EMMA: PROs must consult artist reps on livestreaming rates
The European Music Managers Alliance (Emma) has called on the continent’s copyright collection societies to involve artists and their representatives in any discussions about how to set new licensing rates for livestreamed concerts.
The umbrella organisation, which represents Music Managers Forums in the UK, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Poland, warns that if performance rights organisation (PRO) tariffs are levied at too steep a rate, this could kill off this growing format by making the majority of live streams financially unviable.
According to Emma, the actions of “certain PROs and major music publishers” – which have unilaterally decided live streams are akin to a music stream, rather than a live show, and so subject to much higher digital audio tariff – “are threatening the viability of ticketed livestreams across Europe”. The estimated size of these digital audio-based payments is “is so high that it would make the majority of livestreams unviable”, the association warns.
Emma’s intervention follows controversy over the decision by PRS for Music, the UK PRO, to impose without consultation a new tariff of up to 17% on livestreamed shows, in a move criticised by the UK Music Managers Forum, among others. PRS today (16 February) announced a consultation, or “call for views”, on the tariff, which runs until 12 March.
“Set licensing rates too high, and the costs of producing livestream shows simply won’t stack up”
Emma says while it agrees songwriters must be fairly compensated when their songs are performed in a live stream, European PROs should instead apply their standard live tariffs to ticketed livestreamed events until a new livestream rate is agreed with artists and managers.
“Everyone wants live shows to return as soon as it’s safe for audiences to come back. In the meantime, livestreaming has provided one of the few alternatives for artists to perform before an audience, build a fanbase, and generate revenues through ticket sales,” comments Emma chair Per Kviman (MMF Sweden).
“Emma is urging PROs across Europe to be sensitive to these facts, and that the imposition of any new licensing tariffs should involve full and open consultation – including with artists and their representatives.
“Get the balance right, and we could nurture a vibrant new format that complements live events and provides artists and songwriters with a valuable source of revenue. But set licensing rates too high, and the costs of producing livestream shows simply won’t stack up.”
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PRS backs down over controversial livestream tariff
Citing feedback from its members, UK performance rights organisation PRS for Music has amended its controversial tariff for small-scale livestreamed shows to exempt artists performing their own material.
The new ‘small-scale Online Live Concert licence’ – which levies a minimum 9% fee on events generating less than £500 – has been sharply criticised by the industry for punishing grassroots venues, artists and promoters, and has reportedly already led to a number of cancellations.
These small-scale events will now be covered by a free licence, available “throughout the period the live sector is forced to close due to the Covid-19 crisis where the qualifying member is the performer”.
According to PRS, the benefits of the new mechanism are that it “allows performing writers the latitude to test the online concert market to find a model which works for them”, as well as to allow writer-performers to “more easily hold a concert in support of others in the industry, such as charity gigs”.
“The change announced today we hope addresses many of the concerns expressed to us”
PRS says it will also be “accelerating its ongoing dialogue” with the industry about a fair interim rate for other live streams, including large shows, while physical live concerts are not possible. “We are committed to agreeing a discounted rate for larger concerts as soon as possible to make these licences available to the market,” reads a statement.
“We are committed to making sure that our songwriters, composers and publishers are well supported, so it is essential that all our members share in the value being generated by online livestreamed concerts when their songs are performed,” says Michelle Escoffery, president of the PRS Members’ Council.
“The change announced today we hope addresses many of the concerns expressed to us over the last few days. PRS will continue to listen to the views of our members in these most difficult of times.”
Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, comments: “We warmly welcome this logical revision to the previously announced tariff which has already seen hundreds of live events lost, costing performers and songwriters vital opportunities to generate desperately needed income during this crisis. The announcement of the online small-scale tariff last week, without prior consultation or discussion, was ill conceived and poorly executed. It is good to see PRS for Music acknowledging their error by immediately removing this charge.
“We note that once again the statement is issued to press without consultation or discussion with the sector most impacted by it. A long-term solution that ensures that songwriters whose work is performed in the grassroots sector are recognised and rewarded is achievable. It requires PRS for Music to enter into serious discussions in good faith, prepared to listen and prepared to consider evidence that can result in positive, forward-facing solutions for all stakeholders.
