by Peter Filleul

ESDA comes of age...

ESDA, the European Sound Directors Association was founded in Paris in 1996 and has now been established as an Eingetragener Verien - a legal entity under German law designed for Associations where members’ liability is limited to annual contribution. It is funded by subscriptions and sponsorship.

  • English seed
  • Planted in France
  • Cultivated in Holland
  • Now growing in Germany

MPG, the Music Producers’ Guild (formerly Re-Pro), the UK based producer and engineer organisation, convened the 1st meeting of about 40 European producer organisations at the AES Convention in Paris in 1996 and representatives from various countries met again at subsequent events over the next few years to discuss shared experiences, views and ambitions.

ESDA became a formal body based in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany in 1998 and is dedicated to supporting, protecting and developing the aims and interests of audio professionals throughout Europe.

Neighbouring Rights income and the Sound Director’s future

ESDA’s principal activity to date has been to co-ordinate the efforts of its member organisations to acquire participation for their members in revenues derived from so-called ‘Neighbouring Rights’ - performance income.

We are concerned that the rules which define the rights and remuneration of all those who contribute to sound recordings were set at a time when the recording process was totally different from the way recordings are made today. Consequently, existing rules and definitions are so archaic that they impose severe injustices upon talented and under-represented individuals who create the music which becomes the product of the industry.

Ongoing developments in digital technology mean that home and project studios can now offer (almost) the same flexibility and sound quality that was previously only available in top flight, expensive studios. But this new world of digital inspiration has also proved capable of undermining the very infrastructure of copyright and business systems upon which we have all come to rely.

ESDA believes that the profession it represents is the key to developing new infrastructures to respond to the new realities that sooner or later we will all have to confront. The sooner the music industry recognises the value of our role, the sooner we can work together to secure and protect the value of audio recordings no matter how they are distributed.

ESDA gets personal

For the first time since ESDA was formed, the member organisations have agreed to provide access to their individual membership lists. This means that broader ranges of benefits available across national borders can be offered to individuals, professional communications can be enhanced and a critical mass of like-minded individuals can be
created which means more effective representation.

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