit for returning inventory that did not sell due to the pandemic.
  The initiative covers both HBG-published books as well as those distributed by the Lagardère-owned company (Abrams BooksChronicle BooksDisney Book GroupHachette UKKids Can PressLonely PlanetMoleskineOctopusPhaidon PressPhoenix InternationalQuarto, and Yen Press).
  "We know independent stores are grappling with a steep fall-off in business which has dramatically impacted their ability to pay staff and their bills. While they have worked to continue to serve their customers through curbside delivery, home delivery and online orders, their margins, their cash flow and their sales are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels," said Alison Lazarus, Executive VP and director of sales at HBG.
  She added: "These terms are responding to business concerns that we have heard in discussions with the ABA and our independent customers. The survival of independent stores is critical to our business, and to the communities that depend on these stores; these enhanced terms are one of the ways in which we, and the publishers we distribute, are working to ensure that independent stores survive and thrive.”

> Prospect 100 launches global online talent competition
Prospect 100 has launched a global online music talent competition for youths under 21 — singers, producers, instrumentalists, and other musician — designed to help them work towards their artistic goals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Applicants have until June 26 to submit music pieces in any language or format, under the condition that it has to be an original work. Works will be judged according to originality, sound, and performance.  
  Judges for this competition include Kimberly Davis of R&B group Chic, American singer Theophilus London, Israeli DJ Guy Gerber, American rapper Rico Nasty, Italian DJ Mathame, Antiguan-German singer-songwriter Au/Ra, American rapper Iann Dior, Brazilian pop star Giulia BeEmma Banks of CAA (Kanye West, Lorde Katy Perry), former Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder manager Guy HolmesMigos’ manager Danny ZookAlex Hardee of ParadigmPreye Crooks, A&R from Columbia Records and founder of Strawberries and CreemDerrick and Matt of JamiroquaiSimon of Kaiser Chiefs, and American indie pop band Beach Bunny.
  Prospect 100 was co-founded by three young entrepreneurs, Head of Events Adam Flanagan (18), Head of Operations Harry Beard (20), and Chief Brand Officer Alexandre (Millinsky) Daillance (23). Prospect 100 is a network of creative young talents that runs physical and online events across several industries, from tech to music.


> EU Culture Ministers meet to recap actions to support the creative sector
Under the aegis of European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, European Union’s Ministers of Culture held May 18 an online meeting aimed at recapping the measures taken at European and national level to help the cultural sector through the pandemic. It followed a previous meeting on April 8.
  Gabriel made few announcement but listed measures such as the implementation of the SURE programme for unemployment and relaxation of tax rules for state aid taken by the Commission as important initiatives. She also announced a call for "performing arts" with an allocation of €2m.
  "Today's video conference was extremely useful," said Gabriel at a press conference after the meeting. "We see that in a month-time many actions can be taken by member states. We also see that restrictions are being lifted gradually that allows us to leave behind the emergency measures and look at medium and long term actions."
  Croatia's Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said that the participants discussed the need for EU countries to align their legislation to incorporate the Copyright and the Cab-Sat Directives"in order to favour our culture and our diversity an protect artists, creators and performers."
  She added that the exchange will continue in the context of the Croatian presidency and then, from July 1, with the German presidency. "We hope that during the German presidency we are going to meet in person and continue our exchanges and that artists will start to move around Europe again," she said.
  The key date on the European agenda will be on May 27 with the 2021-2027 budget discussion involving all Commissioners, during which a vast recovery fund will be unveiled. In addition, the budget will show how much has been allocated to the Creative Europe programme and to EU’s long term research and innovation programme Horizon will be included.
  "We look forward to hearing the Commission's plans with Creative Europe, Music Moves Europe and the Recovery Fund," said Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA. "Promising announcements have been made and now is the perfect time to recognise the key role that music plays in Europe today economically, socially, culturally, and of course in terms of citizen well-being. The future EU programmes must boost those who play a key role in investing in music."
  Prior to the meeting, IMPALA reiterated its call for an ambitious five-year recovery strategy for this sector, which included boosting interest-free loans with delayed repayment and as little red-tape as possible for small and medium businesses; reduced VAT on cultural goods and services; adopting national tax credit schemes for small and medium sized businesses investing in creation; and accelerating the implementation of the Copyright Directive.
  GESAC, which represents European rights societies, also welcomed Gabriel’s efforts to ensure multiple resources are available for Member State, but insisted that Europe should be using all available resources for creators and propose an ambitious budget for culture.
  "We now urge Member States to take the concrete steps to make the most of the resources at their disposal for the cultural and creative sector, and we further urge them to ensure that funding and support reaches individual creators as well," wrote GESAC. "It is essential that the creators, who are at the heart of the creative sector, especially those who continue to suffer the most during this economic crisis, be eligible for the use of aforementioned funds at national level."
  GESAC also invited the EU to be "ambitious in its budgetary plans for culture. In particular, it must foresee culture as an ecosystem under the recovery plan, which can include a 'solidarity fund' for Europe’s creators to ensure immediate help to those most vulnerable, in addition to more sustainable and long-term measures for the businesses and SMEs in the sector."

