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ECSA fights standardized European music royalties

updated 12:45 pm EDT, Thu July 3, 2008

European music royalties

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance has come out against proposed changes to how online music royalties are collected, writes the Associated Press. The conflict stems from an ongoing investigation by the European Commission, aimed at addressing antitrust concerns relating to the lack of Europe-wide royalty schemes. The Commission notes that currently, national copyright agencies have effective monopolies in their respective regions; there is also a need to negotiate as many as 27 separate royalty schemes for an album, something which may be hampering the spread of European music.

The scheme also creates obstacles for companies like Apple, which has had to spawn separate iTunes Stores for each country in the European Union, even though all prices are in Euros.

The ECSA, however, is arguing that the Commission's suggested collective-rights system could actually result is less money being paid to artists, even as it would become easier to distribute records. Harmonization could also force many small- and medium-sized businesses out of the market, the ECSA says. This view has the backing of a number of celebrity members, including Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler.

by MacNN Staff



  1. repi8

    Joined: Dec 1969


    big boys' scam

    The royalties situation in EU resembles a feudal system in which big guys collect their "taxes" through small dominions in an absurdly fractionated market. The situation enables small national distributors to make a living by selling big names and it limits small indie labels and authors from getting a larger share of the overall market, protecting the big guys. Yes, collective-rights system would drive these small national resellers out of business, but it would enable small artist to gain larger exposure. By its stance ECSA is not representing interests of those that create work, but rather those that leach on authors by reselling their work in tightly controlled and closed national monopolies. And it is doing it in a way that is highly frustrating to the end consumers. It goes completely agains any principle of free and open market that EU is supposed to create within its member states.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    how in the world?

    Harmonization could also force many small- and medium-sized businesses out of the market, the ECSA says.

    Wouldn't some people actually think this would help smaller businesses, as it would be cheaper and easier to deal with all of Europe, as they wouldn't need to muster up money making these individual deals?

    Or are these businesses that could be affected the 'small national resellers' reepi8 is talking about?

    And, of course, the 'celebrity' members are backing this, because their groups are the ones more likely to sell in all those countries, and are 'must haves' on any music store, so are more likely to lose some money (poor Mark, he's just barely getting by, I know). I guess someone should ask the small artists who can't get sold because the cost is too high.

  1. repi8

    Joined: Dec 1969


    poor small businesses ...

    In each country there has to be a company that resells the music, the rights to use it, and collect royalties from broadcasting and other uses. Once music can be bought bypassing them, they will be "forced out of the market". If reselling and collecting royalties is the only business they have, good riddance! I do believe that while driving such resellers out of business, a unified market and more direct access to music (bypassing resellers) would enable "smaller" authors to gain better exposure. And it would enable consumers to gain access to music that is now impossible to get (at least legally), because there is either no iTunes store, or the local store does not carry the authors you are interested in, as they are not high-profile enough for the local reseller to carry.

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