German music industry hit by illegal copying

21st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 March 2006, BERLIN - The music industry in Germany is continuing to suffer from illegal private copying and downloading, with CD sales falling steadily as illegal copying increases, representatives of the German music industry said Tuesday.

21 March 2006

BERLIN - The music industry in Germany is continuing to suffer from illegal private copying and downloading, with CD sales falling steadily as illegal copying increases, representatives of the German music industry said Tuesday.

"Despite high expectations, 2005 turned out not to be the year in which the turnaround for the music industry took place," said Peter Zombik, managing director of the German branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the German Phonographic Industry Association (BPW), at the annual press conference of the German recorded music associations in Berlin.

He said that there are still no signs of growth for the music sector in Germany.

Total turnover for the German recording industry fell in 2005 for the seventh year in a row to 1,746 million euros (2,113 million dollars), down from 1,753 million euros (2,122 million dollars) in 2004. This represents a decrease in sales of almost 45 per cent in comparison with 1998.

The shrinking market has necessitated "massive re-adjustments", Zombik said, adding that over 30 per cent of jobs in the sector have been lost in the last seven or eight years.

Zombik blamed the poor performance of the German recording industry largely on illegal copying of CDs. He said that in 2005 the equivalent of 439 million music CDs were copied illegally in Germany, in comparison to sales of 123.7 million CDs.

The amount of music copied illegally has risen sharply in the last few years from only 58 million CD equivalents in 1999, with a corresponding steady decline in CD sales, which have fallen every year since 1999 when 198 million CDs were sold.

According to industry figures, 21 million people copy music illegally in Germany, from a total population of 82 million.

Zombik said the German recording industry demanded measures to combat illegal copying.

These include restricting private copying to only making backups of CDs that the consumer owns, a ban on software which can copy individual titles broadcast on internet radio stations, and better legal instruments to combat piracy, such as the right to obtain information on illegal downloads from internet service providers (ISPs).

One positive signal was the increase in music titles sold legally on the internet, which increased in 2005 to 16.4 million individual tracks from 6.4 million tracks in 2004.

However this has had an impact on the sales of CD singles, whose sales fell from 21.1 million units in 2004 to 15.4 million units in 2005. Zombik pointed out that the online market is still very small in comparison to traditional channels, only making up around 2 per cent of sales.

Another positive development was the increase in popularity of German artists, whose CDs now comprise 35.3 per cent of total album sales, an increase from 30.3 percent in 2004. In terms of singles, German artists are now more popular than international stars and make up 51.4 per cent of singles sales.

Michael Haentjes, the chairman of the German recorded music associations, described the educational projects that the associations support.

These include "SchoolTour", where educationalists and musicians, including internationally-known artists such as dance producer Mousse T. and rock singer Roachford, go into schools across Germany for a week to do music projects with children.

Pupils write and perform their own songs and produce their own CDs, as well as discussing the political significance of music and learning DJing and remixing techniques.

Haentjes explained that the recording industry hoped such projects could help ensure long-term sustainability for the industry.

He also stressed how music for society can help "bind" society together, including helping integration of children from ethnic minorities. Many of the schools where the "SchoolTour" projects take place are relatively deprived and have a high percentages of children of immigrants.

Haentjes said that musicians from ethnic minorities have helped to revitalise the German music industry, mentioning pop singer Xavier Naidoo and rapper Bushido as two examples of popular German artists who are second-generation immigrants.

"Pop music has always been the art form of the underprivileged," he said.

"But this hasn't been the case in Germany in the post-war period, he said. "Now that we have this mixture of artists from different ethnic minorities creating music, it makes German pop music more authentic and richer."


Subject: German news

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