Music Publishing in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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The proliferation of digital media has created some obstacles, but it has also provided a host of new licensing opportunities by which operators can generate revenue. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Music Publishing industry in its growing industry report collection.

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The industry's success will depend on its ability to adapt to changing music consumption

The Music Publishing industry is in the midst of an important transition. Falling physical album sales over the past five years have forced publishers to seek out new revenue sources and become less dependent on their traditional licensing platform. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Antonio Daonova, “to meet the changing needs of the consumer, music publishers are continuously cultivating licensing agreements with newer revenue streams like mobile outlets, digital streaming services and wireless music subscription services.” This transition has buoyed the industry in recent years, even facilitating an expected 6.8% jump in revenue in 2012. Adapting to these new models has helped mitigate the losses brought about by decreased consumer spending and lackluster album performances during the recession. Nevertheless, the effect of declining physical album sales and generally subdued consumer demand for music is still reverberating throughout the industry, resulting in an overall revenue decline of about 1.1% per year on average to about $4.2 billion over the five years to 2012.

The shift in focus toward digital platforms has helped music publishers unearth some new revenue streams; however, the future performance of these mediums for publishers hinges on the ability to overcome some obstacles. For example, the widespread availability of music online, particularly for advertisers and other broadcasters, has made selling a song tougher than ever. “Additionally, the internet's accessibility has made it a viable vehicle for an artist to manage, distribute and promote his or her own songs and albums,” Says Danova. Artists have become increasingly reluctant to rely on a major label and its publishing arm to oversee the management of their intellectual property, diminishing the value of the Music Publishing industry’s role.

One sign of this struggle has taken the form of increased merger and acquisition activity within the industry in recent years. To compensate for a smaller pool of willing clients, major players such as Sony and Vivendi have turned to acquiring smaller, profitable competitors. On a larger scale, Sony recently purchased competitor EMI’s publishing arm, which will increase its market share significantly. While market share concentration is still moderate, it will likely increase in recent years.

Even with some expected challenges, the future remains bright for the Music Publishing industry. Over the five years to 2017, revenue is expected to grow moderately. The digitization of music availability will continue to aid the industry's growth. In addition, higher government oversight activity on preventing online music piracy will benefit publishers in the long run. This control will ensure music publishers capture licensing royalties that are eliminated through peer-to-peer file sharing and piracy. Additionally, with greater oversight and more media outlets, licensing a song in more ways will help bring profit margins up even further. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Music Publishing in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Music publishers work for musicians, songwriters and composers. They are responsible for licensing the intellectual property of their clients and ensuring that royalties are collected. Royalties are earned in various ways, including each time a song is downloaded on iTunes, sold on an album, reproduced in a live concert or played on the radio, a television show, a movie or through other media outlets.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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