Warner Chappell Music’s CEO and co-chair, Guy Moot, delivered a keynote speech at the All About Music conference in India virtually. In it, the executive discusses the “new global songwriter economy,” the importance of stronger IP laws worldwide, and the recent settlement between streaming services and publishers for U.S. mechanical streaming rates.
Notably optimistic about the industry’s future, Moot says there’s “never been a more exciting time to be in the music industry,” as it continues to globalize. He notes the increased appreciation for the value of songs, and the power of placements like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” for reviving interest in old songs like never before. He is, however, quick to distinguish WCM from recent entrants into the catalog gold rush. “There’s a huge difference between someone with deep pockets putting up the money to buy a catalog and music publishers, like us, that have a responsibility to our writers to look after and revitalize their songs, not just now but for the decades to come,” he says.
“It’s going to be less about just having hits” now, he explains, referencing a fracturing media landscape which will cause publishers to have to adjust their businesses in the coming years. “Those who fail to adapt to the new [songwriter] economy” will be left behind.
“It’s… more about creating a multitude of new global opportunities that put money back into the pockets of creators and bring more awareness to songs and songwriters,” says Moot.
The Warner Chappell CEO also discussed the importance of strengthening and safeguarding intellectual property laws, noting that in India alone there are 10+ million people working in the music business, whether that be as a songwriter, a sync manager, or a live music promoter. “By enacting stronger IP laws and better streaming rates, more money will go back into our local economies and create more jobs and opportunities for local creators.”
He notes the U.S. music business’s recent settlement at the Copyright Royalty Board, ensuring an increase of the mechanical streaming rate for publishers and songwriters over the next five years. “While these outcomes directly impact writers in the States, there’s a ripple effect that influences negotiations with streaming services around the world,” he says.
“The stakes have never been higher,” he warns as streaming continues to gain a foothold in emerging markets worldwide.
As he concludes, he says, “if I leave you with anything, it’s my hope that we take it upon ourselves – as industry leaders, key stakeholders, and music enthusiasts – to cultivate more job opportunities, including in emerging markets, and prioritize developing local songwriters, producers, and artists.”