“We look forward to a full and inclusive consultation on these matters in the days and weeks ahead”
“Grassroots music venues want to pay the right songwriters an appropriate fee for the use of their material. The creation of songs is the beating heart of what our sector is about. Let’s work together to fix a broken system that recognises and rewards that.”
I a joint statement, David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition, and Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the Music Managers Forum, add: “We are pleased that PRS for Music have listened to calls from artists, managers and others across the industry. It is a welcome step forward that writer-performers playing their own material will be exempted from paying for a licence at small-scale livestream shows.
“We also welcome that PRS will now begin dialogue with artists, managers and other key stakeholders about the licensing of larger livestream events, and commit to agreeing a discounted rate while ‘in-person’ shows remain closed. Decisions around collection and distribution of revenue impact cross-sections of the music industry and cannot be taken on a unilateral basis. Therefore, we look forward to a full and inclusive consultation on these matters in the days and weeks ahead.”
Qualifying members can obtain a free PRS licence for small-scale online ticketed events by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Managers, artists slam proposed UK livestream tariff
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) have written to PRS for Music, the UK performance rights organisation, to protest a proposed new tariff for livestreamed concerts, which the associations criticise as “unworkable” and punitive to artists.
The MMF/FAC letter, which can be read in full here, is countersigned by more than 50 artist managers, including representatives for Dua Lipa, Biffy Clyro, Liam Gallagher, Bicep, Fontaines DC, Gorillaz and Yungblud, as well as a group of FAC member artists and songwriters.
The proposed tariff for live streams, described by PRS as a “temporary experimental and non-precedential rate structure”, has been devised without any consultation with industry. It would see a fee of up to 17% of gross ticket sales levied on livestreamed events, and would apply retrospectively to events which have already happened.
Even for the smallest events (those grossing under £50,000), the tariff would be 8% – double the 4% generally charged on a physical concert under the existing tariff ‘LP’.
The proposed tariff, particularly at the top royalty rate, compares unfavourably to the rates charged in several other European countries: The Netherlands’ Buma, for example, has a 7% tariff for live streams, while Germany’s Gema licenses live streams under its existing VR-OD 10 tariff, which is charged at a flat rate up to a maximum of €1,200. (By contrast, 17% of £450,000 is £76,500.)
“A starting rate 8%, rising to 17%, will make livestreaming unviable, for [all] artists”
The letter, addressed to PRS for Music chief executive Andrea Martin, says that while the associations accept that songwriters must be compensated fairly for use of their work in live streams, the 8–17% rate will make livestreaming – a format which has “presented artists with one of their few opportunities to perform and connect with their fans” this year – financially “unviable, for both the smallest emerging artists and the biggest superstar acts”.
“The larger, most-successful events involve significant production costs, and have provided a lifeline to crew and other industry workers,” write MMF’s Annabella Coldrick and FAC’s David Martin. “At the other end of the scale, livestreaming has been increasingly important for emerging artists and those operating in niche genres. For the sake of all artists, songwriters and the wider industry, it is crucial that this new format is allowed to grow and thrive.
“Charging artists up to four times the live [LP] rate strangles, rather than nurtures, this innovation. For some of the smaller artists who have just covered their costs livestreaming, it will be impossible to find this additional money retrospectively.”
According to the MMF and FAC, PRS has so far declined to enter into consultation about the proposed tariff, and it’s for this reason the bodies are making their position public. Additionally, they are inviting more managers and artists to add their signatures to the letter to demand a “full and transparent consultation”.
“The proposed online live concert pilot licence scheme is still evolving”
This consultation, the letter concludes, “should also aim to provide certainty that PRS actually holds a mandate to license livestreaming events on a global basis.
“Until that process is concluded, we are working on the basis that the current live tariff is the applicable rate to these ticketed events.”
Responding, a PRS for Music spokesperson says: “PRS For Music members, alongside many others across our sector, have been very badly impacted by the shutdown of live music this year. We welcome the many initiatives to move live concerts online and PRS For Music has designed an online live concert licence, which will allow the necessary rights to be licensed.
