JAMMS hails for­ma­tion of event pro­mot­ers as­so­ci­a­tion

2019 - 2020 record year for agency

Jamaica Gleaner - - AVENUE ● E - Yas­mine Peru/Se­nior Gleaner Writer yas­mine.peru@glean­erjm.com

ON SUN­DAY, a cross sec­tion of en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try stake­hold­ers, many of them event pro­mot­ers, con­vened a meet­ing with the aim of forg­ing a uni­fied front in chart­ing a way for­ward in these COVID times, and also to strate­gise on how to re­gain vi­a­bil­ity for the sec­tor which has been dev­as­tated by the re­stric­tions im­posed due to the pan­demic. Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) for the Ja­maica Mu­sic So­ci­ety (JAMMS), Evon Mullings, is hail­ing this as a pos­i­tive move which will serve to fos­ter an even health­ier and more vi­able en­ter­tain­ment ecosys­tem for all.

He told The Gleaner that over 20,000 en­ter­tain­ment events are staged is­land­wide each year by hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent pro­mot­ers; how­ever, there ex­isted no for­mal body which rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of this vi­tal sec­tion of the en­ter­tain­ment land­scape. “We have long felt the need for an event pro­mot­ers as­so­ci­a­tion, be­cause through our role as a na­tional li­cens­ing body, our en­gage­ment with as­so­ci­a­tions re­sults in sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter out­comes for all par­ties con­cerned,” Mullings said. He ex­plained that as a close con­tact with events pro­mot­ers on a year-round ba­sis, JAMMS is fa­mil­iar with the wider set of is­sues that have chal­lenged the group and the en­ter­tain­ment fra­ter­nity in gen­eral. He said, “It is im­por­tant for their sake that they have a body and struc­ture that can serve to ad­vo­cate, lobby and rep­re­sent in a mean­ing­ful way their is­sues, in par­tic­u­lar, with government level au­thor­i­ties.”

Mullings added, “We are pre­pared to give our full and prac­ti­cal sup­port to na­tional and sec­toral ini­tia­tives aimed at bring­ing the en­ter­tain­ment scene back to life, un­der the planned phased ap­proaches.”

ROLE OF JAMMS

A col­lect­ing so­ci­ety and li­cens­ing agency, the role of JAMMS is to man­age the broad­cast­ing and pub­lic per­for­mance rights of its mem­ber. It in­volves the grant­ing of li­cences to mu­sic users, in­clud­ing party or­gan­is­ers and show pro­mot­ers, for which a fee is col­lected. With the in­dus­try shut down for the last three months, and a ban placed on per­mits for en­ter­tain­ment events, JAMMS, how­ever, has so far re­mained in a vi­able po­si­tion. “We have been able to re­main strong, as, over the years, we have sig­nif­i­cantly widened our range in re­spect of li­cens­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, be­yond events, and so we still have rev­enues in­flows,” Mullings said.

Ac­cord­ing to the CEO, the col­lec­tions agency ended the fi­nan­cial year in April 2020 with strong re­sults. “In fact, 2019 lead­ing into 2020 was a record year for our in­come growth and as a re­sult we were able to carry out a third roy­alty dis­tri­bu­tion to our mem­bers in April 2020, on top of our usual two dis­tri­bu­tions made in July 2019 and De­cem­ber 2019,” he said.

Mullings is as­sur­ing the agency’s sev­eral hun­dred mem­bers that de­spite the ad­verse im­pact on over­all in­come JAMMS will be able to con­tinue mak­ing its usual roy­alty dis­tri­bu­tions dur­ing the year. “What we must high­light, how­ever, is that with in­comes from li­cence fees still slow­ing down, and our pro­jec­tions re­vised down­wards, our roy­alty dis­tri­bu­tions will be im­pacted. In short, while we will con­tinue to carry out our usual roy­alty dis­tri­bu­tions the dis­tributable amounts will be lower, at least for the fore­see­able pe­ri­ods ahead,” he said.

CON­CES­SIONS TO EVENT PRO­MOT­ERS

But that, he said, doesn’t mean that the in­come gap caused by dried-up flow of per­mit fees from events has not dealt a mean­ing­ful blow to JAMMS’ over­all in­come. “Each year, there are over 20,000 events held in Ja­maica, most of which re­quire a copy­right per­mit from JAMMS. De­spite our still sound fi­nan­cial foot­ing, we are nev­er­the­less con­cerned about the pe­ri­ods ahead. We have had to make down­ward ad­just­ments to our rev­enue pro­jec­tions, from not only the events mar­ket but also for rev­enues flows from other sec­tors, which in­vari­ably will feel a pass-through ef­fect from the gen­eral slow­down in eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties,” Mullings out­lined.

Mullings stated that the pro­tracted un­cer­tainty means that JAMMS has had to be cur­tail­ing costs and ad­just­ing rev­enue pro­jec­tions down­wards.

“One of our im­me­di­ate re­sponses has been to craft a pol­icy that will en­able us to be a prac­ti­cal and mean­ing­ful part­ner to the mu­sic-user com­mu­nity, which ul­ti­mately is the source of the rev­enues which we pay to mem­bers as roy­al­ties. In the first in­stance, we will be able to pro­vide some con­ces­sions to event pro­mot­ers, by way of per­mit fee dis­counts, so as to en­cour­age and fa­cil­i­tate the re-emer­gence of the en­ter­tain­ment scene. De­ferred pay­ment and pay­ment ar­range­ments for multi-year li­censees such as clubs, res­tau­rants and bars, are also be­ing fa­cil­i­tated. Sup­pli­ers of goods and ser­vices, across the board, may have to do the same so as to help re­build the sec­tor into one of vi­a­bil­ity as it comes back on stream in phases,” he said.

Mullings con­cluded that his com­pany views mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment as op­er­at­ing in a vir­tu­ous cir­cle and there­fore “we are ex­tremely mind­ful of the health and vi­a­bil­ity of the en­ter­tain­ment ecosys­tem. We want to sup­port and fa­cil­i­tate as best as pos­si­ble be­cause if the busi­nesses do not do well, we will not do well.”

MULLINGS

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