Monday, April 27, 2020

Global, regional and local initiatives related to the Covid-19 crisis

This is a weekly update by Emmanuel Legrand of global, regional and local initiatives related to the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on the creative sector. 


> Culture ministers agree to an action plan under the aegis of UNESCO 
More than 140 culture ministers have agreed to a series of recommendations to implement in the wake of the coronavirus crisis to support the cultural sector. Gathered by UNESCO on April 22, the ministers have backed a global strategy to help culture and the creative sector survive and recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. 
  These include measures to:
  1) Protect the health and safety of the cultural and creative sector. This has been done through the application of precautionary measures such as the cancellation of events.
  2) Guarantee the welfare of artists through: a) Government emergency funding/ creation and distribution of special creative funds; b) Interest free loans, Tax breaks/relief, cost reduction measures, debt moratorium, extended payment plans; c) Promotion of cultural appreciation and education through classes, seminars, investment in online library and museum etc; d) Provision of online tools to aid artists in creating, producing and sharing their works online; e) Carrying out of Surveys / creation of cultural archives (audio recordings, visual arts, writings etc) to help acquire first-hand knowledge of the need of each cultural sector and provide targeted aids.
  3) Assure the recovery of the cultural sector through: a) Setting aside a budget/financial plan to initiate planned kick-off strategies immediately after the lockdown; b) Monitoring the impact of rolled out measures; c) Constantly designing and creating exit strategies; d) Documenting socio cultural transformations currently taking place. Cultural archives were created to provide an insight into current changes and on what to do in the future (e.g Indonesia); e) Legalise/define the professional status of authors to give them immunity to the future crisis and improve their economic status.
  During the gathering, Ministers of Culture highlighted the vital importance of culture in this period. “We need culture, so we need to help it to sustain this shock. We must assess the impact of the crisis, launch a joint reflection and coordinated initiatives. UNESCO fully intends to play its role in this process, in line with its mandate,” said UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

> ICMP calls for urgent action for music publishers
The International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), the global body representing music publishers, has sent letters to governments around the world, urging them to implement programmes to support a sector which is "behind just about every piece of music you have heard."
  Signed by ICMP Director General John Phelan, the letter describes music publishers as being in their majority small and medium-sized companies, with also thousands of sole traders. These professionals — together with their songwriter and composer partners — "bring more than 62 million musical works, of all genres, to the world."
  The letter — available in German, Spanish, English, French and Italian — continues: "Many industries are weathering commercial hardship and uncertainty now. What differentiates ours is that it has been among the first to be harmed and will be among the last to feel the crisis’ impact. This is because from Boston to Beijing and everywhere in between, across almost all forms of music usage, our companies often receive remuneration long after the use. Concerts, film productions, contracts, tours, sales, broadcasts, licenses are being cancelled now on an unprecedented scale."
  The consequence of this situation, writes Phelan, is that publishers will face "profound commercial harm deep into 2021, even with the swiftest of recoveries," with a first phase survey and analysis of the global commercial data being "deeply alarming."
  The letter then urges governments to agree to a series of undertaking that include:
  1. Eligibility for all music publishing companies, full-time and self-employed individual professional music publishers, to national public sector COVID19 financial relief programmes and future actions. For ICMP, this can include corporate grants, tax credit schemes, rent/rates holidays, interest free loans, etc.
  2. Sustainability. The music sector needs sustained support — in national budgets, public and private investment schemes and sponsorship programs. An increase in public sector financial support "is badly needed to help the future of existing and start-up music companies operating in a marketplace which has gone from difficult to perilous."
  3. Proactivity. Where international or multinational programs are possible (e.g. the ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative’ for the EU27), push for their launch and application to the sector.
  4. Information: The provision of centralised, practical, concise information about such programs on either governmental or COVID19 specific websites.
  Concludes Phelan: "This vast problem hits individuals. Our response must be collective - combining culture and commerce. That citizens worldwide have reflexively turned to music in this crisis speaks volumes about the vital need to sustain the sector’s future. Music will be crucial to recovery as it supports the hospitality, retail, creative, tourism and leisure industries, contributing enormously to the overall economy.
  "I thank you for the resolve demonstrated by your government so far and invite joint cooperation to ensure we all emerge stronger. ICMP and our national association are available at any moment to input expertise, participate in initiatives, follow up with data...whatever is needed."

> Coalition urges governments to support the book industry
On the occasion of World Book Day and Copyright Day 2020, the International Authors Forum (IAF), theInternational Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), alongside, theInternational Publishers Association (IPA), the International Association of STM Publishers (STM) and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), have urged governments all over the world "to recognise, support and celebrate the importance of books, learning solutions, and professional and scholarly content by adopting economic stimulus packages to sustain their respective publishing sectors and the value chains that surround them."
  The organisations said these actions "become specially necessary given the current COVID19 crisis."
  Jean-Luc Treutenaere, Co-President of EIBF; John Degen, Chair of IAF; Yngve Slettholm, President of IFRRO; Hugo Setzer, President of IPA; and Ian Moss, CEO of STM, wrote: "Economies are shutting down and nobody knows for sure when we’ll return to normal, or even if that’s possible. The impact on the world’s creative industries, including the book sector, has been devastating. In many countries, our industry is already struggling for oxygen. We must find ways to ensure the future for authors, publishers, editors, designers, distributors, booksellers and those who work in collective management, so that the book industry can bounce back once this pandemic is conquered."
  They conclude: "A world without new books would be a sad and impoverished place. We are working hard to come through this crisis, but we need help to survive. We need governments to help us get through it together."

