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Live royalties growth surpasses radio/TV in 2018

Music collections grew almost 2% in 2018, generating €8.5 billion, with the growth of live/background music royalties surpassing that of frontrunner TV/radio.

The most recent figures released by Cisac, the association that represents global copyright collection societies, show the traditional revenue streams of TV, radio, live and background music – that played in restaurants, bars and clubs – “continue to be the backbone of royalties collections”, despite the “mass migration to digital channels” in recent years.

In Cisac’s Global Collections Report 2019, which documents overall royalties collected in the areas of music, audiovisual, visual arts, drama and literature, the association’s director general, Gadi Oron, puts “comparatively modest” growth down to the “devaluing effect of the exceptionally strong euro”.

Revenue from live and background music combined has grown 0.8% from 2017 to €2.6bn, while TV and radio has seen a decline of 3.1%, generating €3.3bn.

In conjunction with TV/radio’s decline, live/background royalty collections surpass that of broadcast in Italy and Chile. Live and background royalties reach €322 million in Italy (-0.9% year-on-year) and CLP10,960m, or €13.43m, in Chile (+8.4% YOY).

“The large traditional revenue streams continue to be the backbone of royalties collections”

Europe remains the largest region for collections, generating over 50% of global music revenues. According to the report, the live music sector “continues to grow healthily across Europe, with strong demand for concerts and festivals.” Live/background collections lead the way in Europe, rising 1.4% in 2018 to €1.7bn, and by 11% over the past five years.

Live collections are also up in Asia-Pacific by 3.1% to €306m and 2.2% in Canada/USA to €345m. Elsewhere, royalties are down -0.9% in Africa (17m) and 9.5% to €194m in Latin America and the Caribbean, where live music still remains the leading source of collections.

Digital is where Cisac president Jean-Michael Jarre sees the “future”, with increasing subscription revenues driving growth of 185% over the past five years.

“More than ever, societies are working in a landscape of fragmenting income sources,” writes Oron. “This calls for more versatility: protecting the large traditional collections streams of live, background and broadcast, while striking new deals to monetise creators’ works on YouTube, Facebook and other digital platforms. The role of authors’ societies in generating monetary value for millions of creators has never been more vital.”

 


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PRS for Music relaunches Major Live Concert Service

UK performance rights organisation (PRO) PRS for Music has announced the launch of its upgraded Major Live Concert Service under the new brand MLCS™ by PRS.

MLCS™ by PRS is an online tool that shows local tariffs across global territories.  The aim of the service is to aid arena and stadium-level PRS members performing overseas to negotiate “full and fair royalty settlements”.

The tool offers a pre-tour royalty calculation service, details of headliner and support splits in each country – allowing for accurate forecasts of royalty streams throughout the tour – and provides a post-tour royalty reconciliation feature.

Upgrades to the service include fixed payment terms and further reduced administration fees, as well as a range of new technological solutions and streamlines processes.

Special administrative rates have been implemented for the MLCS™ programme, including local rates of 8.5% in some key territories. PRS for Music now charges an administration fee of £125 per set-list per event for members using the service.

“We acknowledge representing the world’s top talent comes with expectations, and we need to be in a position to offer a service that meets those requirements”

The PRO also states it is working on eradicating “promoter kickbacks” in some territories, and that it provides “full transparency to artists on all aspects of the royalty collection and distribution process” as part of the service.

“We acknowledge representing the world’s top talent comes with expectations, and we need to be in a position to offer a service that meets those requirements to be given the privilege of continuing to collect their concert royalties,” states Sami Valkonen, director of international, PRS for Music.

“We’ve taken on board feedback from several of our key member representatives and are committed to making MLCS™ a proposition that further solidifies PRS as the go-to provider of major concert tour copyright management.”

In 2018, £21 million was collected across 60 countries on behalf of nearly 200 PRS for Music members via the service. The tool was used for Ed Sheeran’s record-breaking ÷ tour and world tours by Bruno Mars, Rogers Waters, U2 and the Rolling Stones.

