How Mu­sic Can Boost Our GDP

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By

Toni Ni­cholas user through a “pay for play” or “pay for down­load” sys­tem. If there is no sys­tem of pay­ment in place, then the mu­sic, this in­tan­gi­ble com­mod­ity, is be­ing stolen.

The value of mu­sic and the im­por­tance to economies like ours is clearly il­lus­trated in the re­cently re­leased “CISAC Global Col­lec­tions Re­port 2015”. CISAC - the In­ter­na­tional Con­fed­er­a­tion of So­ci­eties of Au­thors and Com­posers - was founded in Paris, France in 1926.

The re­port shows that the to­tal roy­al­ties col­lected in 2013 on be­half of cre­ators world­wide re­mained con­stant at 7.8bn Eu­ros with Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean 6.6% of that to­tal, which is up by 16.9%.

“In 2013, CISAC mem­ber so­ci­eties proved once again the im­por­tance of col­lec­tive man­age­ment of rights for cre­ators around the world. De­spite chal­leng­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions in many mar­kets, to­tal roy­al­ties col­lected by CISAC mem­bers re­mained sta­ble,” Gadi Oron, direc­tor gen­eral of CISAC, said. “Per­form­ing rights col­lec­tions grew 2.4%, break­ing the 6bn Eu­ros mark for the first time.”

In­ter­est­ingly, the re­port re­vealed that in the area of “Col­lec­tions per head of pop­u­la­tion,” Saint Lu­cia ranked 37 in the world, 11 places be­low the USA. The re­port also lists the coun­tries where roy­al­ties are re­flected in the GDP, with De­mark top­ping the list with just over 0.05%. Saint Lu­cia is ranked at 14 (three places be­low the UK) with roy­al­ties col­lec­tion form­ing 0.03% of the is­land’s GDP. The United States did not reg­is­ter, rank­ing be­low world av­er­age. The USA and Canada com­bined is at 0.009% of GDP.

While this spells good news for Saint Lu­cia, the head of ECCO (the or­ga­ni­za­tion which rep­re­sents the is­land’s roy­al­ties col­lec­tion) says we still have a long way to go.

“While we con­tinue to punch above our weight and out­per­form a vast num­ber of de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in the world in terms of col­lec­tions and aware­ness, we con­tinue to op­er­ate in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment where there is a high level of non­com­pli­ance. This puts a heavy strain on op­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture which is also wors­ened by the high cost of do­ing busi­ness in the OECS,” Gen­eral Manager of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Steve Eti­enne says.

In 2013 ECCO col­lec­tions rose to just over EC$1mil­lion. Of that amount EC$600,000 or 60% was spent on ad­min­is­tra­tive and op­er­at­ing costs. Of the re­main­der just over 10% was paid out to “lo­cal” ECCO mem­bers while the bal­ance had to be re­mit­ted to in­ter­na­tional so­ci­eties. In­ter­est­ingly too, gov­ern­ment benefits tremen­dously from ECCO’s col­lec­tions, first by way of the with­hold­ing tax on the earn­ings of mem­bers and on the VAT on col­lec­tions of rev­enue.

The Eastern Caribbean Col­lec­tive Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mu­sic Rights Inc. (ECCO) is a not-for-profit so­ci­ety of writ­ers and pub­lish­ers of mu­sic. Through re­cip­ro­cal agree­ments with Col­lec­tive Man­age­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tions (CMOs) through­out the world (also called ‘so­ci­eties’), ECCO rep­re­sents and can li­cense vir­tu­ally the whole world­wide reper­toire of copy­right mu­sic for public per­for­mance, broad­cast, ca­ble trans­mis­sion, on­line and mo­bile use.

And while the im­bal­ance of pay­ment has stirred a de­bate here for an in­crease in airplay for lo­cal mu­sic which some claim may re­dound to an in­crease in roy­al­ties for lo­cal cre­ators, Eti­enne says ECCO can­not front any ad­vo­cacy for such, as it rep­re­sents song­writ­ers and com­posers glob­ally.

“What I would say to our song­writ­ers and com­posers and by ex­ten­sion the per­form­ers, is to make mu­sic that is mar­ketable around the world and to seek op­por­tu­ni­ties for your works be­yond just ra­dio airplay,” Eti­enne says. He pointed to the grow­ing trend in the on­line stream­ing of mu­sic and on­line ra­dio which puts the mu­sic in the hands of mil­lions all over the world in­stantly.

The CISAC re­port also points to op­por­tu­ni­ties in the dig­i­tal mar­ket, cap­tur­ing the global trends. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, sixty mil­lion peo­ple world­wide are now us­ing Spo­tify a “pay for play” com­mer­cial mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice that pro­vides dig­i­tal rights man­age­ment. There was also growth in the “live” mu­sic mar­ket as well as dig­i­tal TV and ra­dio ad­ver­tis­ing, desk­top in­ter­net and smartphones.

“In the same way that grow­ing in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion brings new op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­tent, grow­ing pen­e­tra­tion of smartphones makes it eas­ier for cre­ators to reach new au­di­ences,” the re­ports says.

In or­der for cre­ators - com­posers, writ­ers as well as pub­lish­ers and per­form­ers - to gain a greater share of that pie, then all con­cerned must see the big­ger pic­ture. And that in­cludes the av­er­age user at home, gov­ern­ment and com­mer­cial en­ti­ties and pro­mot­ers. The laws gov­ern­ing copy­right must not only be strength­ened but greater power must be given to those whose busi­ness it is to en­act and en­force such. The way for­ward now is for greater dia­logue and sen­si­ti­za­tion on the sub­ject which, in the end, if ap­proached cor­rectly, can of­fer an ad­di­tional stream of rev­enue to ail­ing economies like ours.

To down­load the CISAC re­port go to: http://www.cisac. org/News­room/News-Re­leases/ CISAC-Re­leases-2015-Glob­alCol­lec­tions-Re­port

There are real op­por­tu­ni­ties in the cre­ation of mu­sic,

not just for the cre­ators but for the coun­try as a whole which stands to ben­e­fit both in­tel­lec­tu­ally and

fi­nan­cially.

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