> ESNS to focus on Europe post-Covid
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag), the conference and music festival traditionally taking place in Groningen in the Netherlands in January, will focus its next edition on Europe.
  The 35th edition of the ESNS festival and conference, to be held January 13 - 16, 2021, "will be in a different light due to the Covid-19 pandemic," said the organisers.
  They wrote: "ESNS's mission is to stimulate and push the circulation of European music across the European continent as well as beyond. And that’s more relevant this year than ever before. For the upcoming edition, the organisation is breaking with the traditional spotlight of one European country, but opts for a focus on Europe to underline the importance of European music once again."
  The organisers added: "ESNS is following developments closely, but intends, in whatever form, to release an edition in January that, after unprecedented major setbacks, can contribute to the development of the European music industry. With the recent events fresh in memory, new experiences and undoubtedly with new insights and challenges, ESNS wants to contribute as constructively as possible to building a new future."

Teri Nelson Carpenter (Reel Musik Werks, AIMP): "We simply can't live without music"

Teri Nelson Carpenter is the founder of California-based music publishing and rights management company Reel Musik Werks. She is also the National Chair and President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association Of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), which represents many in the USA's independent music publishing community. Like every business, music publishing has been affected by the pandemic. Here she talks to Emmanuel Legrand about the way it has impacted her and AIMP members.

- How are you and other AIMP members dealing with this unusual situation? 
With a bit of grace under pressure I hope. While there is so much that we are unsure of, the unknown hasn’t paralyzed us. Independent music publishers are innovators and continue to be the entrepreneurs who are responsible for bringing such a diverse cross section of music to market. We are encouraging all of our writers/artists to continue to create, adjusting to remote work utilising technology, and looking at our global market in new ways. Collaboration has always been key, and so we are seeing independent publishers supporting one another during this difficult period on many fronts. At the AIMP, we are also sharing the wealth of knowledge via educational webinars that have proven to be quite helpful to so many at this time.  

- Are you satisfied with the relief measures provided by the US government and are there other specific measures that would help weather the crisis?
While there have been three different relief packages from the US government and a fourth currently being introduced, there are still too many creatives and small business owners in the music industry that have not been helped. The PPP and the EIDL Loans will help some companies, but they do not assist individual singer-songwriters, studio session players, or live musicians who don’t have a company structure. And many don’t have formal bank relationships to facilitate these loans. As independent contractors, navigating the rules around unemployment is a nightmare for artists and musicians. Because of this, we have joined with other organisations by sending letters to Congress asking for their immediate attention to the unique needs of our industry. But while we work toward government assistance, it’s very heartening how we as an industry are helping one another. There are numerous resources for those in our industry to get immediate help, such as and the Billboard Coronavirus guide for music professionals, which is updated constantly. These are just a few good references. We’re also happy to see initiatives like the NSAI’s WRITER Foundation (We’re Ready In Time of Emergency Relief) going live, important songwriter events like Make Music Day continuing online, and organizations around the world calling for support for the cultural sector.  

