As the ongoing safe harbours debate continues the International Artist Organisation (IAO) the umbrella organisation which includes the Featured Artist Coalition, this morning published a letter sent on behalf of its members to the European Commission,
The letter lends support to the wider music industry’s campaign regarding the ‘value gap’, but stresses that the need to equitably share the value of digital music beyond YouTube pay out to labels.
In the letter IAO and FAC CEO Paul Pacifico contested: “It is difficult to argue against the value gap and the headline figures are stark. Usage on YouTube is indeed vast and in terms of functionality it is all too close to services which pay up to ten times more. [And] in spite of the unique promotional opportunities given by YouTube as a platform, the proportion of commercial content usage on YouTube is difficult to reconcile against the proportion of revenue that usage delivers back to artists”.
Pacifico continued: “It is interesting to observe the labels now making very similar demands from YouTube that artists have been asking of all stakeholders in the digital market. When we have made our demands previously, the majors have consistently stated that care must be taken here not to allow the legislative process to be hijacked as a proxy for commercial negotiations between counterparties”.
Cutting to the chase Pacifico stated: “However, with digital, we have entered into a world of value-share business models as opposed to the buy-sell world of physical retailing and this requires a level of trust that has changed the dynamic in the market and that needs legislative help to build. If we are sharing the value we collectively generate then neither platforms nor labels should be able to use contractual gymnastics to remove value from the table and deny the stakeholders further down the value chain their fair and legitimate share from the use of their works”.
Independent label organisation IMPALA’s Executive Chair Helen Smith welcomed the letter stating: “Europe’s parliamentarians recognise the true value of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors and see that there is a problem when so many works are being accessed on certain platforms while so little money is returning to creators. This is especially true in music. While music is available everywhere and listened to more than ever before, a lot of the value never finds its way back to artists and those investing in creation. The reason is simple: some online services actively distributing music are under-licensed or not licensed at all”.
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