 


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PRS for Music reports record music royalties

UK performance rights organisation (PRO) PRS for Music has announced it collected a record £746 million on behalf of its members in 2018, a 4.4% increase from the previous year.

Overall costs for the company rose from £86.2m in 2017 to £93.8m in 2018. The company says the rise is due to investment costs related to the launch of the PPL PRS Ltd joint venture, which serves as a one-stop shop for public performance licensing in the UK.

The company also distributed a slightly lower £603.6m to its songwriter, composer and music publisher members. The company attributes the 0.2% reduction in distributions on “processing delays at our joint venture partners”.

The body collected royalties from 11.2 trillion music performances, including streaming, downloads, radio and TV plays, in addition to live music events.

According to PRS, live revenues are up 13% to £39.9m, boosted by big British festivals and high-profile UK tours. The PRO now receives 4% of the ticket price for live concerts and other music events – festivals excluded – following the implementation of a new live performance tariff in June 2018.

“The way in which we all consume music has changed dramatically over this period, but the popularity of UK music endures; long may it continue”

International collections continue to prove the most profitable revenue stream, bringing in £280.6m in 2018, a 9.1% increase from the year before. Income from digital services also saw a boost, growing by 17% to £145.7m.

However, PRS collections from broadcasters including the BBC, Sky and Global Radio were down 5.1% to £127.7m.

“Royalties from international digital continue to underpin our growth, areas in which we have invested systematically over the past ten years,” says PRS chief executive, Robert Ashcroft.

“The way in which we all consume music has changed dramatically over this period, switching from ownership to access, but the popularity of UK music endures; long may it continue,” adds Ashcroft, who steps down from his role at the end of the year.

Ashcroft also commends the recently passed European Copyright Directive, which he calls “the most significant change in copyright law in nearly twenty years”. The directive compels online content sharing service providers, such as social networking sites and YouTube, to combat the sharing of copyrighted works and seek licenses from the music industry to host their content.

In relation to the passage of the Copyright Directive, Ashcroft has discussed the possibility of receiving royalty revenue from online gaming platforms. A virtual Marshmello concert hosted in popular free-to-play game Fortnite was “attended” by ten million people earlier this year and Weezer used the game to premier their new album Black last month.

 


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Global live royalties up 8.5% YoY in 2015

Global royalty payments for public performance rights grew 9.1% to €6.8 billion last year, accounting for 78.8% of all collections, Cisac’s 2016 annual report has revealed.

As in 2014, TV and radio made up the biggest chunk of those collections, with over half (53.7%) of all performing rights-royalties generated from traditional broadcast, although live had another strong year, growing 8.5% to maintain its position as the second-largest source in revenue in music.

The biggest growth for live and ‘background’ music (such at that played in nightclubs, bars restaurants) was in Africa (33.2% on a fixed-currency basis) and Latin America (20.2%).

Total royalty collections for all sectors in 2015 totalled more than €8.6bn, up 8.9% from 2014.

The biggest growth for live music was in Africa and Latin America

“Cisac members’ collections in 2015 experienced unprecedented growth of close to 9% year-on-year and, for the first time, broke the €8bn mark,” comments Cisac director-general Gadi Oron (pictured). “This is testament to the continued development of the global collective management network and the increased efforts of our members on improving their operations, adjusting their licensing solutions and responding to market demands.

“The strong growth experienced in all regions of the world in which Cisac members are active is particularly encouraging. It reflects the grassroots work undertaken in many countries by Cisac and its members to promote favourable laws, support societies’ operations and further improve their services to affiliated creators and publishers.”

Cisac (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) represents 239 collection societies and performing rights organisations in 123 countries.

 


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Sabam reveals details of 2017 tariff increases

Belgian performing rights organisation (PRO) Sabam has revealed full details of its much-criticised increases in festival and concert tariffs, scheduled for 1 January 2017.

