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Cisac: Live now European songwriters’ biggest earner

The association of collection societies has released its annual numbers, showing continued growth in royalty collections from live music, particularly in Europe

By Jon Chapple on 15 Nov 2017

Cisac president Jean-Michel Jarre

Cisac president Jean-Michel Jarre

Live/background music is now the biggest source of revenue for songwriters and music publishers in Europe, reveals Cisac’s 2017 annual report, overtaking TV and radio for the first time.

Cisac, which represents authors’ rights societies internationally, saw total music collections on behalf of its members grow 6.8% to €8bn in 2016, boosted by a 52% increase in digital revenues (such as those from streaming services) and continued growth in live performance royalty payments, mirroring the trend seen in 2015.

While TV and radio still make up biggest segment globally, income from live and ‘background’ music, such as that played in nightclubs, bars and restaurants, overtook broadcast it in Europe, reflecting both “pressure on rates from broadcasters” and, particularly, the health of the live sector.

In total, royalty collections from live and background music were worth €2.7bn globally, a 2.4% increase on 2015. Overall collections, meanwhile, rose for the third year in a row, growing 19% compared to 2012.

The numbers were released today in the Cisac Global Collections Report, which collates and analyses 2016 data received from the organisation’s member societies. Cisac (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs, International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) represents 239 collection societies and performing rights organisations in 123 countries.

“The system of collective management of creators’ rights is robust, successful and ready for more growth”

“This year’s report shows the system of collective management of creators’ rights is robust, successful and ready for more growth,” says Cisac director-general Gadi Oron. “The big traditional revenue streams, led by broadcast and live performance, remain stable and strong. Digital royalties continue to surge and in some markets already overtake other forms of income.

“The figures we’re releasing today reflect our societies’ relentless effort to be more efficient and innovative, and drive income growth.”

Cisac’s president, electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, warns, however, that while digital revenues are growing fast – 51.4% in 2016, to just under €1bn – creators are still being shortchanged by some streaming services. “This is a vast sector of cultural and economic activity, worth an amazing €9bn worldwide,” he comments. “Despite its growth, however, collections are nowhere near the level they should be.

“Large industries that use creative content are driving down the value of our works. A simple illustration of this is the ‘transfer of value’ in the digital market where platforms such as YouTube are paying mere crumbs to authors. There is no greater priority that we ask from governments today than a solution to the transfer of value.”


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