A round-up of recent ESDA news and happenings around the world...
UK - MPG represent studio producers in UK Forums
The UK studio producers’ organisation the Music Producers’ Guild has continued to thrive under the direction of Chairman Andy East and their excellent Board.
In addition to the usual activities you might expect from a producer/engineer organisation, MPG has participated in a large number of UK music business initiatives and is now regarded as representing o profession that plays a key role in the overall UK music business.
PAMRA (Performing Artists’ Media Rights Association)
In 1997, the MPG, via its former parent organisation, the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services, became founder members of PAMRA, a performers collection and distribution society established to distribute performance income to UK performers under a new law which came into effect in December 1996. MPG’s association with PAMRA has enabled it to secure the support of other performer groups including the British Musicians’ Union to lobby PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd.), the UK company that collects license fee income from broadcasters acting as agent for the record companies.
Master Millar keeps flying the flag
The UK’s MPG has been very fortunate to have as its spokesperson producer and studio owner, Robin Millar. Robin has become greatly respected throughout the industry for his insights expressed in contributions to top level industry groups such as the Music Business Forum and the PPL Performer Forum. It is largely down to Robin that, at present, studio producers in the UK are able to make successful claims as ‘performing producers’ who have contributed to qualifying recordings provided certain criteria are met, There is a list of ‘proofs’ designed to verify that a producer was, in fact, involved on a recording which authorise an allocation of a standard ‘non-featured’ share (usually 3.5%) to the producer. In recordings where there are fewer than 5 contributors, that share can increase and, similarly, where there are many performers on a track the studio producer share is proportionately reduced.
(For more information, go to www.pamra.org.uk and look at the distribution rules) or to Performers’ Distribution Policy in the performer’s section of the PPL site- www.ppluk.com
The decision to pay UK studio producers has been acknowledged by all sides of the industry to the extent that it is likely that the combined weight of the UK Music Business will be putting pressure on overseas collection societies to follow their lead in recognizing the increasingly vital role that Studio producers play in the recording process.
All the way in the USA
The US engineer and producer community has been involved in the quest for performance income for some years. The NARAS Producer and Engineer Wing was founded from the Music Producers’ Guild of the Americas, established by Ed Cherney and a few of his friends with the help or the UK’s own MPG.
Now secure under the NARAS umbrella, the P&E Wing has grown in stature and currently provides a valuable focus for all US producers and sound engineers.
The fact that there is no right to performance income for sound recordings in the USA has prevented the P&E Wings from making much progress until recently when their new President, Neil Portnow, opened the public debate in the US’s trade magazine, Billboard. Portnow argued that US lagged behind other countries in not having a performance right, something that was making it impossible for US performers to benefit from hundreds millions of dollars in income from home and abroad.
US digital income collection organization Sound Exchange designated by the U.S. Copyright Office “to administer the collection and distribution of the statutory or compulsory license available to digital music service providers”, has introduced the notion of performance payments to US performers, albeit in a limited way.
However, Sound Exchange has taken the position of the studio producer very much on board. Featured artists receive 45% of the income Sound Exchange collects and they are able to instruct Sound Exchange as to who amongst those who made the recording should share in the revenue.
Go to the ‘I am a Recording Artist’ section at Sound Exchange and check out the sample share agreement letters.
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