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Economical scenario of music video


By Arindam Bhunia

‘It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream, but terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes……’

Hope you all can easily recognize the tune. Yes, it is one of the most popular and sensational music videos by the one and only Michel Jackson.  Music videos have a big impact on how the world is viewed today. Today individual’s minds are twisted with images from songs, melodies, and lyrics in which music videos have influenced and made a big impact on people’s attitude and their lifestyles; these images shape the way people think in their everyday lives. This edition of CULT CRITIC, we will focus on the current statistical market of music videos worldwide.

In 2016, the global recorded music market grew by 5.9%, the fastest rate of growth since 1997. This was a second consecutive year of global growth for the industry, with revenue increasing in the vast majority of markets, including nine of the top ten. In 2016, global recorded music revenues totalled US$15.7 billion. They rose by 5.9% in 2015, improving on the previous year’s growth of 3.6% and marking the largest growth.  The industry has seen since IFPI began tracking industry sales in 1997. PHYSICAL FORMAT revenues declined by 7.6%, a higher rate than the previous year, which saw a decline of 3.9%. The physical sector still accounts for 34% of the global market where DIGITAL REVENUES grew by 17.7% to US$7.8 billion, driven by a sharp 60.4% growth in streaming revenue – the largest growth in eight years and for the first time, digital revenues make up 50% of the share of total recorded music industry revenues. PERFORMANCE RIGHTS– grew by 7.0% to US$2.2 billion in 2016. This revenue stream accounts for 14% of the market but remains significantly undervalued and SYNCHRONISATION REVENUE – the revenue from the use of music in advertising, film, games and television programmes – grew by 2.8%. It maintained its 2% share of  the Global Market.

In 1894, sheet music publishers Edward B. Marks and Joe Stern hired electrician George Thomas and various performers to promote sales of their song “The Little Lost Child”. In 1926, with the arrival of “talkies” many musical short films were produced. Vitaphone shorts (produced by Warner Bros.) featured many bands, vocalists and dancers. In the mid-1940s, musician Louis Jordan made short films for his songs, some of which were spliced together into a feature film Lookout Sister. These films were, according to music historian Donald Clarke, the “ancestors” of music video. Musical films were another important precursor to music video, and several well-known music videos have imitated the style of classic Hollywood musicals from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1964, Kenneth Anger’s experimental short film, Scorpio Rising used popular songs instead of dialog. In 1981, the U.S. video channel MTV launched, airing “Video Killed the Radio Star” and beginning an era of 24-hour-a-day music on television. With this new outlet for material, the music video would, by the mid-1980s, grow to play a central role in popular music marketing. Many important acts of this period, most notably Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran and Madonna, owed a great deal of their success to the skilful construction and seductive appeal of their videos. In 1983, the most successful, influential and iconic music video of all time was released: the nearly 14-minute-long video for Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller”, directed by John Landis. 2005 saw the launch of the website YouTube, which made the viewing of online video much faster and easier; Google Videos, Yahoo! Video, Facebook and Myspace’s video functionality use similar technology. Such websites had a profound effect on the viewing of music videos; some artists began to see success as a result of the videos seen mostly or entirely online.

Downloads of music videos are still accounting for the bulk of global digital revenues (52%). Single track downloads declined by 10.9 per cent in 2016, while digital albums also saw revenues down 4.2 per cent. Download sales declined in virtually all established markets, but continue to grow in some emerging markets. The global decline was driven by a variety of factors, including the sharp growth of Android smart phones and tablets orientated to streaming services rather than download. This has combined with a certain amount of substitution as consumers move from download to streaming services.

Music markets are moving at different speeds with diverse trends in different countries. In North America, the US market increased in value by 2.1 per cent. Digital revenues topped US$3.5 billion in 2014 and now account for nearly three-quarters of the recorded music market (71%). Latin America continued to grow strongly in 2014, with overall recorded music revenues up 7.3 per cent as sharply rising digital income offset a decline in physical format sales. Latin America has been the fastest-growing region for music sales for the last four years and now makes up 4 per cent of the world market. Asia, saw revenues fall by 3.6 per cent. There was strong growth in South Korea (+19.2%) and some smaller markets such as China (+5.6%), Indonesia (+16.3%), and Singapore (+4.7%). Japan saw digital revenues increase by 4.9 per cent, driven by strong subscription revenues, but the market declined by 5.5 per cent overall. Europe saw a market decline of 0.2 per cent, but the picture across its various countries was highly diverse. The largest market Germany saw growth of 1.9 per cent, helped by streaming gains and a slower-than-average fall in physical sales. Other large markets, including France (-3.4%) and the UK (-2.8%) saw declines. There was growth in Spain (+15.2%) and a number of smaller European markets including Czech Republic (+4.6%), Denmark (+2.0%), Hungary (+7.8%), Iceland (+0.7%), Ireland (+8.5%) and Slovakia (+13.5%).

Of all the expensive music videos made over time (and there are quite a few), the top five is created by only two artists: Of all the expensive music videos made over time (and there are quite a few), the top five is created by only two artists: Michael Jackson and Madonna. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as those two legends are some of the only ones who would have enough clout to rustle up millions for a four-minute movie. While other artists typically use music videos as a way of selling more copies of a certain song or album, these two turned the music video into an art form, attempting to top them with each new project.

1. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson —  “Scream,” $10.7 million (originally $7 million)

2. Madonna — “Express Yourself,” $9.4 million (originally $5 million)

3. Madonna — “Die Another Day,” $7.9 million (originally $6.1 million)

4. Madonna — “Bedtime Story,” $7.7 million (originally $5 million)

5. Michael Jackson — “Black or White,” $6.9 million (originally $4 million)

Here the top money maker music video creators of 2016

  5. ADELE

The music world is seizing the moment and uniting in its efforts to fix the value gap. If we can get this right, then the recent, modest growth can be just the start of a longer journey to a significantly stronger and fairer global business. User uploads video streaming services, benefitting from the misapplication of ‘safe harbours’, comprise the world’s largest on-demand music audience, conservatively estimated at more than 900 million users. The revenue returning to rights holders through these services in 2016 amounted to US$553 million. By contrast, a much smaller user base of 212 million users of audio subscription services (both paid and ad supported) , that have negotiated licenses on fair terms, contributed over US$3.9 billion.

From publicly available data, it has estimated that Spotify paid record companies US$20 per user in 2015, the last year of available data. By contrast, it is estimated that YouTube returned less than US$1 for each music user.

There is a major movement happened in 2016 itself. Major and independent record lebels worldwide will typically release new music on Fridays. The move is being made to benefit music fans and will ensure that consumers worldwide are able to access new releases on the same day. Release days currently vary from one country to another, causing frustration for consumers in a globalized market when music fans in some parts of the world can listen and buy new releases before others. The plan is strongly supported by artists’ groups. The move will also help artists who want to harness the power of social media to promote their new music.

We are now in an exciting era in which streaming is making the depth and richness of every kind of music available to hundreds of millions of people, with artists connecting more directly and more quickly with their audiences. Challenges remain, however, and the fair remuneration of those that create and invest in music must be a priority in this increasingly digital world. The whole community is uniting in its efforts to ensure that music is properly valued so that artists and their work can thrive.


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