ECSA holds inaugural board meeting
The Entertainment Committee for Stadium · Arena (ECSA), the new association advocating for Japan’s large venues, held its first executive board meeting on 26 April, with members approving its articles of association and membership terms.
Launched earlier that month, ECSA is a joint venture between Japanese promoters’ association ACPC and Japan Top League (JTL), an alliance of 12 leading sports leagues, that aims to improve and develop Japan’s arena and stadium infrastructure.
At the 26 April meeting, ECSA’s board of directors also agreed on an action plan to support Japan’s large-venue business, with its first goal being rolling up all under-construction stadia and arenas “scattered around the country”.
“We, the sports industry and music industry, have never had a conversation with each other,” says Entertainment Committee president Saburo Kawabuchi, who calls stadia and arenas a common “source of origin to provide entertainment.
“In order to use them in an effective way, we would like to start discussing what we can do.”
The composition of ECSA’s first board of directors and secretariat is as follows:
- President: Saburo Kawabuchi (JTL president)
- Vice-president: Takeo Nakanishi (ACPC chair)
- Executive board member: Tatsuya Nomura (Federation of Music Producers Japan managing director)
- Executive board member: Hidenori Nakai (Japan Association of Music Enterprises executive manager)
- Executive board member: Yusaku Morioka (Japan Sport Association managing director)
- Executive board member: Kenji Shimaoka (Japan Volleyball League Organisation president)
- Executive board member: Mitsuru Murai (Japan Professional Football League chairman)
- Executive board member: Masaaki Okawa (Japan Professional Basketball League chairman)
- Executive board member: Koji Matsushita (T League chairman)
- Executive board member: Yoshiyuki Mano (professor, Waseda University Faculty of Sport Sciences)
- Supervisor: Koichi Tsujii (Lawyer, JTL supervisor, ACPC managing director)
- Director-general: Yoshinori Taguchi (JTL)
- Deputy director-general: Hiroto Imaizumi (ACPC)
- Producer: Nobuhiro Nagai (ACPC)
- Deputy producer: Katsuhiko Kondo (ACPC)
- Project manager: Junichi Tayama (ACPC)
- Secretary: Sayuri Kuriyama
EU songwriters unite against Greek govt-ran PRO
The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) has appealed to the European Commission to take action against the Greek government’s takeover of the national rights collection system.
ECSA submitted its complaint to the European Commission’s competition directorate general stating that creator colleagues in Greece are “being prevented from accessing performance income from their music”. The complaint is supported by the International Council of Creators of Music (CIAM).
In May 2018, Greek performance rights organisation, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AEPI), had its license revoked following a scandal involving unpaid royalties of €42 million and financial mismanagement by board members.
Rival, independent collection rights society Autodia attempted to fill the position in the wake of AEPI’s demise. However, the government took over the management of music rights, creating a new division of the Hellenic Copyright Organisation (HCO).
The government-run division falls within the collection society’s supervisory body itself, meaning that the organisation lacks any proper third-party regulation.
“Every music creator should affiliate with the collective management organisation of their choice”
ECSA complains that, under the current system, music creators are unable to join a collection society of their own choice. The organisation also claims the government’s “unlawful intervention in the marketplace” is preventing funds from reaching composers and songwriters worldwide.
In addition, the songwriter alliance claims the HCO unlawfully used over €2m in state funds to benefit the new division, violating EU state enterprise funding law.
“The current difficulties in Greece affect first and foremost Greek music authors but also all music creators,” says ECSA president, Alfons Karabuda.
“Europe’s music creators are the bedrock of a vital, diverse and important economic and cultural sector. They deserve an efficient management of their works and the protections of the law just as Greek taxpayers deserve to be confident their tax revenues are being applied in a sound, legitimate and transparent manner,” states Karabunda.
CIAM president Eddie Schwartz comments: “As creators we stand with our colleagues to ensure that going forward, creators have a sound and lawful administrative system in Greece on which they can rely for their livelihoods.
“Every music creator should affiliate with the collective management organisation (CMO) of their choice,” adds Schwartz. “No CMO should ever be prevented from responding to the needs of the creators they exist to protect. This is why we are objecting to the situation in Greece.”
Japanese music and sports bodies join forces
Japanese promoters’ association ACPC has joined forces with Japan Top League (JTL), an alliance of 12 leading sports leagues, to form the Entertainment Committee for Stadium · Arena (ECSA), a joint venture which aims to improve and develop Japan’s large-venue infrastructure.
ECSA, which launched on 21 February, will hold its first general meeting later this month.
Japan’s live music market recovered in 2017, growing 2.5% to reach a record high of ¥513.8bn (US$4.67bn) – largely as a result of the reopening of two arenas, Saitama Super Arena (37,000-cap.) in Tokyo and Yokohama Arena (17,000-cap.), the Live Entertainment White Paper 2018 revealed. However, the country is still considered to have a dearth of large venues, and ticket agency Ticket Pia is building its own 10,000-capacity venue, also in Yokohama, in response to what is calls the “venue shortage”.
According to ACPC (All-Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters Conference), ECSA aims to pool the two parties’ knowledge both to ensure existing venues are used effectively, and to stimulate the building of new properties.
ECSA will “accumulate mutual knowhow regarding the construction and management of stadia and arenas”
“With the increase of worldwide sporting events, including the  Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, not only are event styles and content at venues becoming more diverse, but [audiences] also have an expectation that stadiums/arenas, which are common facilities for both sports and music, will be improved in terms of their effective use,” according to a ACPC-JTL joint statement.
ATL members include the J League, Japan’s top-flight football league, equivalent to the Premier League or Serie A; Japan Rugby Top League; Hockey Japan; and X League, the top-level American football league.
“By accumulating mutual knowhow regarding the construction and management of stadia and arenas, ECSA considers and proposes [the improvement] of facilities loved by local communities,” continues the statement, “revitalising the value of their content and the local economies, thus contributing to the improvement of the nation’s quality of life.”
ACPC was instrumental in the recent passage of a law effectively criminalising for-profit ticket resale in Japan, on the pain of a one-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to ¥1m (US$8,900).