The news Sabam (Société d’Auteurs Belge/Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij) was to increase rates was greeted with dismay by Belgian festival promoters when announced in August, with Rock Werchter/TW Clasic promoter Herman Schueremans saying the PRO would “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

In addition to increasing tariffs across the board, Sabam will as of 1 January include sponsorship and subsidies in festivals’ revenues, “when these revenues are clearly related to the event”.

The new tariffs are as follows (the numbers being total revenue in euros and the “2016” and “2017” columns showing the increase in fees):

Festivals

Sabam 2017 tariffs, festivals

Concerts

Sabam 2017 tariffs, concerts
Despite the Belgian industry’s misgivings, Sabam insists the new rates should have a “very limited” impact on individual events.

 


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The complexities of direct licensing

My initial thoughts in regard to direct licensing were What a good idea! But looking into it and working out the mechanics casts a rather different light on the matter.

At face value, the prospect looks simple: an artist, who writes their own material, serves notice on the PRS to exclude the works on their set list. This could be for any number of songs and territories. The artist then directly licenses the concert to the promoter of the day. Seems easy enough, but being involved at a detailed level in the process, I quickly realised how much more complex it was in practice. Additionally, applying this to festivals fragments the process even further, with multiple bands over multiple stages where most will be licensed through the usual established channels.

Direct licensing encounters so many questions and ‘What ifs.’ Firstly, the set list needs to be disclosed in order to exclude the titles, or a subset of songs that might cover all sets in all dates in territories. (The artists I worked with did not want to disclose tour dates ahead of their announcement to their fan base, nor did they wish to disclose their intended set list). A writer’s music publisher needs to reassign their publisher’s share as well, however in some cases, publishing agreements actually stipulate any writer reassignment reverts to them and not back to the writer, so a further step has to happen to allow a writer to directly license.

Then you have questions like: What if there is an outstanding advance with the publisher? Who is going to make the royalty calculations back to them? Will they even want to participate in the process? What is the local performance royalty rate applied in each territory and will a discount apply? What is the main versus support split? What does pro rata really mean? What if the support acts do not want to directly license? What if they cannot (or would not be released to do so)? What if the artist wants to perform a cover? (Exclusion needs to be total and not partial, and who is going to tell them they can’t?) What if the artist wants to change their set list during the tour?

Once on the road, it is too late to change documentation, since the process to directly license is a legal one that is governed by a writer’s society membership agreement.

“Promoters need to earn their crust, much like any of us – but this really needs to happen with less opacity and this effective tax, of either artist or writer/publisher, needs to stop”

I work closely with the management of a major touring artist (who writes their own songs). Having worked with the PRS to ‘audit’ past tours and now the current tour, we can see the varied picture of the real-time licensing in territories around the world. Interestingly, the industry debate so far seems to have focused very much on the copyright societies, whereas sights should be set on the promoter and then the local societies.

Not all promoters fall into the same boat, but let’s not forget: the live performance income flow starts with them. The promoter licenses the show and pays the local society. It is a promoter that receives the discount on the tariff applied to the relevant show box office. Why do some not disclose these discounts to the artist? Why is it that some are still allocating full published tariffs in a settlement, knowing full well that the local society will license to them at a reduced tariff? Why are some under-declaring box office figures to local societies – thus reducing payments to local societies/writers/publishers?

There should not be an issue with promoters receiving a discounted tariff as long as this is declared to the artist and the correct box office figures declared to the local society.

Promoters need to earn their crust, much like any of us – but this really needs to happen with less opacity and this effective tax (of either artist or writer/publisher) needs to stop.

What can we do to mitigate these issues? We need to reinforce the marketplace with greater transparency, with all parties engaging in this process. Riders need to include the requirement that any discounts applied must be passed through to the artist. Promoters should supply invoices received from the local society to the artists’ managements, in this way there can be certainty that the correct box office figure and % tariff has been applied. Territory rates need to be shared between societies and their memberships. Box office settlement information needs to be shared with the PRS to give them the data they need to reconcile. There needs to be a more cohesive working relationship in this area between artists’ managements, promoters, publishers and societies to create much better efficiencies.