> Culture 2030 Goal want culture to be at the heart of the response to the C-19 crisis
Cultural organisations from around the world have stated that "culture should be at the heart of the response" to the Covid-19 pandemic and "the need to rebuild our societies tomorrow."
  In s statement under the banner of Culture 2030 Goal, signatories claimed that "artists, creators and culture professionals, as well as organisations in the culture sector, have a fundamental role in promoting well-being and resilience in individuals and communities, guarantee access to information, encourage awareness, tolerance and build the capacities to imagine the societies of the future, which are already in formation due to the ongoing global upheaval."
  Thinking about the future, signatories outlined that "responses to this pandemic should aim to be inclusive and look at a broader framework of inequality and challenges to sustainable development, including climate change and disaster risk reduction."
  To ensure that these issues get addressed, the signatories called for governments and all other decision-makers, to adopt the following programme:
• Act today to support cultural communities, sectors, actors and agents where they are facing negative impacts from the pandemic, in order to ensure that they can survive the crisis, and are able to play their part in the recovery tomorrow.
• Design and give access to mechanisms that strengthen cultural communities’ capacity and to access and make use of the digital sphere sustainably and in suitable conditions.
• Ensure that appropriate flexibilities in laws, regulations and funding programmes are used in order to facilitate and support the work of cultural actors and the safeguarding of cultural heritage resources where this would otherwise be made impossible by the loss of revenue sources that guaranteed community livelihoods, notably tourism.
• Ensure the long-term integration of culture across government action at all levels, everywhere, both as an end in itself and as an enabling factor in successful sustainable development, leaving no one and no place behind.
• Place welfare, solidarity and sustainability at the centre of short-term and long-term cultural policies, programmes and projects, as well as making international cooperation, including cultural cooperation, central in the building of more resilient communities.
• Reinforce the protection of the cultural rights of all in national and local legislation, in particular through cultural programmes aiming at education, active participation, critical citizenship, gender equality and the empowerment of indigenous peoples.
• Incorporate culture explicitly into the plans, instruments and reporting mechanisms around the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to be elaborated in the coming months and years, and especially for the High-Level Political Forum foreseen for July 2020.
  In conclusion, the Culture 2030 Goal movement called on the culture constituencies to come together to advocate collectively for the role of culture at the United Nations. Together, we can not only strengthen the messages of this statement, but also highlight the importance of integrating culture into implementation of the overall 2030 Agenda."
  The document was signed by Culture Action EuropeICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and SitesIFCCD - International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural DiversityIFLA - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsIMC - International Music Council,Latin American Network of Arts for Social Transformation, and Agenda 21 for Culture.


Congress adds $484bn to a relief package
US Congress has passed a bill to add $310 billion to theSmall Business Administration’s COVID-19 loan program, including $50bn for loans for economic disaster aid, out of a relief package of $484bn.
  Following the CARES Act a couple of weeks ago, the additional funding was welcomed by artist rights and music companies, in particular the funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The action was described in a joint statement by industry organisations as "an important next step to ensure the program has funds to reach all Americans who need it."
  The organisations added: “Musicians, songwriters, and composers have had their ability to work upended by the pandemic. Because they often act as independent contractors and sole proprietors, traditional unemployment benefits fail to provide financial relief. That’s why it remains essential that the PPP make independent contractors and sole proprietors fully eligible for loans and loan forgiveness including accounting for lost wages and insurance costs during the eligibility period."
  They added, “Because time is of the essence in addressing this crisis, there has been understandable confusion about where to get a PPP loan, how to apply, and shifting guidance concerning necessary paperwork. States are also offering conflicting guidance about eligibility for new unemployment benefits provided in the CARES Act. In some states, updated application forms are still not yet widely available, and there are misunderstandings about the duration of eligibility for unemployment and the calculation of benefits."
  The music coalition includes such organisations as the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), Global Music Rights (GMR), the Music Artists Coalition (MAC), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), the Songwriters of North America (SONA), among others.

> Film industry hardship funds top $1bn
The Motion Picture Association has disclosed that its members and parent companies have contributed to the tune of over one billion dollars to various relief funds to provide direct aid to studio employees, as well as to industry partners and unions "to ensure a strong workforce is ready to return to work as soon as possible." The MPA said studios Netflix and NBCUniversal have established hardship funds of $150 million each, while studio parent companies, including Comcast (Universal Pictures), Sony Corporation (Sony Pictures), ViacomCBS (Paramount), and WarnerMedia (Warner Bros.), have established hundreds of millions of dollars in relief funds.
  To support workers in the film and TV industry, hardship funds have also been set up by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesActors’ Equity Association,Directors Guild FoundationEntertainment Industry Foundation,International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Cinematographers GuildNational Association of Theatre Owners/Motion Picture Pioneers FoundationPOVProducers Guild of America, and SAG-AFTRA, among others.

> Sony/ATV donates $500,000 to NSAI and SONA
Sony/ATV Music Publishing
 has donated $500,000 to two organisations representing songwriters, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and Songwriters of North America (SONA). The two organisations will split the sum and use the funds for grant-like disbursement for struggling songwriters.
  The initiative was the result of discussions between Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt  and Bart Herbison and Michelle Lewis, executive directors of NSAI and SONA, respectively, about the need for assistance to working songwriters.
  “NSAI and SONA intend to reach out to other companies within and outside of the music industry, artists and individuals to also make contributions. Many American songwriters can sorely use the help right now,” said the Herbison and Lewis in a joint statement.

