Today sees the publication of IFPI's 2012 Digital Music Report - see Digitalmusic.org. The economists may have something to say about the numbers - but this blogger's joy cannot be unconfined when reports of revenues "up" are trumpeted to celebrate an industry of right owners that contractually serve their recording artists so very poorly (the endearing record contract practice of lending artists their own pipeline income to fund their own recoupable advances being a real favourite here). Of course, the movie deals too have their own shameful secrets. The European Audio-Visual Observatory reported last week that European digital movies screens are up from 4% in 2008 to 52% in 2011. Swift low-cost delivery to exhibitors is doubtless a boon to the MPAA members. But film contracts continue to permit huge cost deductions before applying revenues to recoupment. British directors of successful films, lacking the long-standing US residuals system, seldom see their net profit share materialise even on hugely successful pictures. The old Hollywood studio joke could equally apply to the record industry when it comes to paying out to third parties, in this case the talent: Q: Why does nobody play tennis at Paramount? A: Because there is no net!
Fortunately some little birds have convinced the UK powers that be that contracting practices need to be included in the evidence in the (seemingly endless) search for new business models. One hopes those in the know flood the UK's IPO with examples of these practices in March for the UK government's copyright consultation. What the Government wants here: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/hargreaves.htm
For a more fact-based view of the MPAA studios, read "Movie Money" (ed. 2) by Daniels, Leedy and Sill.
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