Wednesday, September 20, 2017

IFPI looks at global music consumption, concludes that YouTube is evil | UNLIMITED | CMU


If we could get through just one week this month without someone publishing research into modern music consumption, that would be great. Having had studies looking at the listening habits of both UK and US music fans, record industry trade group IFPI is now here with a global view.

While a key conclusion of both the UK and the US research was that younger people are listening to less radio and fewer full albums, the IFPI puts the spotlight on something different, with the headline to its new research going something like this: “YouTube is ripping everyone off. Bloody YouTube, going around ripping everyone off. Oh God, that flippin YouTube. Makes me livid it does. YouTube! Don’t talk to me about YouTube. Bunch of rip off merchants, YouTube. Aaaaaaaargh… YouTube”.

The IFPI – along with trade groups representing record labels and music publishers around the world – has been banging on about the ‘value gap’ for ages now, of course.

The complaint is that user-upload platforms like YouTube exploit the copyright safe harbour to secure a better deal from the music industry than other streaming services. This means that – while these sites have very higher numbers of users and plays – they pay over much lower royalties to the labels and publishers. Said value gap remains at the top of the IFPI’s gripe list, hence the focus on it in this new research.

The top line figure from that research is that 45% of music consumers are now getting their tunes through licensed streaming services – up from 37% last year. That increases sharply the younger the audience gets, reaching 85% among 13-15 year olds.

But the licensed streaming service many of those people are using is YouTube. Bloody YouTube. The research reckons that 85% of YouTube users go there for music each month, 76% seeking music they already know, rather than discovering new tunes. And is YouTube paying labels and publishers a suitable figure each month given that level of consumption? Hell, no. Bloody YouTube.

“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”, says IFPI CEO Frances Moore. “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”.

She continues: “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”.

The record industry’s other main gripe-of-the-moment is also partly a side effect of music being on YouTube. The report reckons that 40% of consumers still access music through illegitimate means, and most are using stream-ripping services. Stream-ripping – converting temporary streams into permanent downloads – happens across all streaming services of course, but is particularly prevalent on YouTube, hence why the recently closed YouTube-mp3 was one of the internet’s most popular websites.

And just as streaming is more popular among young people, so too is stream-ripping. The IFPI reckons as many as 53% of 16-24 year olds are using such technology to download poorly compressed audio files from the world wide web. Bloody young people, going around ripping everyone off. Oh God, those flippin young people. Makes me livid it does. Young people! Don’t talk to me about young people. Bunch of rip off merchants, young people. Aaaaaaaargh… YoungPeople”.


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