> AAP, AG and ABA call for the public to support bookstores
On World Book Day (April 23), Maria Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP); Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of The Authors Guild (AG); and Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) have launched a call for the public to support local bookstores. They wrote: "After a decade of recovery and growth that affirmed the importance of reading, writing, and publishing, bookstores are suddenly facing a moment of monumental crisis at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some instances, these beloved institutions, which mean so much to so many communities, face the very real possibility that they will never open their doors again. We cannot let this happen because we need bookstores now more than ever. We are therefore asking for your help to save these best of places. Please visit your community bookstores online or find them at"

Spotify adds more partners to its COVID-19 Music Relief project

Spotify has reported that it has added eight new partners to its Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project. This brings a total of 11 groups worldwide who back the music streaming services' initiative, which was started with MusiCares (US), PRS Foundation (UK), and Help Musicians (UK).
  New partners include: Centre National de la Musique (France), Deutsche Orchester-Stiftung (Germany), Initiative Musik (Germany), Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund (Ireland), Musikerforbundet (Sweden), Support Act (Australia), União Brasileira de Compositores (Brazil), Unison Benevolent Fund (Canada).
  Spotify will make a donation to each of these organisations and will match donations made via the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page dollar-for-dollar up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million. 

  In addition, Spotify for Artists has launched a new feature, the Artist Fundraising Pick, allowing artists who chose to do so to highlight on their profile a fundraising destination through which they can raise money to support themselves, their bands, or their crews, to get the word out to their fans on their Spotify artist profiles. Initial fundraising partners include Cash AppGoFundMe, and
  Spotify for Artists users that submit their “$cashtag” username as their Artist Fundraising Pick — and secure at least one contribution of any size through Spotify — will receive an extra $100 in their account from Cash App, until a collective total of $1 million has been contributed. This Cash App funding is available to artists in the US and UK, but Spotify listeners can make contributions to the artists they want to support via Cash App anywhere in the world


> EU Member States and the Commission agree to a de-confinement roadmap
The European Commission and the Members of the European Council have outlined a roadmap to get Europe’s "societies and economies back to a normal functioning and to sustainable growth, integrating inter alia the green transition and the digital transformation, and drawing all lessons from the crisis."
  The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel, said the plan responds to the European Council Members’ "call for an exit strategy that is coordinated with Member States and that will prepare the ground for a comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment."
  The roadmap is designed to be a common framework for EU members but the timing and specific modalities will differ between Member States.The recommendations include:
  1. Action will be gradual, as measures will be lifted in different steps and sufficient time should be left between the steps (e.g. one month), as the effect of their lifting can only be measured over time.
  2. General measures should progressively be replaced by targeted ones. This would allow societies to gradually go back to normality, while continuing to protect the EU population from the virus. There will be in particular a "phased approach" for the opening of EU's internal and external borders. External border reopening and access of non-EU residents to the EU should happen in a second stage.
  3. Safeguarding social distancing measures taken by EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries requires continued review of the need for restricting non-essential travel to the EU.15
  4. The re-start of the economic activity should be phased in, thus ensuring that authorities and businesses can adequately adjust to increasing activities in a safe way.
  5. Gatherings of people should be progressively permitted. The Commission suggested that when reflecting on the most appropriate sequencing, Member States should focus on the specificities of different categories of activity, such as:
  a) Schools and universities (with specific measures such as different lunch times, enhanced cleaning, smaller classrooms, increased reliance on e-learning, etc.);
  b) Commercial activity (retail) with possible gradation (e.g. maximum number of people allowed, etc.);
  c) Social activity measures (restaurants, cafes, etc.), with possible gradation (restricted opening hours, maximum number of people allowed, etc.);
  d) Mass gatherings (e.g. festivals, concerts, etc.).
  The latter suggests that the business of live entertainment at risk since it is likely to be the last one to be re-opening. Pollstar magazine noted that as of now, most European governments have banned large events until Aug. 31, "effectively killing the summer festival season" and September events have started to cancel as well.
  "There is a need to strategically plan the recovery that is mindful of citizens’ needs, in which the economy needs to pick up pace and get back on a path of sustainable growth, integrating the twin green and digital transition and drawing all lessons from the current crisis for the EU’s preparedness and resilience," wrote the Commission.
  It added: "Even though the way back to normality will be very long, it is also clear that the extraordinary confinement measures cannot last indefinitely. There is a need for a continuous assessment on whether they are still proportionate as our knowledge of the virus and the disease evolves."