 


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Dismissal sought for “meritless” Bernstein suit

The Beatles’ lawyers have moved to quash a lawsuit by the estate of promoter Sid Bernstein asserting its ownership of footage from the band’s famed 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, arguing Bernstein had next to no input in filming the show and “never asserted any claim of authorship or copyright ownership in the film of the concert” before his death in 2013.

In a new filing in the Southern District Court of New York, Michael A. Kolcun, of law film Robins Kaplan, calls the suit “frivolous” and “entirely meritless” and says Bernstein “had no control over or input into the filming of the concert or in the production of the resulting film, The Beatles at Shea Stadium”, which was first shown in 1967.

The original complaint, by Sid Bernstein Presents, claims Bernstein retained the copyright to the the footage, despite The Beatles’ film-distribution company, Subafilms – with Apple Corps, one of two defendants in the case – obtaining a copyright registration in 1988.

“This case is an entirely meritless attempt by the corporate successor of the promoter of The Beatles’ celebrated concert at Shea Stadium, Sid Bernstein, to claim over fifty years after the fact that Bernstein was somehow an author and copyright owner of the film of that concert,” reads Robins Kaplan’s statement. “This is in spite of the following facts:

“The plaintiff has brought an utterly frivolous claim for rights Bernstein never had. The complaint should be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice”

“First, Bernstein’s contract with The Beatles’ management company, Nems Enterprises Ltd (the predecessor-in-interest of defendants Apple and Subafilms), explicitly provided that: ‘[Bernstein] agrees to exclude from the premises and particularly from the immediate vicinity of the stage and the backstage areas all TV cameras, and/or photographers with motion-picture cameras and/or tape recorders unless specifically authorised by [Nems] […] [Nems] shall have the sole and exclusive right to photograph, film, videotape and/or record the performance of THE BEATLES and the entire supporting show during this engagement and any receipts derived therefrom shall belong exclusively to [Nems].

“Second, plaintiff admits that Bernstein had no control over or input into the filming of the concert or in the production of the resulting film, The Beatles at Shea Stadium.

“Finally, plaintiff admits that Bernstein, throughout the nearly fifty years after the Shea Stadium concert until his death in 2013, never asserted any claim of authorship or copyright ownership in the film of the concert – which first aired nationally in 1967 – despite the consistent, notorious and exclusive claims of ownership by Nems, Apple and Subafilms, all of which excluded Bernstein from any receipts from their various exploitations of the film.

“As a matter of simple contract law, copyright law and the application of the statute of limitations, plaintiff – claiming to have received a general grant of Bernstein’s intellectual property rights – has brought an utterly frivolous claim for rights Bernstein never had. The complaint should be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.”

A response to the motion to dismiss the case, from judge George B. Daniels, is due by 2 November.

 


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Aus/NZ live royalties up—but govt support lacking

Collection society APRA AMCOS, which represents over 87,000 members in Australia and New Zealand, paid out more than A$70 million in public performance royalties in the 2015–2016 financial year.

A significant minority of the money – 6.8% more than in 2014–15 – was collected from the ~142,000 business licensed by the organisation to host live music, and well exceeds the global benchmark of growth of 3.8%, as illustrated in CISAC’s 2016 annual report. Media licensing (digital, recorded, broadcast and other licences), from television networks, video-on-demand services, streaming services, radio stations, etc., makes up 78.75% of the revenue pool and also showed marked growth.

“Our international revenue figures reflect the continuing extraordinary success of Australian and New Zealand music around the world,” comments APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society) CEO Brett Cottle AM.

“It continues to aggravate, surprise and disappoint that governments on both sides of the Tasman fail to treat music as a commercial art form worthy of support”

“Over the past three years, export revenue has increased by 75% to more than $38m. This figure, of course, only represents the writer share of performing rights, and when publisher shares along with mechanical and synch rights are factored in, the value of songs to both countries’ export incomes is clearly significant and growing. During this time Australian and New Zealand songwriters have created some of the most performed music on the planet: Lorde, Gotye, Sia, Flume, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Troye Sivan and a generation of writers who see their audience and market in global, rather than local, terms.