- How do you see the rest of the year shaping from a business perspective? 
Live music will not return anytime soon, so the pivot to digital performances is important right now. Music for audio/visual is another area that we expect should see an uptick soon as production begins again, but it won’t be at pre-pandemic levels until sometime next year. We are also quite hopeful that we will see opportunities emerge in this new normal; certainly the Peloton settlement was timely given the surge in their business with people exercising at home. The AIMP will continue to ensure that the independent music publisher plays a significant role in providing the world with great music. We have real challenges in front of us as Covid-19 has created economic hurdles that may be difficult to overcome, and of course, there’s the pure human impact and loss. Hopefully, our ability to be flexible and nimble will mean the majority of indies can adapt to these circumstances. One thing is clear: people still turn to music to help them in good times and in bad; we simply can’t live without it.

Covid-19 updates from France, UK, Canada and Belgium


> CNM unveils phase 2 of its emergency plan
Following the allocation of €50 million by the government, the Centre National de la Musique (National Music Center) has started to implement the second component of the emergency plan launched on March 18 in response to the Covid-19 health crisis.
  CNM board of directors voted on May 15 to expand the scope of the relief provided by the organisation. The plan includes:
  1 - Expansion of the scope and actions to support the relief fund for the live music sector, with a new allocation of €11.5m, to help companies navigate the period during which all activities stopped. The aid granted is now based on an overall forecast assessment of the applicants' financial situation from March 1 to August 31, 2020, and no longer solely on their cash level forecasts as of June 30, 2020; the aid's cap, initially set at €8,500, is raised to €35,000 and may be increased to €45,000 "depending on the expenses incurred by the applicant to compensate loss of net remuneration for performers and technicians, whose performances have been postponed and/or canceled." The fund is now available to sole owners. The City of Paris will c0ntribute up to €500,000 to the relief fund.
  2 - Creation of a recorded music and musical publishing relief fund, financed by a €1m fund allocation from the Ministry of Culture's Directorate General for Media and Cultural Industries (DGMIC), transferred to the CNM. "The purpose of this fund is to support the activity of record stores, phonographic producers, distributors and music publishers," said the CNM.
  Fund allocations will be based on an overall assessment of the applicants' financial situation, up to an amount of €1,500 for record stores, €10,000 for phonographic producers and €35,000 for distributors. For music publishers, the allocation of funds will be handled by the Fund for Music Creation (FCM).

> Spedidam forecasts a 28% drop in collections in 2020
French neighbouring rights society Spedidam, representing musicians, has estimated that its collections from 2020 are likely to be down 28% to €40.55 million, against €56.38m in 2019.
  The Paris-based society forecast that collections from private copying are going to be down 31.44, while equitable remuneration will register a 23.95% drop in income
“The cultural sector is severely affected by the health crisis," said the society. "Shows and festivals are canceled, theaters and concert halls are closed. Following a winter season made difficult by social movements, this situation severely penalises the performers, who were the first affected by the cancellations and will be among the last to be able to resume their activities."
  Spedidam has set up a €200,000 emergency fund aimed at "artists in great financial difficulty.” The amount which will be “readjusted according to the number of requests from artists and the possibilities of financing.”

