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Global Value of Music Copyright Climbed to $41.5B in 2022

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A rebound in performing rights and heightened demand for physical product helped the value of global music copyright reach $41.5 billion in 2022, surpassing the $40 billion mark for the first time, according to a report released Monday (Nov. 6)

While record labels commanded a majority of the global market, the $5 billion annual increase was “evenly shared” between recorded music and music publishing, noted the report’s author, Will Page. The 2022 tally represented a 16% increase at constant currency — and currency fluctuations played a major role. Page restated the value of global music copyright in 2021 to $36.9 billion from $39.6 billion due to updated foreign exchange rates. Almost $2 billion of the nearly $3 billion restatement came from IFPI’s global recorded music revenues, while about $1 billion of the adjustment came from music publishing. 

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Record labels accounted for $26 billion of the $41.5 billion sum, a 62.7% share that was lower than both 2021 (64.6%) and 2020 (63.5%). Since 2020, a slowdown in labels’ digital revenue has been offset by more than $1 billion in growth from physical formats from “accelerating demand for CDs in Asia” and an “insatiable need” for vinyl records in Europe and the United States: “And this isn’t going to slow down,” predicts Page. 

Music publishers increased their share of the global total to 37.3%. Part of the reason publishers outperformed labels could be from what Page calls a “lag effect,” where labels tend to license to new streaming platforms before publishers. Another potential reason for publishers’ improvement is early accruals from the royalty increase in the United States from the Copyright Royalty Board, “a decision that will fully crystalize when the 2023 figures are calculated,” writes Page. 

Publishers’ direct revenue rose from $3.7 billion to $4.1 billion but accounted for a smaller 9.9% share of total revenue, down from 10.2% in 2021. Songwriter CMOs rebounded with a 27.5% share of total revenue worth $11.4 billion, after taking a 25.3% share worth $9.2 billion in 2021 and a 27.2% share worth $8.5 billion in 2020. Page attributes CMOs’ improvement to music’s return to the live space after the pandemic, which drives gains in public performance royalties. Also, “inflation is embedded into blanket licenses,” wrote Page, meaning higher prices increase collections when the royalties are calculated as a percentage of revenue. Finally, as CISAC’s Gadi Oron has noted, CMOs have improved collections through a combination of content identification and improved licensing terms. 

There’s a chance Page’s $41.5 billion figure is low. The estimate incorporates global recording revenue tallied by the trade group IFPI. But as Page notes in his report, MIDiA Research “has arguably done more research” on segments undercounted by IFPI’s various members, including the do-it-yourself artists who account for 10% of global streams, indie labels and the South Korean market. MIDiA Research put the value of global recorded music in 2022 at $18.9 billion, about 8% greater than the IFPI’s figure of $17.5 billion.

If MIDiA’s methodology is correct, says Page, the value of global copyright is closer to $45 billion than $40 billion and could be $50 billion sooner than people expect. When the music business hits that threshold, it will have doubled since Page’s 2014 report put the global value of music copyright at $25 billion

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