Royalties fees may up Karaoke Costs
HOLD on to your microphones.
In a move intended to protect composers and musicians, the Myanmar Music Association has announced plans to begin charging karaoke bars for copyright permision.
The basic premise will require bar owners to pay fees for the music they have recorded on their machines, says U Zaw Toe Aung, secretary of the association’s copyright affairs committee.
It is a marked shift from the current regulations, which only require operators to produce original CDs once a year as proof of purchase in order to renew a licence. The association collects K30,000 for the first year of a karaoke business, and K20,000 for subsequent renewals.
In practice, many in the karaoke industry use mp4 players to copy 30,000 to 40,000 songs onto their machines, working around CD requirements and shortchanging the artists people pay to pretend to be.
“We will abolish our outdated licensing law and practices at the end of this year to adopt an effective and updated system in the interest of everyone in the music industry,” U Zaw Too Aung.
Businesspeople who use music should consider the interests of all five groups concerned in creating the music, said U Ko Ko Lwin of Legacy Music Academy. In other countries, karaoke owners are allowed to use songs with the approval of copyright owners, but the association is adopting the system of sharing patent fees among composers, singers, musicians, producers and audio editors.
U Zaw Too Aung said karaoke owners bought original CDs less and less often, and instead copied songs onto the hard disk of the karaoke device. “Some businesspeople imported karaoke devices, then copied the songs without permission. An owner can buy a device for K300,000 or K400,000 that contains 20,000 songs, but the musicians don’t get the money. The investors get the money.
“The Myanmar Motion Picture Association, businesspeople, technicians and actors are now discussing stricter control. If an artwork is used as a ringtone, the users have to pay a fee. We don’t know how many times a song has been sung at the karaoke bar. We need technology that will show how many times a song has been sung and collect fees accordingly,” he said, adding that the association hopes to introduce the system next January.
Opinion among karaoke bar owners was mixed, with some apparently ready to pay fees to artists, and others who said the businesspeople selling the machines should be made to pay. One manager, who asked not to be named, said, “We’re following existing rules. Although our shop installed mp4 machines, we have to buy censored discs to produce when we apply for a licence renewal. If they change the rules, we will change our practice. We just want to provide a good service to the customers.”
Karaoke fan Ko Naing Naing said, “Customers are wondering if karaoke bar prices will rise if they have to pay patent fees. We already have to pay from K10,000 to K30,000 depending on the size of the bar. I’m afraid if they have to pay fees, the cost will be passed to the customer.”
Singer Phoe Kar, famous for his 2010 hit “Lan Khwal” and “Ta Saint Saint Kyi”, said, “They [bar owners] are making money from our songs. Singers have to live too.”
Karaoke singers may face a hike in prices as bars scramble to pay new royalty fees.