> Six priorities for the visual arts sector from ADAGP

French visual arts society ADAGP has outlined six priorities "for the revival of the visual arts sector." The organisation, which collects royalties for the use of visual arts works and the proceeds from the re-sale right, reacted to what it considered being an imbalance in the breakdown of the support measures announced by the Ministry of Culture, which "in no way reflects this economic reality."
  On March 18, the Minister of Culture Franck Riester presented a first aid plan for Culture with a €22 million funding that was split between music (€10m), performing arts (€5m), books (€5million), leaving the visual arts sector "as poor relatives" with €2m. "The weakness of resources dedicated to artist-authors is distressing," wrote ADAGP.
  "The health crisis greatly increases the fragility of artist-authors and will have repercussions for many months, even years, to come," said the Paris-based organisation. "The sources of income of artists are today heavily affected."
   ADAGP six priority issues include:
  1 - Application without exception of copyright law, including the right of exhibition in museums, art centers and Regional funds of contemporary art (FRAC);
  2 - Transposition, as soon as possible, of the European Copyright Directive "giving creators and their authors' societies the legal means to negotiate with Internet platforms";
  3 - Commitment from all places where art is displayed "to present mainly artists from the French scene, especially those in mid-career";
  4 - Extend the production requirements for broadcasters to commission visual arts programmes dedicated to creation in order to increase their visibility among the general public;
  5 - Establishment of a capped tax exemption system to encourage purchases by individuals of works by artists living on the French scene;
  6 - Creation of a support system for the visual arts, based on the CNC model, which support the film and TV industries. The new system would contribute to the financing of the creation and production of the French artistic scene.
 Visual artists, noted ADAGP, "will obviously contribute to the economic recovery to come" but "they urgently need assistance and support measures that only government policy can bring them."


> UK Music delivers submission to the Commons
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a ​“devastating"  impact on the British music sector, according to a submission to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee by UKMusic, which represents the interests of the commercial music industry.
  Looking at the sector in general, UK Music warned of the “high level of self-employment in the sector with an estimated 72% of the music industry being self-employed in 2018 compared to a national average of 14.7%, leaving workers particularly vulnerable to economic shocks.”
  UK Music said there was an estimated 52,240 workers in the sector "who are not currently being reached by Government support schemes.” Falling through the cracks of the system are newly self-employed, small business owners who pay themselves in dividends in lieu of salary, those self-employed who earn just above the £50,000 threshold and those who earn less then 50% of their income via self-employment.
  The submission claims that the pandemic had a "catastrophic" impact on the live music sector, with the potential of wiping out £900 million from the sector’s expected £1.1 billion contribution to the economy this year.
  While welcoming measures put in place by the government, UK Music indicated that "further support is needed to mitigate the long-term impact on the sector. We need to ensure that the foundational infrastructure of the industry such as live music venues and professional recording studios are not lost. The loss of this infrastructure would harm the content and IP creation that is at the core of the music sector."
  The submission also highlighted the challenges faced by recording studios, which are not covered by the Government’s Business Rate Relief and Small Business Grants scheme.  
  In its submission, UK Music urged the Government to amend the relief to help studios and extend rate relief to the entire supply chain of the live sector including service companies, sound, lighting suppliers and others to ensure the sector is able to restart once restrictions lift.
  The issue of commercial rent for record shops and grassroots music venues was also tackled in the submission. “Retailers of physical music will require additional support to get through this crisis and a VAT exemption on physical music products for an initial 12 months would go some way to saving this key part of the sector,” read the submission.
  Moving forward, UK Music said urgent support was needed to restart the live sector, including the introduction of VAT breaks on ticket sales. “There needs to be a recognition that certain sectors will be closed for longer than others due to the difficulties in arranging organised gatherings. Without long-term support many live music venues and festivals will not survive the winter of 2020/2021," read the submission.
  It added: “Some venues have already carried out modelling which demonstrate that if they opened while applying current social distancing rules, they would run a loss. With bars unable to open, they will also lose important ancillary spend from food, drinks and merchandise.”
  It concluded: "As with most sectors, the live music industry will not emerge from this current crisis in the same shape it entered it, but without immediate and substantial support, it may never fully recover."


