Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Covid-19 to ‘wipe out’ five years of songwriter royalties growth | Music Ally

Good morning! It’s us again, bringing you a whopping serving of bad news. Well, there are positive things in global collecting societies body Cisac’s latest annual report too, for last year, but the organisation makes it abundantly clear that the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on musicians is far from just a 2020 thing.

Start with the good: global music collections grew by 8.4% to €8.96bn ($10.52bn) in 2019. Within that, there were healthy rises for collections from digital sources (up 27.2% to €2.05bn) but also growth from the traditional heavyweights of TV and radio (up 4.5% to €3.32bn) and live and background (up 5.6% to €2.62bn).

Global music collections have grown by 24.7% over the past five years, but Cisac warned that this trend is “certain to be sharply reversed in 2020” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In its announcement of the report, the organisation doubled down on this: “The losses of 2020 – for music only and for all repertoires combined – are set to wipe out five years of growth since 2015.”

Addressing total collections of all kinds (Cisac’s members also collect for audiovisual, literary, dramatic and visual arts creators, but music is nearly 89% of the total) its director general Gadi Oron said that for 2020 “early forecasts indicate that total collections will fall between 20% and 35%… massive losses of up to €3.5bn in royalties for creators”.

Bearing in mind the timescales of collecting societies, losses in collections in 2020 will mean reduced payouts in 2021 for songwriters, with no clarity yet in many countries when the live and public performance sectors will revive next year. And as Cisac president Björn Ulvaeus put it in his introduction to the report: “The greatest harm will be to the younger, less established creators and those in less developed markets.”

The report does offer some optimism, rounding up efforts by collecting societies around the world to help their members survive the crisis. Ulvaeus, meanwhile, shone the spotlight back onto politicians. “This is not just for emergency funds, however welcome those have been. Policymakers also need to tackle the problems in front of them: the deep flaws that have skewed the playing field for creators for many years.”

Stuart Dredge


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