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Russian promoters battle artists over self-regulation

Promoters' association Soyuz Concert tells IQ artists opposed to a self-regulatory body for promoters have "succumbed to rumours that this law is directed against them"

By Jon Chapple on 11 Feb 2016

Yuri Shevchuk (Ю́рий Шевчу́к), Vladimir Varfolomeev

Yuri Shevchuk

image © Vladimir Varfolomeev

Russian promoters’ association Soyuz Concert has expressed its disappointment that a number of prominent artists have torpedoed its plans for a self-regulatory body for the country’s concert industry.

Promoters SAV Entertainment, PMI and NCA had already signed up to Soyuzkontsert (roughly the “Concert Alliance”) when it was abandoned in its current form following criticism from prominent musicians including Yuri Shevchuk, Boris Grebenshchikov, Alla Pugacheva and Grigory Leps, who believed artists’ interests were not being suitably represented.

According to Vladimir Kozlov, writing in Billboard, Soyuzkontsert would regulate relations between members, lobby government for the industry’s interests and deal collectively with issues such simplifying the process of obtaining visas for foreign artists and resolving taxation issues related to their fees.

Shevchuck, Pugacheva et al apparently bristled at not being consulted when the body was conceived and proposed to Russian legislators.

“If artists had examined the document, they would have realised that this law is not about them and not for them – but for and about the promoters”

“We think that the main thing for the artists now is to read this document,” a spokesman for Soyuz Concert tells IQ. “Apparently they did not, and instead succumbed to the rumours that this law is directed against them or somehow restricts them. But if they had examined the document, they would have realised that this law is not about them and not for them – but for and about the promoters.”

The idea for Soyuzkontsert comes at a time when Russian tours by international artists are increasingly under threat as the country’s concert industry suffers in the face of Western sanctions and a collapsing ruble.

Soyuz Concert isn’t giving up what it calls its “timely and proper” proposal. Its spokesman says it’s in Russia’s interest “to have trade unions of promoters who actually create legislation. Any further regulation [of the live music sector] will take place within these trade unions, which [will be] a boon for the industry.”

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