> Music organisations ask French government for more answers about live events
A coalition of 22 organisations from the music and live entertainment sectors have asked in a letter sent to Minister of Culture Franck Riester to "specify as soon as possible the objective criteria allowing to determine which festivals could possibly take place, under which conditions, and from what date."
  Although French President Emmanuel Macron announced the cancellation of major festivals and "events with a large audience at least until mid-July," Riester said in a radio interview that “small festivals” could be held from May 11, date of the start of France's de-confinement.
  The organisations request from Riester "clarity" and "objective and realistic criteria" to determine under which conditions live events could take place. Signatories of the letter include FedelimaFérarockSMA and Zone Franche.
  In addition, France's Syndicat des musiques actuelles (SMA), which regroups independent music structures, has urged the government to clarify the situation with regards to venues and other locations used by music artists. The organisation claimed that since the start of containment and the various announcements from the Government, the 430 companies that are members of the SMA, "have been plunged into the unknown" as the context "calls into question the very existence of their projects, which in essence are based on openness to the public and the link to populations."
  Lamenting that "our questions unfortunately remain unanswered" the SMA asked: "When can we reopen the doors of concert halls and other venues? For what type(s) of activity? Under what conditions ? When can tours resume? Will festivals take place or, if there is a blank year in 2020, will they have the resources to reappear in 2021? What about the albums released just before the start of containment? What about the resumption of activity in training centers? What about radio broadcasting? Will we simply still exist in a few months?"
  SMA asked for answers and also for relief through "monetary and non-monetary forms."

> SACD launches emergency fund
France's rights society for the film and drama repertoire SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques), with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, has set up a €500,000 emergency fund dedicated to authors of theater, humor, staging, dramatico-musical work, stage music, choreography, circus and street performing arts. SACD said the fund is "adapted to the reality of their situation and the irregularity of their income."
  To be eligible authors will have to be French residents and justify for a loss of net copyright revenue of 50% in March and April 2020 compared to the monthly average of their revenue for the year 2019. Authors will be able to receive aid of up to €1,500 providing they have been unable to benefit from the Solidarity Fund for Enterprises and Self-Employed, or from a partial unemployment measure (except if it is less than €1,500).
  The aid will not be able to be cumulated with the emergency fund created by the SACD with the support of the CNC for the audiovisual, cinema, animation and web authors.

> Visual artists face cancellation of postponement of events and commissions

The economic situation of visual artists in France has been affected by the cancellation of events or projects that were scheduled to take place during the confinement period, according to a survey from CIPAC, the Federation of Contemporary Art Professionals, which regroups organisations displaying or promoting visual arts in France. Over 50% of visual arts projects have been postponed, while 95% of the exhibitions have been cancelled or postponed. A third of projects cancelled or postponed included remuneration for artists exceeding €2,000. Some 58% of the the budgets of the events cancelled or postponed were under €5,000, 19% between €5-10, and 23% over 10,000 €. 


> IMRO, IMRA and FMC set up a fund
The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), theIrish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and First Music Contact (FMC) have set up a fund to support Irish music creators. The fund has been created to assist Irish music creators who are currently experiencing the most financial need. It is open to songwriters, composers, performers, session musicians and arrangers.
  Successful applicants will receive a once-off emergency relief payment to the value of €750. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of music industry professionals from a wide spectrum of industry sectors and organisations.
  FMC will administer the fund, which has received, in addition to the financial contributions by IMRO and IRMA, a donation from Spotify. The streaming service is also matching donations made to the Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund via its Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page, dollar-for-dollar, up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million for the collective verified organisations worldwide. The fund can also be supported by companies and individuals who wish to make private donations to boost the fund.
  “Many talented and beloved members of the Irish creative community are struggling financially due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that this fund can help to ease some of their worries and fears," said Eleanor McEvoy, chair of IMRO, who is appealing for donations to the fund "to ensure we can help as many people as possible."


> Copyright Office receives funds from government for artists 
As part of an emergency plan, the Ivorian Copyright Office BURIDA has received from Minister of Culture and Francophonie Raymonde Goudou Coffie an allocation of CFA500 million (€762,000) to be distributed to member artists of Copyright Office for the advance payment of copyright and neighbouring rights. "All categories of rights holders, members of BURIDA, are affected by this distribution," said Goudou Coffie. Creators in the fields of music, audiovisual, dramatic arts, literature and visual arts are eligible for the funds. 


> BMAT calls for radio stations to play music from artists whose shows have been cancelled 
Barcelona-based content monitoring company BMAT has launched a new initiative called 'The Show Must Go On Air' to encourage broadcasters to support artists who’ve had gigs cancelled in Barcelona due to COVID-19. The initiative calls on all broadcasters who play or use music to opt for the songs of those who’ve been cancelled. "Every play will help them make up for financial and promotional losses," said the company. "By joining forces, they’re helping those artists who are most impacted by COVID-19 gig cancellations to make up for their losses with boosted royalty earnings and exposure."


> Government eases content quotas for TVs
The Australian government has announced a A$54 million funding to support Australia’s television, radio, newspapers and regional publishers affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The bulk of the funding for the programme – A$36m – will come from “repurposing unallocated funds” from the undersubscribed regional and small publishers jobs and innovation package, and A$13.4m comes from new funding, noted The Guardian.
  The federal government will also provide a 12-month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters, worth A$41m.
  Communications Minister Paul Fletcher also said that Australian drama, children’s and documentary content quotas on free-to-air and subscription television have been be suspended for 2020, although the requirement for 55% Australian content overall remained.  

Australia will set up a mandatory code of conduct between news producers and digital platforms

By Emmanuel Legrand

Following the reluctance from FacebookTwitter and Google to negotiate a voluntary code of conduct between media companies and digital platforms, the Australian government has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code.

  The decision was made necessary after failure from the different parties to negotiate in good faith remuneration of news media organisations for use of their content by digital platforms, advise news media in advance to any algorithm changes affecting content rankings, favour original source news content in search page results, and share data with media companies. The code was expected to be announced in November 2020.

  Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who asked the ACCC to set up the mandatory code, said the parties couldn’t agree on “this key issue of payment for content.”

Level playing field

  Taking notice of the failure to achieve a voluntary code through negotiations, the government will have the ACCC draft a mandatory code, which could use "the same elements as the proposed voluntary code, but would also include penalties and binding dispute resolution mechanisms for negotiations between the digital platforms and news businesses," according to The Guardian.

  A draft code is due to be finalised by the end of July. “This will help to create a level playing field,” said Frydenberg. “Digital platforms have fundamentally changed the way that media content is produced, distributed and consumed,” said Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. “Digital platforms need to do more to improve the transparency of their operations for news media providers as they have a significant impact on the capacity of news media organisations to build and maintain an audience and derive resources from the media content they produce.”

Disappointment from Facebook

  Facebook Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Will Easton said: “We’re disappointed by the government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline.” He added: “COVID-19 has impacted every business and industry across the country, including publishers, which is why we announced a new, global investment to support news organisations at a time when advertising revenue is declining.”

  Facebook announced in March it had set up a $100 million fund for the news industry.

SOCAN's Jeff King named chair of data body DDEX

By Emmanuel Legrand

International standards-setting organisation DDEX (Digital Data Exchange) has named Jeff King, Chief Operating and Corporate Development Officer of Canada's rights society SOCAN, as Chair of its Board. He succeeds Paul Dilorito, the former Director of Innovation and Partnerships at PRS for Music.

  “I’m honoured to have been elected to the role of Chair at such a pivotal time in the music industry, when the mandate to standardise metadata has become even more critical to identify and deliver global digital royalties back to music creators,” said King. “On behalf of myself and the DDEX Board, many thanks to Paul Dilorito for his work with us over the years and his leadership in so many areas of the organisation.”

  King joined SOCAN in 2001 and was appointed COO in 2011, with responsibility over strategy, licensing, distribution, international, information technology and corporate planning.

Setting data standards

  The DDEX Board consists of executives from the 19 charter members of the organisation, including: Jill Chapman (Amazon), Nick Williamson (Chair Emeritus) (Apple), Dena Fletcher (ASCAP), Ed Oshanani (BMI), Till Evert (GEMA), Greg Quillard (Executive Board) (Google), Bob Bruderman (Kobalt Music), Noel Morrison(Pandora Media), Matt Phipps-Taylor (PPL), Keith Hill (PRS for Music), Laurent Fradin (SCPP), Paul Cohen Scali (Executive Board) (SACEM), Kirit Joshi (Executive Board) (Sony Music Entertainment), Luis Bonilla (SoundExchange), Sung Kyu Choi (Spotify), Roberta Fong (Tencent Music Entertainment Group), Kim Beauchamp (Executive Board) (Universal Music Group), and Brigette Boyle (Warner Music Group).

  DDEX has developed eight families of standards that support the entire arc of digital music operations from initial recording through distribution and reporting as well as other types of business transactions in particular sectors of the industry (Release Delivery, Media Enrichment and Description, Sales and Usage Reporting, Claim Detail Message Suite, Works Notification and Licensing, Recording Data and Rights, Collection of Studio Metadata and Linking Works and Recordings).

  DDEX standards are being used by all the major players in the digital music industry as well as most smaller organisations and startups.

Downtown's AdRev takes control of France's data and analytics firm Simbals

By Emmanuel Legrand
AdRev, a subsidiary of Downtown Music Holdings's division AVL Group, has acquired Simbals, a French music analytics and technology company. Prior to the acquisition, Simbals served as a key technology partner for AdRev.
  Simbals uses industry-leading audio fingerprinting technology and advanced machine learning and AI techniques to better identify audio content across platforms, including TV, film, radio, streaming platforms, and live performance. 
   The acquisition, the financial details of which have not been disclosed, will allow AdRev "to better provide fair usage of music compositions and reporting at scale, across platforms," said the company. 
Accurate and fair reporting
  Simbals was started in 2012 by three researchers from the University of Bordeaux: Matthias Robine, Founder, Researcher and Product Director; Pierre Hanna, Founder, Researcher and Director of Research and Development; and Pascal Ferraro, Founder, Researcher and President. Simbals's team will join the AdRev team, and will "study and develop new ways to apply audio identification and analysis to better serve the music ecosystem."
  Simbals’ patented audio fingerprinting technology and machine learning-driven analytics will be integrated into AdRev’s existing technology used by audio rights holders "to ensure fair and accurate usage and reporting at scale." Future applications of Simbals's research could include music creation, storage, archiving, and more. 
  Simbals’ audio content recognition enables the accurate identification at scale of music used in various video and audio formats, such as TV, film, and radio, as well as in live performances or on streaming platforms.
Collaborative relationship
  "Matthias, Pascal, Pierre and Florian [Iragne, CTO] have built an incredible suite of technology and tools that help empower a thriving, democratic music ecosystem,” said Noah Becker, Founder and President of AdRev. "With the new user generated content platforms regularly emerging, and the need for platforms to meet the changing demands of copyright legislation around the world, the technology developed by Simbals is more important than ever. The entire Simbals team are brilliant, humble, and hard working, and I couldn't be more pleased to officially welcome them to AdRev."
  “All of us at Simbals are excited to build on our existing, collaborative relationship with AdRev," commented Robine. "We develop innovative solutions for automatic audio identification, personalised music recommendation and prediction of music-related trends. AdRev is the perfect partner to grow and provide our disruptive solutions to the global music industry.”

