Founded in 2018, the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) brings together Music Managers Forums in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK. Collectively, the individual members of our organisations oversee the commercial interests of tens of thousands of artists, songwriters, producers and DJs throughout Europe.
Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, most artists and their managers have lost around 80% of their income in the past year. The live music industry has been devastated. In this environment, paid or ticketed livestreaming has emerged to be a lifeline and one of the few ways artists and crew can earn from music performance.
We are therefore calling today on all collecting societies across Europe to recognise this situation, and to fully consult with artist representatives when setting new licensing rates for livestreams – especially during the pandemic.
According to a report published by MIDiA in January 2021 (Virtual Concerts: A New Video Format) “from June to November 2020, the share of livestreamed concert listings on [concert discovery site] Bandsintown grew from 1.9% to 40.7%, while the total ticketed revenue in December was up 292% from June.”
As representatives of music managers across Europe we support the growth of this format and want to see all those involved remunerated from this activity. Similar to ‘in-person’ live events, we believe a percentage of gross ticket sales from online shows should be paid to Performing Rights Organisations (PROs) so that songwriters can be fairly compensated.
However the actions of certain PROs and major music publishers are threatening the viability of ticketed livestreams across Europe. Rather than licensing these events along similar dynamics to an “in person” show, they have determined – without consultation – that they are more akin to a digital stream, and therefore liable to a much higher audio digital rate.
The estimated size of these payments is so high that it would make the majority of livestreams unviable. As most artists taking part in livestreams are paid on the basis of profit shares – rather than minimum guarantees – these increased songwriter payments would come directly from their share of ticket sales after production costs are covered.
During the pandemic when live music at full capacity is not legally permitted, we call on all of Europe’s collecting societies to apply their standard live tarrif to ticketed live streamed events. We urge them to start a full consultation with the whole industry (including artists and their representatives) to find an equitable solution that will protect the livelihoods of songwriters and artists while ensuring this valuable new format can develop and thrive.
Per Kviman, Chair, EMMA:
“Everyone wants live shows to return as soon as it’s safe for audiences to come back. In the meantime, livestreaming has provided one of the few alternatives for artists to perform before an audience, build a fanbase, and generate revenues through ticket sales.
EMMA is urging PROs across Europe to be sensitive to these facts, and that the imposition of any new licensing tariffs should involve full and open consultation – including with artists and their representatives. Get the balance right, and we could nurture a vibrant new format that complements live events and provides artists and songwriters with a valuable source of revenue. But set licensing rates too high, and the costs of producing livestream shows simply won’t stack up.”