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Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/16/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 16th, 2016. There are a lot of interesting news items again this week (more than usual for so late in the Holiday season), so let’s get right into it.

Global music grew by a billion dollars in 2016. That’s a big deal because it was at $15 bil last year, and this year it’s at around $16 billion – a significant upswing. The big question – how much will actually trickle down to artists and songwriters?

Almost every country except Japan saw some growth. Japan is still tied to physical product by both customs and laws, so it hasn’t really experienced digital music yet. Good news for the rest of the world though.

Pandora is now open to selling to SiriusXM. This might be good for Pandora, but not so much for Sirius. Does Sirius even care? Do you?

Apple should by both Sirius and Pandora. This Barron’s article makes a case for it. I can see the Sirius part, but not Pandora, since Apple Music is doing just fine without it. Subscription required.

The music industry is asking president-elect Trump to get tough with pirates and YouTube. No idea how this will go down, but it’s worth a try.

YouTube is about to pay a lot of back royalties to publishers. Not only that, it provides more protection and opportunities to make more money. Too little too late?

YouTube still has a lot of unclaimed royalties. Although the above deal might take care of most of that. Can some of it be yours?

Elton John is both for and against YouTube. The superstar rails against the platform for inadequate copyright protection, then turns around and signs an exclusive deal with it. Talk about mixed messages.

Fashwave is the new music of the alt-right. Fash stands for “fascism” and the music is Synthwave, mostly out of Sweden. The artist’s music is co-opted and they have nothing to do with the movement, but what’s happened to it is pretty creepy.

This app makes all songs into Christmas songs. Can’t get enough Christmas carols? Then this might be for you.

Radio has forgotten about Millennials. It figured that it lost them to downloads 10 years ago and hasn’t worried about them since. Since like an opportunity lost.

The high-powered Irving Azoff is suing a large radio association. He’s trying to get more money for artists from radio play, but after 2 years there’s been no movement.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Japan Has Way More Music Stores Than The US

Japan Music StoresJapan is a pretty small country compared to the United States, but when it comes to the music business in has a big lead in at least one category – retail music stores. In what may be a startling revelation to some, Japan currently has around 6,000 music stores while the US only has 1900, with that number falling every week.

The fact of the matter is that Japan has a CD based economy, as 78% of sales come from the round shiny discs. The US, on the other hand, is down to around 39% of its total music revenue coming from the CD, which is still larger than most of us think, but it’s a figure that continues to fall fast.

So why does Japan still love the CD so much? For one thing, even though Japan has a big digital economy in general, record labels and consumers have resisted digital music to this point (it’s only 8% of total revenue). This has more to do with the culture of Japan than anything else, as most Japanese prefer the tangible aspect of the CD and view it more as a piece of artist merchandise than a music delivery system. It’s more about helping the artists they love than listening to the music.

Another thing is that in Japan, CDs sell for between $23 and $28 and aren’t discounted, thanks to a long-standing law that sets the minimum retail price. The country also has a thriving CD rental business, something that never caught on in the US and was fought vigorously by the major labels. Japanese labels look at rentals as an opportunity to get consumers into the buying mindset, which has proved to be a strategy that has worked. That said, the rental business, why still large, is decreasing.

All this has lead to Japan becoming the second largest music economy in the world behind the US. This does seem rather artificial however, and one has to wonder what will happen should streaming actually catch on there.

One thing’s for sure, for everyone who longs for the way it was in the old days of music, Japan’s the one place on earth where it’s still like that.