Warner Music widens its reach in Africa with an investment in Africori

By Emmanuel Legrand

Warner Music Group (WMG) has made a strategic investment in Africori, a leading digital music distribution, music rights management and artist development company in Africa. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

  Through this agreement, WMG’s ADA division, which handles distribution and services for the independent music community, will be able to tap into Johannesburg-based Africori's catalogue and A&R network, while enabling WMG to establish a presence in many African markets for the first time.

  In addition, ADA will "work closely with Africori to distribute and promote its artists internationally through Warner Music’s global network," and will "support Africori’s distribution activities on its existing catalogue" as well as "having a first option on international licenses for all new signings."

A digital pioneer in Africa

  Artists using Africori's services include Elzo Jamdong, Jux, Master KG, Nabila, Nyashinski, Pappy Kojo, Sean Tizzle, Sho Madjozi, $pacely and Yung L.

  Africori was founded in South Africa in 2009 by Yoel Kenan, a former executive at and Universal. The company has offices in London and Lagos in Nigeria, and partnerships with local companies in many African countries.

  Africori has worked to date with over 6,500 artists and 700 labels and has agreements in place with all of the largest digital platforms, such as Apple MusicSpotifyDeezerAmazon Music, as well as AftownDeedo and Boomplay in Africa. Africori is a member of Merlin, the agency that negotiates licenses with digital platforms on behalf of independent labels.

A global reach for African artists

  “I’m delighted that we’ll be working together with Africori, and Yoel Kenan in particular, as they’ve been pioneers, fighting for the interests of artists and the music industry in Africa," said Alfonso Perez Soto, EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Warner Music. "We can harness the power of our global network to take their great African music to a truly global audience.”

  Africori CEO Yoel Kenan commented: “We work with incredible artists and have some extremely talented A&Rs spotting fresh new talent; it’ll be really exciting to see them tap into Warner Music’s global network. The music market in Africa is starting to really gain traction and this deal means we’re well-positioned to support our artists as new opportunities open up.”

  “Our global team at ADA is super excited to partner with Africori," said Eliah Seton, President, Independent Music and Creator Services at WMG. "There’s so much momentum and incredible music coming out of Africa at the moment. It’s not a question of if, but when we get a new global superstar from the region. So we can’t wait to get to work supporting some of Africa’s most brilliant artists on the global stage.” 

Monday, April 20, 2020

SGAE President Pilar Jurado pushed out in boardroom coup

By Emmanuel Legrand

The SGAE saga has now more episodes and twists than a Latin American telenovela. The latest development has seen the board of directors of the Spanish rights society voting to replace its President Pilar Jurado with playwright Fermín Cabal, who will be acting president of the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers until a new election is called. Jurado has been in the position for about 14 months.

  During an extraordinary board of directors called April 15 by the society's general secretary, Eduardo Ezpondaburu, Cabal was elected by 22 votes in favour and 13 for the soprano and orchestra composer and conductor. Jurado had been in the job since February 2019 when she took over following a vote a defiance against the then President Hevia. The April 15 vote followed a motion of censure against Jurado presented on April 13 by 22 of the 35 members of the board of directors.

  As established by the SGAE bylaws, the oldest vice president, in this case Cabral, becomes the President for a maximum period of one month until the Board of Directors appoints the President of the organisation from among its members. The 35-member Board of Directors has representatives from the four main chapters: Major Rights, Minor Rights, Audiovisual and Publishers, each one of which hold a vice presidency.

Address all the challenges

  Paris-based CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) suspended SGAE's membership to the organisation in May 2019, requesting urgent changes to its statutes and its operational practices.  

  At the meeting held April 15, the Board of Directors "expressed its will to unite and collaborate in this new stage with the Ministry of Culture and CISAC to find solutions to all the issues affecting the organisation and successfully address all the challenges facing intellectual property in the current situation," according to a SGAE statement.

  The Board also thanked Jurado "for her service during her tenure as president and wishes her every success both in her personal and her professional endeavours."

Failure to report new appointments

  According to Spanish daily Diario Publico, what led to Jurado's downfall was the recent appointment of Clifton Williams López as deputy director general of SGAE and Enrique Soria García-Ramos as economic and financial director. 

  These appointments where questioned by the Ministry of Culture, whose director general for Cultural Industries, Intellectual Property and Cooperation, Adriana Moscoso, pointed out that the society "can neither modify the organisational chart of the entity, nor hire new management personnel" without receiving notification from the Ministry to proceed. Jurado failed to inform the Ministry of the changes despite having to do so before their appointment.

  Newspaper ABC also suggested that the Board of Directors of the entity gave the go-ahead in early April to the distribution of some advance payments on rights whose beneficiaries appear to be...members of the board themselves. This would also contravene instructions from the Ministry of Culture.

Not sufficient remedies

  CISAC is understood to have sent a letter to SGAE's board on April 9 outlining a series of shortcomings from the rights society. The letter, seen by this writerstated that while CISAC was "encouraged to hear about the adoption of new Statutes on January 30th by SGAE’s General Assembly," they "have not been sufficient to remedy many of the issues highlighted by CISAC as violating the Confederation's Professional Rulest."

