CISAC urges fairness in streaming compensation for creators

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has recently released its annual report for 2023, shedding light on the challenges faced by creators in the streaming space and the importance of fair compensation. With 227 societies from 118 countries and territories as members, CISAC remains a significant voice in advocating for the rights of authors and composers worldwide.

One of the key concerns highlighted by CISAC is the urgent need to address the issue of streaming-compensation fairness. The report suggests that without appropriate measures, we may risk losing future music legends, stating, “we will lose the next Paul McCartney” unless we make life fair for creators in the streaming industry and other domains.

Financially, the report reaffirms that global collections reached €9.6 billion in 2021, a slight improvement compared to the €9.32 billion recorded in 2020. However, this figure has yet to surpass the pre-pandemic milestone of €10 billion. The exact figures for 2022 collections will be revealed in CISAC’s forthcoming global collections report later this year.

The CISAC report also highlights major changes in the music market that are shaping the environment for creators and societies. The rise of digital services has transformed traditional streaming revenue flows and globalised content delivery. This shift has brought about significant challenges to the remuneration system, necessitating reforms and adaptations from societies. Additionally, power dynamics are changing due to the increasing dominance of digital platforms. Private equity firms control repertoires, record companies claim the lion’s share of digital income, and joint licensing hubs have altered the landscape of licensing in the market.

Moreover, the report points out the growing pressure on copyright and authors’ rights systems, particularly from the influential tech sector. Tech companies’ substantial lobbying power has amplified the need to protect copyright in the face of new digital challenges. The traditional Collective Management model also faces mounting pressure from commercial competitors and increasing government regulations.

In addition to these industry-wide changes, the relationship between CISAC members is evolving. Some entities are directly licensing their rights, reciprocal agreements are being renegotiated, and rights are being withdrawn. This dynamic shift has resulted in increased competition between established non-profits and emerging market entrants.

Technological advancements are also rapidly impacting societies, necessitating improved capabilities and investments in operational costs and tools. However, this “race to scale” and technological progress have led to a growing divide between large and small-scale societies, posing additional challenges for the collective management of authors’ rights.

Interestingly, the report highlights a changing balance of global revenues towards developing markets in Asia. Countries such as China and India are gaining importance in the music industry, representing opportunities for growth and new revenue streams.

The report showcases a successful collaboration between CISAC and the Indian society IPRS (Indian Performing Right Society). Since IPRS’s re-admission to CISAC membership in December 2018, CISAC has provided support through a developmental review program. This program has led to significant improvements, including a 525% increase in collections from €5.6 million to €35 million between 2018 and 2022. IPRS membership has doubled to 9,000 members, and the society has formed more representation agreements with foreign collective management organizations (CMOs). 

Additionally, IPRS has implemented new distribution practices, formed deals with TV broadcasters, and established monthly and quarterly distribution timetables. Despite these achievements, IPRS continues to face licensing challenges with major users, such as local streaming services, OTT players, broadcasters, and radio stations. CISAC remains committed to supporting IPRS in its lobbying efforts and opposing the extension of section 31D of the Indian Copyright Law to include digital services under statutory licensing provisions.

The CISAC report also sheds light on the issue of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement in various countries. CISAC directly contributed to the EU public consultation on this matter, expressing serious concerns over the state of copyright protection in several nations. The list includes countries such as South Africa, Kenya, China, India, Japan, Israel, Moldova, Ukraine, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. It highlights the need for stronger measures to safeguard creators’ rights in these jurisdictions.

The findings of the CISAC report underline the importance of creating a fair and sustainable ecosystem for creators in the digital age. As streaming platforms continue to dominate the music industry, it is crucial to ensure that artists and composers receive appropriate compensation for their work. The report urges societies to adapt and reform their remuneration systems to address the challenges posed by the digital market and shifting power dynamics.

Furthermore, the report emphasizes the need for continued collaboration and support between CISAC and its member societies. The success story of IPRS in India showcases the positive impact of the developmental review program. Through training, advice, and compliance with CISAC’s rules, IPRS has experienced significant growth and improved operations. The program has enabled IPRS to increase collections, expand its membership, and establish important partnerships, setting an example for other societies to follow.

In conclusion, the CISAC report for 2023 highlights the pressing need for fairness in streaming and protecting the rights of creators. It outlines the major changes and challenges faced by societies and the music industry at large. By addressing these issues, fostering collaboration, and advocating for stronger copyright protection, CISAC aims to create a more equitable and sustainable environment for artists, composers, and authors worldwide. 

Click here to read the full report.

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