“The proposed pilot licence scheme is still evolving. As conversations with our partners are active and ongoing, it would not be right for us to provide further detail or comment at this stage while we await their assessment and feedback.
“Of course, our primary role is to protect our members’ rights and to ensure they are paid fairly for their work, which is more important than ever now. We hope that these conversation will progress quickly.”
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Going live on the right side of the law
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation or postponement of the majority of concerts and live events, leading to an unprecedented crisis in the events and live music industry. In fact, although the streaming of music through dedicated platforms and apps has boosted the music industry in recent years, a great deal of an artist’s revenue still comes from live performances.
However, even during the months of lockdown, music did not stop, as the absence of live music events has stimulated artists and fans to reinvent the live concert experience by creating and supporting new platforms to discover, listen and share music while social distancing. The music industry has thus recently embraced new ways to encourage fan engagement by introducing the public to what could take the stage as the new normal for live events for a while: remote concerts and tours.
In this scenario, new legal challenges arise. Some of the most relevant issues concern the copyright protection of the works involved in streamed concerts, as well as the arrangement of the relevant compensations.
Firstly, the artist’s right to perform their copyrighted work in front of a public (whether in person or remotely) stands as one of the exclusive rights that a copyright owner is entitled to, along with the right to reproduce and distribute their work. But what if the concert is played by different artists, each from a different location and playing their own part and then synchronised to the moving images of each player or to different images? This is what happened, for instance, in the #Italiasuona flashmob recently organised by Filarmonica della Scala. The outcome of the performance will likely be considered a new audio-visual derivative work including a new live execution.
Thus, those who wish to share these kind of works with the public must check whether their new or existing agreements cover all the new normal rights (eg right of performance, right to communicate to the public through online means new executions of the same work, synchronisation rights over the concerned work). Not to mention the authorisation to use the image rights of each performer and share the content by each performer to maximise the audience.
The most important concern is making sure the livestreaming platforms involved only use authorised content
Further, such rights might run the risk of being infringed: the most important concern will be to make sure the livestreaming platforms involved only use authorised content in each online event. In this regard, some online music platforms and social networks have already been provided with algorithms which are able to automatically detect copyrighted music. Further, making the same performances of an artist available on demand, and thus on a continuous basis, would also involve the need to establish licences from right-holders, as well as licences related to synchronisation, in case videos are involved during the streamed events.
The compensation of artists and staff operating in the live industry is another crucial point of change for the future, which also needs to be taken into account in agreements. In this regard, although a different experience from the usual live concert atmosphere could justify a lower price for each single ticket sold, the online-based approach of such events will undoubtedly profit from a much wider and more diverse reach.
In this new era, the compensation of artists and staff has to be scrutinised under a different – and more digital – tax approach.
In principle, the OECD Model Tax Convention emphasises the need to assess the existence of a close connection between the income and the performance. Such a connection will generally be found to exist where it cannot be reasonably considered that the income would have been derived in the absence of a performance of these activities. The right to receive a remuneration for musicians and artists is strictly connected to their exhibitions.
These issues are high on the agenda of international music managers and artists, as well as tax professionals and authorities.
In this new era, the compensation of artists and staff has to be scrutinised under a different, more digital, tax approach
A recent case involved the analysis of tax treatment of income received by two musicians (tax residents of Germany and Switzerland) engaged by an Italian foundation to perform at two concerts outside of Italy.
According to the agreement concluded between the foundation and the international artists, though remuneration was due in connection with the participation in the concerts outside of Italy, all preparatory activities, such as concert rehearsals, had to be carried in Italy and no specific remuneration – nor a reimbursement of the expenses – was due.
The Italian tax authorities’ view can be summarised as follows: the income paid to the musicians is treated as income from artistic performance carried out entirely outside the Italian territory, regardless of the days present in Italy for concert rehearsals. Therefore, such income is not subject to Italian taxation in the hands of the non-resident musicians. As a matter of fact, concert rehearsals carried out in Italy should not be treated as separate activities from the concert (they are an essential part of it). The conclusion appears consistent with the clarifications provided in the OECD commentary on article 17 of the aforementioned model.