  In the letter, CISAC Director General Gadi Oron highlighted a series of pending issues to be resolved, including insufficient progress in governance and in documentation and distribution.

  On the governance aspect, CISAC's analysis is that "several new provisions introduced in the Statutes raise new concerns. We refer specifically to new rules on the eligibility of members to serve on SGAE’s Board of Directors and Supervisory Board." CISAC points out two issues: "Members who have withdrawn part of their rights from SGAE are not eligible to join the Board of Director" and "internal members of the Supervisory Board must be former Board members." 

Flawed decision-making processes

  Oron also addressed an "inherently flawed" decision-making processes at SGAE, in particular the exclusion of music publishers from fair representation in governance structures, and the "large number of people who are in a conflict of interest and serve on SGAE’s decision-making bodies." For CISAC, "many decisions are effectively taken by a small group of people who are not sufficiently representative of the interests managed by SGAE. This raises serious concerns with respect to the credibility of such decisions." 

  CISAC offered a way out: “The only viable solution to this ongoing situation is to conduct full Board elections as soon as possible, in order to establish a fair and balanced representation of the various categories of rights holders, in accordance with Spanish Law, and to restore the trust of the international community."

  On the documentation/distribution side, CISAC welcomed the start of a partnership with BMAT to monitor music use on TV, but "other measures taken by SGAE are insufficiently convincing and should have gone further."

A fully reappointed board

  CISAC said it asked "for a revision of genre weightings and coefficients to eliminate significant imbalances in distribution results," but even if weighting of symphonic music and video clips has been reduced, the Confederation has "not been provided with a clear analysis of how it will impact distribution and ensure a fair distribution, without abusing other works categories."

  In addition, CISAC is asking for the establishment of "a separate Dawn Time slot Distribution Pool with a maximum of 15% of royalties paid to the works exploited during that period" and asked for "the distribution cap issue to be addressed again as soon as full elections have taken place."

  Finally, CISAC asked for "the creation of separate Music and AV Distribution Pools to enhance distribution transparency and also to reflect different tariffs applied for the repertoires," and also suggested that "such a decision should have been formally discussed by a fully reappointed Board before being eventually submitted to the GA, to ensure approval by all categories of right holders."

  Oron concluded that "there remains a lot to do in order to bring SGAE into compliance with CISAC’s Professional Rules and to address the Confederation’s key Governance and Distribution recommendations of April 2018, in a manner that would justify a recommendation that  SGAE be re-admitted to the Confederation."

More C-19 initiatives from around the world


> US PROs team up to create a fund for songwriters
US three largest performing rights organisations have joined forces to create a special fund as part of the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to support music creators who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds collected from the PROs will be focused specifically on helping their respective songwriters, composers and lyricists, while the COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to help all music industry workers in need.
  Participating in the scheme are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and SESAC. Their members are encouraged to apply for a grant through the COVID-19 Relief Fund via
  Harvey Mason jr., Chair and Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said the COVID-19 Relief Fund, established in March, with initial seed donations of $1 million each by MusiCares and the Recording Academy, has raised an additional 8 millions from numerous partners, but said more needs to be done. 
  "With the help of these latest contributions and the generous donations over the past few weeks, we've been able to garner more than $10 million to provide aid for music people across all genres, crafts and disciplines affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That said, the need is still so great and these times remain critical for music people."
  Mike O’Neill, President & CEO of BMI, said the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund was "an important resource for songwriters and composers, who, like so many, have been adversely impacted by the pandemic." ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said the fund "will provide our music writers with the emergency relief grants they need at this difficult time."
    "It's essential that we do all we can to make sure that our creators have the resources they need to navigate this crisis and continue practicing their craft," said JohnJosephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC.

> A2IM and RoadNation partner for livestream series
US indie labels' organisation A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) and RoadNation, the platform that enables artists and fans to build tours together, have partnered to launch a new program for independent artists to earn money from livestream performances. The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP), Women In Music (WIM), The Music Business Association and the Music Managers Forum-US (MMF-US) are promotional partners of the series.
  The programme kicked off with a livestream concert April 17 featured on the Twitch homepage, with performances by AZRARayvon OwenRuth Anne CunninghamStefan Poole and Speelburg.
  The “Livestream Road-Less Series,” is designed to provide all indie artists the opportunity to perform and monetise livestreams through a branded channel and experience on streaming platforms such as Twitch. Artists taking part in the series will get a free customised page to sell unique experiences and merch.
  "The 'Road-Less Livestream Series' enables indie artists to nourish their connection with fans and monetise online performances in order to pay their bills and keep creating," said A2IM President and CEO Richard Burgess.
  “Like so many of us in the music community, we are heartbroken to see the toll that the coronavirus exacts on artists and all who help bring music to life,” said Steve Marks, Founder and CEO of RoadNation. “We want to do our part to create powerful moments where artists can do what they do best -- bring music to life -- and fans can again feel that special connection to their favorite artists and support their work.”

