RadioandMusic
| 21 Sep 2020
CISAC takes digital music market challenges to the UN

MUMBAI: In a special session organised by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) on 23 September at the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) annual General Assemble, the attendees were presented with evidence showing the scarcity of revenues from the use of music on streaming platforms. Also the policy-makers were urged to address the issue of the remuneration of creators in the digital age.

Speaking at the General Assembly of in Geneva, a group of creators led by CISAC President Jean Michel Jarre invited policy-makers to help build a fairer and more sustainable digital economy for creators. He pointed out that creators are at the centre of the digital economy and that developing sustainable business models with digital intermediaries will be essential to securing a fair share of the value chain generated by creative works. "We, as creators, are pro-technology. We embrace it and welcome the wider access to culture that digital devices and services afford the public, and the opportunity to reach wider audiences that technology affords creators. But we need business models that make sense to all parties," said Jarre.

During one of the panel discussions, Canadian singer/songwriter Eddie Schwartz stated, "The sales of one million records would at one time have paid me a modest middle class income and I would have received a Platinum Record. Looking at my digital royalty statements today, for one million streams I get $35. My middle class economic status has been reduced to a pizza! For the first time in history we have global platforms that can distribute creative content from virtually anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world," said Schwartz. "Thanks to the Internet, African, Latin and South American and Asian music creators have instantaneous and universal access to the same European and North American audiences and consumers that I as a Canadian songwriter have had access to over the course of my professional life. But ironically, of what value is this unprecedented access if the music is virtually worthless?" Schwartz added: "If the revenues do not flow back to creators, while the shareholders and CEOs of companies who deny the value of music enjoy literally billions in profits, surely something is terribly wrong."

Director General, CISAC, Gadi Oron commented on the event, saying, "For the first time, CISAC and its creators' community made the case loud and clear and explained the major challenges faced by creators today. We are all aware of the huge potential in the digital market for artistes from all corners of the world. But we need to guarantee that the benefits of digital technologies are shared with those who create the content. At a time when the international copyright system is under attack and against the backdrop of a strong push for exceptions to rights and a lower level of protection for creators, it is important that decision makers are made aware of market realities. They should use their power to ensure creators can continue to make a living from their work and that the digital market does not benefit only a few powerful online players."