Roy­al­ties fees may up Karaoke Costs

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - KHIN WINE PHYU PHYU

khin­wine­phyu­phyu@myan­mar­times. com.mm

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.”

Photo: Aung Khant

Karaoke singers may face a hike in prices as bars scram­ble to pay new roy­alty fees.

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