> Survey highlights issues ahead to bring back the public into live venues
A new poll conducted by research firm Abacus Data found that many Canadians estimate that it will take time before they feel confident enough to go back to live venues, even after physical distancing restrictions are lifted.
  The national survey, involving 2,500 Canadians aged 18 and over, was conducted from from April 24 to 30, 2020. It was commissioned by Music Canada, the national association represents the major recording companies to assess the views of Canadians about the pandemic's impact on their consumption of music and their and how they saw their future as consumers of live music.
  The survey shows the pandemic influenced the way Canadians consumed music with a majority claiming that they were consuming more music than usual, with almost eight in ten agreeing that listening to music was a way to relieve stress.
  Other findings include:
   • 35% said they were listening to more music than before the pandemic started.
  • 31% said they were watching more video content from musicians online than before.
  • 31% said they were watching more music videos than before.
  • 24% said they were watching more recorded live concerts than before.
  • 55% agreed they found a lot of new content online about music and musicians they love during the pandemic.
  • 43% say they have discovered new artists during the pandemic.
  Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, commented: “What I find most heartening is that 84% of music lovers state that digital will never replace the live experience. Also, more than a third of respondents increased their music listening during this pandemic. These stats show that people clearly recognise the value and importance of music in their lives, perhaps more than they ever have.”

  But it is people's reaction to the future of live music that tells a story showing the live music sector has an uphill battle ahead. One in five Canadians (19%) reported that a live music event they were planning to go to had been postponed while another 20% reported a live music event had been cancelled because of the pandemic.
  But to many people surveyed, even the self-identified “live music lovers", it will be at least six months after government restrictions are lifted, before they feel comfortable going to: bars / pubs (28%); small venue concerts (35%); large venue concerts (42%); festivals (41%); community event with live music (31%).
  Among “live music lovers”:
  • 49% say it will take six months or more or they may never to feel comfortable going to a concert in a large venue.
  • 48% feel the same way about going to a music festival.
  • 68% say it will take six months or more or they may never feel comfortable again going to a concert in the United States.

  "Even if they are permitted to go to live music events, many Canadians, including those who love live music the most, will be reluctant to return for some time," said David Coletto, who coordinated the survey for Abacus. "We asked respondents how soon they will feel comfortable enough doing several activities, once physical distancing restrictions are lifted. In almost all cases, fewer than 40% said they would feel comfortable in a few months or less. For most, the time horizon was much longer with many saying they may never feel comfortable again. For example, 43% said it would take six months or more before they would feel comfortable going to a music festival or a concert in a large venue. Another quarter said they may never feel comfortable going to those types of events again."
   “As governments across Canada and the world increasingly shift their focus to recovery, this data from Abacus underscores the precarious position of the live music ecosystem – an ecosystem upon which artists rely for a significant, and in some cases predominant, portion of their livelihood,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “The music industry faces a triple threat. First – the very real medical concerns of Canadians about the virus. Second – that government restrictions will remain on large gatherings well into recovery. And third – that even after government restrictions have lifted and economies begin to reopen – Canadian confidence in returning to these live events will continue to be low.”
  Added Mulholland: “Unfortunately, it’s clear that the pandemic will cause serious and possibly irreparable harm to Canada’s artists, the majority of whom were already living in a precarious state. We must continue to think about how we can help them through this as they’ve been here for all of us in this crisis."


> Brussels allocates €8.4 million to support the arts sector
The city of Brussels has come up with a budget of €8.4 million in support of the creative sector. The funding was approved by the government of the Brussels-Capital Region and the French and Flemish Community Commissions.
  A specific €5m funding is aimed at providing relief to non-staff workers from the creative sector who suffered from loss of income following the cancellation or postponement of events. The allocation per person is capped at €1,500. The city will also award a €2,000 allocation to all cultural organisations affected by the crisis.
  "If we want to be the European capital of culture within the next 10 years and continue to exist on the national and international scene, we must support the cultural and creative sector of Brussels," said Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Region of Brussels-Capital.