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Germany: industry hails ‘dynamic’ streaming in first-half figures


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German music body BVMI has published figures for its recorded music market in the first half of 2016, showing 3.6% growth year-on-year.

Despite CD sales still being big in Germany, BVMI hailed the “dynamic” music-streaming market as a key ingredient in the overall growth.

Streaming now accounts for 24.4% of the German music market, with revenues from streaming services in Germany having increased by 88% year-on-year. That’s based on income from both ad-supported free and subscription-based premium services.

CD sales accounted for 52.3% of the German market in the first half of 2016, but sales were down by 9.6%. Vinyl sales rose by 46.2% to take a 4.3% share of the market overall.

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“Although the sheer pace of digitisation may be causing some of us a bit of distress, we still consider the latest figures to be heartening in two ways,” said BVMI MD Florian Drücke in a statement.

“First of all, the German market continues its growth, thus enlarging everyone’s share of the pie and, secondly, the increases we’re seeing in the realm of audio streaming – almost a doubling of sale percentages in comparison to the first half of 2015 (12.8%) – make it clear that our industry is successfully adapting to the realities of the digital world.”

BVMI chairman Professor Dieter Gorny also highlighted what the German industry sees as a surprisingly rapid pace of change.

“Current statistics indicate that the process of digitisation is occurring even faster than we previously thought,” said Gorny, before drawing attention – like the RIAA and BPI have in recent weeks – to the ongoing industry debate about YouTube and safe harbour.

“This increasing shift of music towards the digital realm makes it more important than ever that we fully elucidate the framework conditions under which creatives and their partners work so that we can adapt these conditions to tangible reality as quickly as possible,” said Gorny.

He cited the recent open letter sent to the European Commission signed by more than 1,100 artists about safe harbour.

Without wanting to sound too dramatic, the fact is that if we don’t adjust our current situation, it might have profound consequences on the art of making music on a professional level,” said Gorny.

Something always worth bearing in mind about Germany: YouTube’s music catalogue has been drastically curtailed there, due to the lack of a licensing deal with German collecting society GEMA.

Drücke also talked safe harbour. “The only way we can carry this transformation process further is if we ensure that our content is sufficiently protected against copyright infringement – both online and offline – and also that all participants are able to benefit fairly from the proceeds,” he said. “Indeed, this isn’t about the future any longer, but about the digital present.”

Stuart Dredge

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