WHAT I STAND FOR
I have been participating at PPL as an elected Performer Director representing PPL’s 90,000 performer members for the past six years. Throughout my tenure I have vigorously and passionately defended the interests of both featured and non-featured performers.
- By far the biggest issue is that a percentage of all streaming income should qualify for equitable remuneration thus ensuring that all performers get paid in the future. Following the report from the DCMS enquiry I will continue to campaign for government legislation or a negotiated settlement with the record companies to ensure that such a percentage is introduced on all income received from Spotify, YouTube, TikTok etc. (see below)
- PPL is owned by the record companies. If it is truly a joint CMO for record companies and performers it should be jointly owned by both 50/50.
- PPL collects for non-qualifying performers (mostly US and Australian performers) and distributes this performer money to the UK record companies. This is performer money and should be used for the benefit of performers not distributed to the record companies.
- Australia and New Zealand took a reservation on Article 15.1 of the WPPT (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty) which means that equitable remuneration for performers does not exist in those territories. The UK government through the IPO has therefore designated Australia as non-qualifying. This means that UK performers do not get paid when their music is played in Australia and New Zealand. Fellow PPL Performer Director Pete Thoms and myself started a campaign in March 2022 with the name GENUINE ARTICLE to persuade the Australian government to drop their reservation on Article 15.1 of the WPPT which would solve the problem. The campaign is based in Australia and is fast gaining traction. Australia’s new government are listening. Some Australian featured performers get an ex-gratia (from the goodness of our hearts) payment from Australian record companies but non-featured performers get nothing. If successful, this will ensure that Australian performers get paid when their music is played in the UK and it will create a new income stream for UK featured and non-featured performers.
- PPL collects over £10M of dubbing income each year. Dubbing licenses are required when PPL licensees copy recordings for broadcast or for public performance. In law, ER is not payable on dubbing income so all the money goes to the record company. My argument is that without performers there would be no dubbing income. Dubbing income in some other territories is shared with performers and I am investigating to see if there could be an industry agreement to share the money in the UK. It is morally unacceptable that this money is not shared with performers when it is their creativity that has created it.
- I will continue to be actively involved in maximising international income for PPL performers. I have worked closely with PPL head of International Laurence Oxenbury to help achieve this, particularly in developing countries. When I first attended PPL Board Meetings as a Performer Director in 2016 PPL international performer collections for 2015 were £31.7M. In 2021 they were over £86M.
- Songwriters get public performance income via PRS and other CMOs when music is played in films in cinemas, used in advertising or when it is library music. Under current law and licensing remits, performers do not get paid for any of these uses. This has to change.
- Performers on audio recordings receive equitable remuneration (ER) but audio-visual performers don’t. That’s why there are no performer representatives on PPL’s sister organisation VPL. I will campaign for the UK Government to legislate that ER is payable to audio-visual performers when they bring the BTAP (Beijing Treaty for Audiovisual Performances) in to UK law.
- The PPL Board consists of 6 performer representative Directors, 8 record company representative Directors, one PPL Director and Lord Chris Smith consultant Director. If PPL is based on a 50/50 ER split the board should reflect that with equal representation of performers and record companies.
- AGM voting is only open to record companies and not performers. Even then, voting is weighted by market share, so the three major record companies have complete control. This needs to change.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
The digital revolution is creating sweeping changes to performer rights There has never been more urgency to make a stand to assert performer rights in the face of this sea change.
YOUR EQUITABLE REMUNERATION INCOME IS UNDER THREAT
One of the most pressing issues is to establish exactly what interactive means in the context of music delivery. In other words when does a performer’s unwaivable right to equitable remuneration apply and when does it not apply.
At the moment real-time broadcasting and public performance music delivery is regarded as ‘linear’ in the UK and therefore the ER right applies for both featured (the principal performers contracted to a record company) and non-featured performers (session musicians engaged to enhance a recording). The wonderful thing about ER is that it is UNWAIVABLE in contract. If a third party includes a clause in a contract saying that you must pay over your ER to them it would be ILLEGAL.
STREAMING v RADIO
Whether a track is regarded as linear or non-linear depends on whether a right called the ‘making available right’ applies. The making available right is defined as ‘the right to authorise the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, of any performance fixed in a phonogram, in such a way that members of the public may access the fixed performance from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.’ In other words, if a member of the public can access a recording at a time and place of their choosing (as they would by selecting a track on Spotify or YouTube) the making available right applies and it is regarded as ‘interactive’ or ‘non-linear’. If the member of the public has no control over what they are listening to (as is the case with radio or public performance of music whilst in a shop, club, football stadium etc) then it is regarded as ‘non-interactive’ or ‘linear’.
PPL DOES NOT COLLECT PERFORMER INCOME WHEN MUSIC IS DELIVERED BY APPLE MUSIC, I-TUNES, SPOTIFY, YOUTUBE, DEEZER, TIKTOK ETC
If the making available right is deemed to apply then the record company will license directly to services such as Spotify or YouTube. PPL is not involved as PPL only collects performer money that is linear (except in certain circumstances such as catch-up broadcasting via services such as iPlayer). Featured Performers and particularly Non-Featured Performers both loose out if the making available right applies. For Featured Performers income from Spotify and YouTube etc will be credited to their royalty account depending on what royalty rate the recording agreement stipulates. The percentage credited is usually in the region of 15-25% depending on the age of the contract. The vast majority of featured artists signed to record companies are un-recouped so whilst their royalty account will be credited, they will effectively be paid nothing. For non-featured performers it is even worse as they will be paid nothing anyway and never will be if the making available right applies.
PUSH v PULL ON STREAMING SERVICES
If a member of the public selects a track on Spotify or YouTube and listens to it, the making available right clearly applies and the delivery is ‘non-linear’. We call this ‘Pull’ as the listener is pulling a track from the service. But what happens if after listening to the track the service sends more tracks down the pipe which it thinks the listener might like? We call those tracks ‘Push’ as the service is pushing them at the listener without the listener asking for them. The big question is ‘Does the making available right apply to the Push tracks or are they linear like radio?’ I say they are like radio and therefore all performers on the push tracks should be paid ER. I asked Dr Mihaly Fischor, who was the main architect of the WIPO Internet Treaties and who invented the making available right back in 1996. He agreed with me that the push tracks should be regarded as linear. This is because the listener did not access the push tracks at a time and place individually chosen by them.
IF ELECTED I WILL CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR THESE PUSH TRACKS TO BE CLASSIFIED AS LINEAR WHICH WOULD MEAN THAT THEY WILL QUALIFY FOR EQUITABLE REMUNERATION
We all know that radio listening is on the decline particularly among the younger generation, most of whom go straight to YouTube, TikTok, Spotify, Apple Music or podcasts to listen to music. Podcasts are also eating into the radio listening habits of the older generations. If this trend continues, and sadly it almost certainly will, performers will see their PPL income going down and down. When the equitable remuneration percentages were set at 50% for record companies and 50% for performers, this was not in UK law. It was an industry agreement. I am demanding that there should be another industry agreement regarding streaming and that a percentage of all streaming should qualify for ER and be payable via PPL.
Please vote for me and give me your support
I will not let you down.