Cisac expels controversial Spanish member
The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (Cisac) has voted to expel Spanish society SGAE for a one-year period, following the society’s failure to convince the body of its “commitment to reform”.
The decision to expel SGAE, known as the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, was made at Cisac’s annual assembly in Tokyo. The expulsion follows Cisac’s resolution to undertake a sanctions process against SGAE in December, “in view of the society’s breaches of Cisac rules”.
The expulsion is set to last for one year but “can be adjusted or lifted at any time”, provided that the Cisac board of directors concludes that SGAE has made sufficient progress towards implementing its requirements. Cisac recommended a series of changes to its rogue Spanish member following an in-depth investigation which concluded in May last year.
“Today’s vote to proceed with the sanction of a one-year expulsion follows an in-depth analysis of recent reforms set in motion by SGAE’s new President, Ms Pilar Jurado,” reads a Cisac statement.
“Further important technical work and changes are needed and expected by CISAC to ensure SGAE’s compliance with the Confederation’s professional rules”
“While a number of welcome changes have been proposed, they have not yet been approved by the SGAE General Assembly. Further important technical work and changes are needed and expected by CISAC to ensure SGAE’s compliance with the Confederation’s professional rules for member societies.”
SGAE appointed Spanish soprano singer Pilar Jurado as president in February following a vote of no confidence against former chief José Ángel Hevia, who held the position for just three months.
Jurado states that “Cisac is giving SGAE the opportunity to decide its own future”, and called on members to support her proposed reforms in the General Assembly in order for the society “to leave this situation behind us”.
Earlier this week, minister of culture José Guirao demanded SGAE produce a detailed outline of the steps it would take to comply with regulations. Failure to do so would result in intervention from the court.
SGAE has been at the centre of a scandal known as the wheel, or ‘la rueda’, for a number of years. The scam, which saw SGAE members and TV execs create “low-quality music” to broadcast on late-night TV, allegedly brought in several millions in performance royalties over the years.
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Industry orgs welcome music investment package in Oz
Music industry associations across Australia have spoken out in favour of the government’s decision to dedicate a A$30.9 million (US$22m) funding package in its latest federal budget.
The Australian Music Industry Package has set aside $22.5m (US$16m) in funding to provide $10,000 grants for Australian small businesses, assisting them in hosting more live music events.
A further $4.8m is dedicated to new mentoring programmes to encourage greater representation of women and indigenous (Aborigines/Torres Strait Islanders) artists, and $2m will be used to boost touring opportunities. National music export development initiative Sounds Australia will receive $1.6m to help its expansion into Asian markets.
The government will also invest $3.4m in specialist music education programmes.
“Australia’s local music industry is one of our most important cultural exports, contributing up to $6 billion to our economy each year,” comments minister for communication and the arts, Mitch Fifield.
“This investment is about removing roadblocks for Australian musicians and boosting their profile in a competitive global market.”
“This investment is about removing roadblocks for Australian musicians and boosting their profile in a competitive global market”
The budget allocation has been lauded by industry organisations including the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS), Sounds Australia and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN).
“The Morrison government has recognised that Australia is a music nation. Of all the art forms Australians engage with, music is by far the most popular,” says APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston.
“This package will be a boon for the pipeline of talent coming from across the nation and now exporting to the world. We applaud this diverse and multi-layered approach to support one of Australia’s great flagship industries,” adds Ormston.
Ormston also commends the government for taking into account the recommendations made by the House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts following an inquiry into the Australian music industry.
The committee advised the government to increase investment in live music and touring, facilitate the expansion of Sound Australia’s music export programme and develop music education.
Sound Australia posted on social media, saying: “We welcome today’s announcement by senator Mitch Fifield on a funding boost for Sounds Australia. We’ve seen firsthand the increasing appetite for Australian music internationally and we are thrilled to be expanding our reach into Asia and other important emerging markets to help find new audiences for Australian artists and music businesses.”
“We are disappointed that the government has not done more to leverage the significant economic and cultural value of all live performance or the creative industries more broadly”
AMIN simply called the funding “great news” for the music industry.
However, representatives from other creative industries, specifically the wider live performance sector, have criticised the government for not meeting their needs.
“We are disappointed that the government has not done more to leverage the significant economic and cultural value of all live performance or the creative industries more broadly,” says Live Performance Australia (LPA) chief executive Evelyn Richardson.
“Live performance promotes Australian talent and creativity across a range of genres and is a major driver of our visitor and night time economy, attracting visitors from interstate and overseas,” adds Richardson.
“In the context of a vote buying budget, this is clear statement that arts and culture are not seen as ballot box issues,” comments Shelagh Magadza, executive director of the chamber of arts and culture (Western Australia).
“With the exception of the Contemporary Music fund, there is nothing that provides a meaningful boost for the sector based on a longer term vision,” says Magadza.
Pearle* outlines EU live performance priorities
Live industry body Pearle* has released a publication listing priorities for EU policymakers to tackle between 2019 and 2024.
The document, entitled On the European Stage, calls on European politicians to support culture and help the live performance sector to thrive, defining four action areas as the priority for EU policymakers.
Pearle* urges politicians to create a stimulating environment for live events, put culture and education at the heart of the European project, end administrative burdens for touring companies and artists, and provide solutions for employment and social challenges in the live sector.
“We urgently need an environment where cultural cooperation can thrive in Europe”
“We urgently need forward-looking initiatives and an environment where cultural cooperation can thrive in Europe,” says Anita Debaere, director at Pearle*/ Live Performance Europe.
“This implies simplified rules, lighter regimes and less administration when touring and special provisions to maximise the potential of the live performance sector,” says the Pearle* director.
Pearle* has previously spoken out against plans to increase the cost of short-stay visas for the EU.