What about the legal and tax issues of compensation deriving from the streaming platforms? These issues might need to be explored more in detail, in light of the new key role of the digital tools for the live industry, especially in the case of concerts involving renowned international artists. Possible means to be considered to assess compensation include earnings calculators, which are unofficial tools already used by influencers, providing earning potential guidelines by taking into account the number of interactions, followers and reach of the shared content.
Antonio Longo and Elena Varese are lawyers in the Milan office of DLA Piper, a global legal firm. This article originally appeared on the DLA Piper website.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Can I livestream it? Yes, you can
Livestreaming has soared. Artists and managers are on the look-out for innovative ways to fill the gap left by real-life live performances in an age of social distancing and strict public health measures. This includes keeping up fan engagement, ensuring the equipment and technical resources are available to put on a high-quality show, and being able to generate new revenue streams that could compensate for the cancellation of their shows.
Different platforms vary in what they offer in terms of interactivity, monetisation and quality, but no matter where they stream, artists face the same questions. A lot of them have to do with licences and revenues, two key aspects that challenge the music industry every time it embraces a new technology, service or business model.
In some ways, live streams are a lot like any other piece of content uploaded to social or video platforms. For example, as we monitor live streams at BMAT, we often see content being blocked or partially muted in the section where copyrighted tracks are identified in a live stream and post-stream upload. The copyright protection algorithms of the platforms, which use audio fingerprinting to find and flag content, are kicking in – the same way they do when a user uploads content with someone’s track in it. This system is in place for when masters or sound recordings are being streamed.
Live streams, as live performances, are subject to royalties
But that’s only half of the equation: For tracks in a live stream to be properly cleared, publishing rights for the musical compositions also need to be taken into account. That requires knowledge of content ownership and licensing entities on top of just audio fingerprinting. Here’s where livestreaming licences get really complicated.
To better understand what livestreaming entails from a licensing perspective, it’s worth noting the similarities to real-life concerts and general performances in clubs. Both licenses cover the performances of any music in public spaces or concerts by the local collecting societies. When artists play concerts with their own repertoire only, there are certain cases where big acts have licensed this directly with publishers and tour agencies. This means artists should feel fairly confident they can stream a performance of their own work, if they own both sides of it (masters and composition). This may be helpful as you plan your setlist for your next virtual show.
Just as with licences, there are revenue streams in place for more established types of performance spaces and events. For online streaming, the revenue picture looks very different. It’s a large colour palette, with some brighter than others.
The vast majority of platforms creators are using these days could help by having a straightforward way to enable direct monetisation of their performance. Donation-based models, virtual tickets or paywalls, sponcon, gifts or tips and other digital odds and ends don’t add up to a clear path for estimating potential return on an artist’s live stream. They vary by platform – as do the revenue share and other fees behind them – and they are more complex to predict and calculate than butts-in-seats formulas. These monetisation approaches are changing quickly, as platforms roll out new products and features at a prestissimo tempo.
The copyright protection algorithms are kicking in, the same way they do when a user uploads content with someone’s track in it
Along with how much live streams might make, it’s also not fully clear whether platforms’ existing licensing agreements and music-usage data processes are allowing royalties and data to flow to the right hands. These data ensure creators also get compensated for the royalties that are generated as a consequence of these live streams, which as live performances, are subject to royalties. To be fair to all music creators, this information loop needs to flow accurately and be closed as quickly as possible.
Online live music streaming emerged suddenly as a quick solution to fill the void that comes from social distancing in the physical world and as an alternative to the shutdown of bars, clubs, concerts and festivals. It’s like one big experiment, and as with all experiments, there are plenty of unknowns. It’s still unknown how many of these attempts to reach audiences and keep the music playing will evolve to suit artists and promoters. We also still wonder what the licensing schemas that need to be in place may bring in terms of possibilities and limitations.
What is for certain is that the boom in live streaming will have an impact and is changing the future of live music. Many of the initiatives we are seeing today, the ones that work from an artistic and business perspective, will be here to stay. At BMAT, we are already collecting, analysing and reporting as much data as we can in order to help anyone who needs it in the coming future.
Jakue López is vice-president of digital at BMAT, a music innovation company with a mission to index all music usage and ownership data. BMAT monitors and reports music globally across TVs, radios, venues and digital to help artists get paid for their plays.