“And yet it continues to aggravate, surprise and disappoint that governments on both sides of the Tasman fail to treat music as a commercial art form worthy of support or investment at a level that is reasonable and proportionate to other creative art forms. Even the most modest programs – delivering obvious and major benefits – such as Sounds Australia [the export office which recently lost its public funding] and the Live Music Office, have come under short-sighted and ill-informed threat. It’s long past time that governments and their advisors woke up and listened to the music.”

 


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Aus promoter fined $500k for unpaid royaltiesaustral

John Denison, the promoter of Australia’s short-lived Soulfest, has been ordered by a Sydney court to pay almost half a million dollars in damages to Australian collection society APRA AMCOS.

Denison, whose now-defunct company Soulfest International Pty Ltd was behind the hip hop, funk and R&B festival, was deemed by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to have committed “flagrant infringement” of the Copyright Act 1968 and ordered to pay APRA AMCOS (the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society) A$437,000 – roughly US$335,957 – in compensatory and additional damages and $70,000 ($53,819) in legal costs.

The ruling brings to an end a protracted case against Denison by APRA AMCOS, which claimed the promoter failed to secure proper live performances licences for Soulfest, Supafest and “other tours and events”.

Richard Mallett, head of revenue at APRA AMCOS, comments: “Judge [Alexander] Street made a number of important comments about the importance of APRA AMCOS, and that the evidence demonstrated that APRA AMCOS was willing to deal with this promoter even with all the difficulties he posed.

“Venues, caterers and artists are able to withhold their services – but songwriters’ work cannot be withheld ‘after the fact'”

“He said that it is to APRA AMCOS’s credit that it made so many genuine attempts to license the events so that it could promote live music while still protecting its membership, and it was pleasing to note he also acknowledged APRA AMCOS’s essential role in promoting live music performances in Australia.”

“We maintain APRA AMCOS’s members are among the most vulnerable service providers when it comes to promoters like this. Venues, caterers and artists are able to withhold their services – but songwriters’ work cannot be withheld ‘after the fact’. Their only recourse is to trust in the courts, and their membership to APRA AMCOS, to protect their rights.”

Denison, who did not appear in court, now promotes tours with his new venture, iLive Entertainment.

Soulfest ran for one year, in 2014, with its planned 2015 event cancelled at the eleventh hour due to poor ticket sales. Urban music festival Supafest took place in 2010, 2011 and 2012, reportedly running up debts of $17m and dogged by allegations of non-payment of performers.

 


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Live royalties hit record high in Canada

Canadian live performance royalties grew to a record high in 2015 in what David Wood, chief financial officer of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), called “another remarkable year” for the collection society.

According to SOCAN’s 2015 financial report (entitled Step Ahead), ‘general and concert revenue’ increased 4.9% to C$39.6 million last year (up from $37.7m in 2014), demonstrating the “continuing popularity for live music in Canada”.

‘Traditional’ (television and radio), international, internet/streaming and satellite radio revenues also saw strong growth, propelling SOCAN’s total revenue to $307.8m – the first time it has topped the $300m mark.

Concert revenues increased 4.9% to $39.6 million last year, up from $37.7m in 2014

Concert revenues were fifth-largest overall, behind those from cable TV, radio, international affiliated collection societies and terrestrial TV.

Total royalty payments to SOCAN’s members grew 14.7% to $276.2m.

Wood (pictured) says the results highlight “SOCAN’s position as the one of the top music rights organisations in the world. It demonstrates our strength at licensing the performing right, as well as our continued focus on efficient expense management to ensure that more royalties are provided to tens of thousands of Canadian songwriters, composers and music publishers and the millions of rights-holders we represent in Canada via agreements with 105 societies in 213 countries.”

 


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