Value gap ‘single biggest threat to music’

headphones streaming

The value gap between digital services and rightsholders is the single biggest threat facing music today, according to a new study from international trade body IFPI.

In its new Connecting with Music report, the organisation states that user upload video services such as YouTube account for the majority of on-demand streaming time yet do not return fair value to the music community.

Eighty-five percent of YouTube visitors use the site for music each month, with 76 percent using the platform for music they already know, according to research within the report conducted by Ipsos Connect.

Elsewhere, the report finds that young fans remain highly engaged with audio streaming despite an abundance of competing media, with 85 percent of 13 to 15 year-olds using streaming services.

Overall, 45 percent of the global population are listening to music through a licensed audio streaming service, up from 37 percent in 2016, with 90 percent of paid audio streamers listening through a smartphone.

However copyright infringement remains a significant issue for music, with stream-ripping the top source.

Figures show that 40 percent of consumers access unlicensed music, including 35 percent who stream-rip. This rises to 53 percent among 16 to 24 year-olds.

Frances Moore, chief executive of the IFPI, said: ‘This report shows some amazing trends defining this new era, how fans around the world are enjoying recorded music and connecting with the artists they love in so many ways.

‘The increasingly digital global music environment did not just happen. It requires an enormous amount of work from record companies and their partners to license over 40 million tracks to hundreds of digital services around the world.

‘The report also highlights the ongoing challenges for the industry. It provides further evidence of the value gap – the mismatch between the value that user upload services, such as YouTube, extract from music and the revenue returned to those who invest in and create it. The global music community is united in urging policy makers to act to address this.’

Read the full report

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