Brazil’s ECAD advances performance royalties
Considered one of the most important sources of income for the Brazilian music industry, and especially for singers and composers, the collection of public performance royalties is seriously affected by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. According to ECAD, (Central Collection and Distribution Office), the sector may lose R$140 million (US$26.6m) over the next few months.
In an interview with Veja magazine, the agency’s executive superintendent, Isabel Amorim, affirmed that the damage caused by the postponement of events will cause irreparable damage. “It is income that will never be recovered again,” she declared.
According to ECAD, the only temporary relief for the sector will be generated from radio, TV stations and the digital platforms. “This source of payment has never been more important, as almost all other sources of income for artists have been compromised.” In 2019, the agency distributed approximately $986.5 million to 383,000 composers in Brazil.
According to ECAD, 6,600 concerts and events were registered each month for March, April and May 2019, equivalent to the average collection of $11.3 million in performance fees.
With shows and events cancelled around the country, an emergency plan has been approved by ECAD (Central Collection and Distribution Office) and the seven national associations (Abramus, Amar, Assim, Sbacem, Sicam, Socinpro and UBC) to support composers and artists.
Those with an average annual income between $12,000 and $36,000 will receive an advance of $900
The amount of $14 million will be advanced to almost 22,000 Brazilian composers, musicians and interpreters who have had an average annual income between $500 and $36,000 over the past three years (2017, 2018 and 2019).
Copyright holders with an average annual income between $500 and $12,000 over the past three years will receive an advance of $600 divided into three instalments, with $200 paid in April and the remainder in May and June.
Those with an average annual income between $12,000 and $36,000 over the past three years will receive an advance of $900, of which $300 will be paid in April and the rest in May and June.
The amounts advanced will be discounted later, 60 days after the end of the state of public emergency is announced, and in up to 12 equal monthly instalments.
In 2019, R$986.5 million was distributed to more than 383,000 composers, musicians, interpreters, publishers, record companies and music associations. This was an increase of 17% in the number of beneficiaries compared to 2018. 65% was allocated to local Brazilian repertoire. In January of 2020, ECAD distributed a total of R$131.7 million and benefited 69,000 composers, artists and other copyright holders.
(Can’t) play that funky music: Music licensing in the Middle East
The business of music licensing continues to be a difficult area in the UAE and, generally, across the Gulf region. European collective rights management agencies are once again writing letters to various users of music, claiming their rights.
On that basis, we felt it was timely to address this issue so that everyone fully comprehends the rights position.
Firstly, despite claims that we read, from time to time, on social media posts, the UAE Copyright Act recognises various rights relating to music, including the much-discussed issue of the public performance rights, as part of the rights granted to authors under Article 7:
“Only the author and his successor or the copyright holder may authorise the exploitation of the work of art, in any manner whatsoever, namely by way of copying including downloading, electronic saving, any drama performance, radio broadcast transmission and re-transmission, public performance or communication, translation, rearrangement, amendment, renting out, borrowing, or publication in any manner including presentation via computers or information or communication networks or any other medium.”
These rights are similar in the various Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Internationally, when it comes to broadcasting or any public performance of music (such as in restaurants or hotel lobbies), the practice of licensing is done by way of collective rights management. This is the process by which the user of the music engages with a copyright collection society to obtain a blanket licence to allow them to legally use the music in their businesses.
In many jurisdictions, the copyright collection societies typically enter into relationships with the creators/owners of the music whereby the public performance rights are exclusively licensed to the copyright collection society. They then have the exclusive rights to globally license the public performance rights in the music. Notably, they also work with other copyright collection societies across the globe in order to collect money on behalf of their national members. Therefore, if a restaurant in Paris plays music from a Brazilian composer, that composer should receive a fee.
As an industry, both users and owners of music will be best served by the introduction of certainty
At this moment in time, there are no copyright collection societies operating in the GCC region. This is for a number of reasons, and can be traced back to the operation of the copyright acts in each country. Some territories require them to be licensed (UAE, Oman, Bahrain). Kuwait does contemplate the existence of copyright collection societies, but with no clear guidance. Saudi Arabia does not mention them in its Copyright Act, neither by way of allowing or prohibiting them, and neither does Qatar.
