Music Technology Industry: 5 Things You May Have Missed
What’s that coming over the hill? Seemingly, it’s an increase in background music usage, a new plethora of regulation and music technology being picked up upon at a pace like no other. This summer we’ve seen the true extent to of which music streaming and background music usage has been able to grow to, with figures from across the world signifying a direct and prompt move away from CDs and hard copies towards a more fluid, convenient way of listening to music – whether on your own or in a venue with friends. Not long off the foot of many changes to music legislation/law and a ramp-up upon penalising venues that don’t have the necessary licences to play live music, we’ve also seen a controversial copyright law that had the support of a slew of high-profile music stars rejected by the EU parliament. So where do we start?
Ofcom Media Report
For the first time ever, Ofcom has released a report into key trends in the television, audiovisual, radio and audio sector, namely ‘Media Nations‘. This report looked at the way people in the UK consume media in the current times, with a special consideration of the impact of subscription, streaming and other Internet-based methods of consumption. It discovered that half (50.9%) of all radio listening is now through a digital platform in the UK, although the percentage varies area to area. Listening to music through a service has also been gradually gaining in popularity, with data from TouchPoints showing that nearly a quarter – 23% of all adults now listen to music via a service each week, with just over half (51%) of those aged 15-24 listening to music through this form. The report also found out that the 6% growth in retail music sales were driven by a 38% increase in online streaming service subscriptions to £577m, highlighting the move towards listening to music through other forms aside from the hard copy.
Official Music Chart Changes
The music industry is an ever-changing scene and to best equip for this, the official Music Chart recently decided that the consumption of certain music videos hosted online will now count towards the Official Charts singles. This means, streaming, downloading of videos and playing official audio clips from your favourite artists – from Arctic Monkeys to Eminem, Dua Lipa to Drake will now all be counted towards the overall UK official singles countdown. With data showing that in 2017, online video services accounted for 43% of all music streaming in the UK, it was a significant and necessary step to ensure that the Official Charts would now best relate to the methods in which individuals are deciding to consume music upon.
Controversial Copyright Law Rejected
A copyright law that had the support of many musicians and music organisations was rejected by the European Parliament this summer. Called the Copyright Directive, the controversial ‘Article 13’ was set to force websites to enforce copyright laws themselves, meaning that any platform that had the option to play music or allow sharing of text, images, sounds or code would need a way in which everything was assessed and filtered. If it had gone ahead, this law may have seen most websites and indeed, apps too, forced to implement automated copyright systems. Concerns that this law could have also been used to ban remixes of songs was also a significant part in pulling this law away from reality.
Chief Executive at PRS For Music, Robert Ashcroft who had supported and had a hand in bringing forward this legislation to the EU Parliament said: “From the outset our primary focus of this legislation has been concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace – and currently, for artists and authors, it doesn’t. They want their creative works to be heard, they embrace technology, but they want to be paid fairly. We will continue to fight for what we believe is their freedom and a fair use of their creative works.”
Fewer People Illegally Downloading Music
Once classed as a ‘major threat to the music and film industries’, those fearing for the worst with everyone illegally downloading music can sleep a bit better. A recent survey conducted by YouGov has found that as more affordable options for consuming music has become available in recent years, only one in ten Britons now say that they download music illegally, of which is an 18% drop from five years ago. 22% of those who say they still do download music illegally also said that they don’t expect to still be doing it in 5 years time. The dramatic switch away from illegally downloading music can be correlated by the move towards other music listening services, with users best preferring to listen to their favourite tunes through services that have the necessary licences to host and play those tunes.
Growth in Background Music Usage
All across the world, companies in various industries are installing background music systems into their premises, with this summer seeing a rapid push towards the greatness that background music systems can bring. A case study on Red Bull‘s site states: “Most restaurants recognise that background music is key to establishing atmosphere, so often have resident DJs, particularly at weekends. But you won’t be blasted with 4/4 beats while you eat your goat’s cheese and beetroot fritters. The best restaurant DJs know exactly how to pitch it.” Over in Spain, the hotel industry has been looking to find ways in which they’re able to maintain a steady level of income throughout the year, rather than simply during the holiday peak, thus have been investing in ways to attract custom to their hotels. One hotel chain, Petit Palace Hotels (PPH) offers a more tailored experience for their guests through a background music system that is personalised to fit the vibe and feel of the consumer’s surroundings, adding a unique twist to boosting the atmosphere of what would be a regular hotel.
Whatever form your background music comes in, implementations like this show that background music systems are here to stay. It’s just up to us how we tune it.