From an UAE perspective, the government has yet to license any entity to undertake the activity of a copyright collection society. This includes activities undertaken by foreign copyright collection societies, which nonetheless continue to send demand letters to UAE businesses from other countries, seeking licence fees. They do not have the right to do this.
- Even if a company wants to license music within its business, it is going to find it difficult to do so. Large entities have the ability to consult lawyers for advice, but smaller businesses continue to use music without a licence
- Anyone wanting to negotiate any rights is at the mercy of the commercial operators – the record companies and publishers that control the rights in this region – because there is no established rate card for payment for the licences. In other countries, the rate card gives businesses absolute certainty as to money that needs to be set aside for music licensing
- Foreign companies will continue to write unpleasant demand letters to local companies despite not having the government mandate to operate in the country
- UAE and GCC talent are not represented overseas. If Emirati music is played on a radio station in New York, there is no copyright collection society here to receive the money that is generated from the public performance
- Large-scale events cannot provide third parties (such as performers or exhibitors) with a platform for public performances that are free of potential infringement. They often are left without the ability to license the public performance rights at all because of the complexity of the global law and practice in that area
As an industry, both users and owners of music will be best served by the introduction of certainty as soon as possible.
“It can be a lonely profession”: Stim opens office to creators
Swedish collection society Stim will in June open Stim Music Room, a 200sqm workspace for its members at its headquarters in Stockholm.
An entire floor of the Stim office has been remodelled to create the co-working area, which will be open to all 90,000 Stim-affiliated songwriters and composers.
A total of 35 people can work side by side at Stim Music Room during office hours, while two new studios, designed by Ingvar Öhman, and a live space will enable members to hone their craft free of charge.
“The idea for the project came through dialogue with our songwriters. It can be a lonely profession, especially in the beginning of a career”
“We are incredibly proud to launch Stim Music Room,” says Lina Heyman, head of rightsholder relations at Stim (Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå, Swedish Performing Rights Society). “The idea for the project came through dialogue with our songwriters. It can be a lonely profession, especially in the beginning of a career. By opening up our office we want to support not only the creative process, but also by offering a natural meeting place to our members.
“It’ll be a great addition to our core offer: making sure music creators get paid for their hard work.”
UK venues criticise PPL tariff increase
British copyright collection society PPL has released details of its new specially featured entertainment (SFE) tariff, which will see UK businesses that play recorded music faced with a significant increase in fees.
The SFE tariff – the new version of which comes into force on 1 July 2019 – relates to the playing of recorded music in public at events such as DJ and club nights, and applies to venues, nightclubs, pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and hotels.
While PPL says the current tariff, which has been in place since the late ’80s, specifies fees that are “too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to businesses of using recorded music at SFE events”, those who will be paying the higher fees have suggested they could have a “devastating” effect on many entertainment businesses.
DHP Family’s Julie Tippins – who wrote for IQ last October saying a PPL fee increase could lead to the closure of successful UK venues – calls the new tariff a “slap in the face”, especially given the recommendations of the DCMS live music report, released the same day, which called for more support for grassroots venues.
“It’s obvious to us that these new tariffs do not address the issues that grassroots venues are facing and if implemented they would still represent a substantial hike in PPL charges at a time when many small venues are already facing a perilous financial future,” Tippins tells IQ. “We suggest PPL has a complete rethink, and looks towards reducing charges, and try encouraging the musical ecosystem that will provide artists for the future – rather than putting in measures that will destroy it.
“Yesterday the DCMS reported on the problems that small venues face and asked the music industry to step in and support it. This feels like a slap in the face to both the recommendations of the DCMS and venues in this country.”
“We believe that the new SFE tariff delivers a fairer return for our members”
PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) collects and distributes royalty monies of behalf of performers and record companies for the use of their recorded music. The SFE tariff changes include:
- Measuring the audience at an SFE event by using the total number of admissions to the event.
- A change so that the fee will increase in direct proportion to the size of the audience (measured in bands of 25 persons)
- The introduction of two new smaller tariff bands, for SFE events with attendances of 1–25 and 26–50 persons, which PPL says, “in many cases”, will result in events paying less than under the current tariff
- The phased introduction of increased fees over a five-year period from July 2019, based on an initial rate of 4p (£0.04) per person per hour (up slightly from the current average of 3p per person per hour). This will move to fees based on a rate of 9p per person per hour by 2023, subject to annual indexation (ie inflation)
“I would like to thank our licensees for engaging with PPL’s SFE consultation,” says PPL CEO Peter Leathem (pictured). “We have listened to their views as part of finalising our new SFE tariff. Recorded music forms a very significant part of SFE events and we believe that the new SFE tariff delivers a fairer return for our members who create that music.
“We look forward to working with our licensees and their representatives to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to the new SFE tariff.”
UKHospitality, a trade association which represents bars, cafés, hotels, nightclubs and other leisure businesses, describes the new fee structure as a tax on music venues, and estimates it will cost the hospitality sector in the region of £49 million.
Its chief executive, Kate Nicholls, says: “The decision to introduce a new tax for music venues could be potentially devastating. This new tax will see venues hit with an average 130% increase which we estimate will cost the hospitality sector upwards of £49 million.
“extra fees such as PPL’s will only wring the last life out of venues”
“Hospitality businesses are already being bombarded with constantly-increasing costs and only today a government report highlighted the pressures being faced by music venues. The report stated that increasing costs were a major factor in the closure of venues. This additional massive cost is not going to help, it is only going to force more and more venues out of business.
“It is not just nightclubs and large venues that will be hit, either. Village pubs that host weekly discos will be strangled by the charge and there is every chance that such events, upon which many pubs might rely, will be forced out altogether.
“The UK’s music venues are some of the hospitality sector’s most exciting businesses. Music plays an enormous role in our lives culturally and socially as well as economically, but extra fees such as PPL’s will only wring the last life out of venues.
“UKHospitality has been in discussions with PPL and repeatedly highlighted the problems this new tariff would lead to. We had some success in avoiding proposed structural changes but it is disappointing to see them ignore our warnings and push ahead with a hike. Unless PPL rethinks this charge then they are only going to put the businesses they want to charge out of business.”
Mike Klist, of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII)’s tells the Morning Advertiser: “The BII is disappointed by PPL’s decision to raise the tariff on the SFE licence by 130% on average. Pubs and clubs that are liable for the tariff are predominantly in the night-time economy, which is so important not only to our high streets, but also our rural communities.”
Full details of the new SFE tariff can be found on PPL’s website at www.ppluk.com/sfetariff.
India’s IPRS readmitted to Cisac after 2016 expulsion
India’s performance rights organisation, the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), has been readmitted to international authors’ rights association Cisac as an associate member after two years of reform.
IPRS was temporarily expelled from Cisac (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) in 2016 after a compliance review found “serious shortcomings and lack of compliance with Cisac’s rules”, according to the organisation, which represents 239 collection societies and performing rights organisations in 122 countries.
That decision, taken by Cisac’s board and general assembly, has now been reversed following “major reforms” in corporate governance, transparency, licensing, collections and distribution of royalties.
The society has also been re-granted registration under India’s copyright law by the Indian government.
“We are delighted to have IPRS back in our global network, following extensive reforms”
Cisac director-general Gadi Oron says: “India is an important market with a huge potential for creators and the creative industries. We are delighted to have IPRS back in our global network, following extensive reforms conducted at the society with Cisac’s support and guidance.
“Cisac’s best practice rules ensure high standards and mutual trust among our member societies and, as the India case shows, they also act as a lever for positive reforms where needed.”
“This homecoming is the occasion to acknowledge the decisive support received from the government of India when all hope was lost, as well as the unsparing assistance from and support of Cisac towards transparency and a compliant IPRS, for which the creative community will be forever grateful,” adds IPRS chairman, and former Cisac vice-president, Javed Akhtar. “Now we must look to the future.
“I want to assure all those who entrust their copyrights to the ‘new IPRS’ of our determination to become, in the shortest possible time, a world-class society, accurately tracking and monetising all usage of their musical works in the country.”