> Independent venue set up lobby group NIVA
Independent venues in the US have joined forces to create the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) tasked with "securing financial support to preserve the national ecosystem of independent venues and promoters."
  NIVA expects to obtain from Congress and the White House a federal aid package to them weather the coronavirus crisis. To help them with the task, NIVA has enlisted Washington, DC lobbying firm Akin Gump, thanks to financing provided by See Tickets and Lyte.
  “Akin Gump has been tapped to represent us, and that telegraphs to Capitol Hill that our needs are serious," said Gary Witt, CEO of Pabst Theater Group and founding member of NIVA. "Most of us have gone from our best year ever to a dead stop in revenues, but our expenses and overhead are still real, and many will not make it without help. Our employees, the artists, and the fans need us to act. But we are also an important income generator for those around us, bringing revenue to area restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail shops. Our contributions to the tax base far exceed our ticket sales.”
  The organisation counts already some 450 members in 43 states, including First Avenue in Minneapolis, 9:30 Club in Washington DC, Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, Red River Cultural District in Austin and Exit/In in Nashville.
  NIVA's board includes Dayna Frank, owner of First Avenue Productions; Stephen Chilton, Owner/Talent Buyer at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix; Hal Real, Founder/President of World Cafe Live; Justin Kantor, Managing member/Co-Founder of (le) poisson rouge in New York, Stephen D. Sternschein, Managing Partner of Heard Presents in Austin, and Rev. Moose, managing partner of Marauder, which runs Independent Venue Week in the US.
  “Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open,” said First Avenue's Frank. “It’s just brutal right now, and the future is predictable to no one. We can’t envision a world without these music venues, so we’ve created NIVA to fight for their ability to survive this shutdown, which we hear could go into 2021. Our first order of business is to push to secure federal funding to preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.”

Netflix has added another $50 million to its coronavirus emergency relief fund, bringing the total for film and TV production crews to $150 million. The fund was set up in March by the video streaming service with an initial allocation of $100m.·Reuters reported that some of the money has being allocated through nonprofit groups that are helping the industry through the coronavirus crisis. The company so far has provided assistance in the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, India, France, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and the Netherlands.


> European indie labels support record stores
Independent music companies across Europe are backing the #LoveRecordStoresinitiative, the online campaign where artists, music fans and many others are posting messages of support for their local record shops. Brussels-based indie labels' organisation IMPALA said it would promote its roll-out across Europe, "together with other campaigns to support local record stores and other initiatives to promote music during the coronavirus crisis."
  In addition, IMPALA is also urging EU governments "to include record stores in the first wave of shops that are allowed to re-open, subject of course to the necessary restrictions on the number of customers."
  "Record stores are a vital part of the music ecosytem," said Francesca Trainini, Chair of IMPALA, Italian association PMI and IMPALA's TaskForce. "One of the Task Force’s priorities is to promote buying online from these stores now and make sure they are in the first wave of shops allowed to re-open when lockdowns are lifted." 


> Québec government supports local music
The government of Quebec has ratified an agreement with collective management organisations SOCANSOPROQ and Ré: Sonne for the use of Quebec music during the broadcast of daily press conferences on Facebook. The government said it wanted to use Quebec songs and wanted to do it fairly for rights holders.
  "We have issued a license from our side and the other organisations as well," said SOCAN. The society said it "welcomed the initiative of the office of the Prime Minister François Legault, which has reached an agreement with rights management organisations for a fair compensation for rights holders for the public use of Québec music."


> Summer festivals forced to cancel 
In France, Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, has set a timetable for the country's de-confinement. "Public places, restaurants, cafes and hotels, cinemas, theaters, concert halls and museums, will remain closed at this stage," said Macron in a TV address. "Major festivals and events with a large audience will not be able to take place at least until mid-July. The situation will be collectively assessed from mid-May, each week, to adjust things and give you visibility."
  As a result, a large number of summer festivals have been cancelled, including Les Vieilles Charrues, France's largest outdoors festival, set in Brittany, Solidays in Paris, Francofolies in La Rochelle, ArtRock in Saint Brieux, HellfestLes Eurockéennes in Belfort, Lollapalooza Paris, among others.
  But festivals have asked for clarification of the government's policies since the Minister of Culture Frank Riester has let it slipped in a radio interview that "small" events might be authorised to take place after July 11. “Frank Riester's declaration plunges the whole of entertainment sector in the greatest confusion," wrote live music trade body PRODISS, adding that festivals, concert producers, artists and spectators are scrambling to understand the situation. PRODISS asked: "What are the definitions given to large festivals and small festivals? Does this mean that the concerts could also be held?"
  Riester said a specific unit within the Ministry of Culture will be providing festival support and will "centralise all specific requests on safety standards, distance and barrier gestures and find the best possible solutions for festivals on a case-by-case basis."
  The live music sector in France represents "nearly €5 billion in turnover and 135,000 jobs supporting the economic fabric of many territories," said PRODISS.

> Adami allocates another €11.3 million to relief funds
French neighbouring rights society Adami has announced an additional €11.3 million to provide the performers with support. As part of the €11.3m, €8.5m will be allocated to an exceptional payment paid directly to artists; and €1.8m to financial aid for artistic projects canceled or postponed and previously supported by Adami.
  Some €330,000 will go into additional funding for Adami's “Right to the Heart” scheme in support of artists who face the most urgent social situations; €500,000 has been allocated to the emergency fund set up by the National Music Center (endowed with €11.5 million euros in total); and €200,000 will go to the performing arts emergency fund (excluding music) managed by the Association for the Support of the Private Theater.
  Adami said that in addition, it had secured payment of artists' rights in March amounting to €4.7m. The next payment is scheduled for June 2020.
  "We are working both to respond to emergencies and to prepare for the future of collective management of our rights. Many things will have to be discussed when the time comes to relaunch, including the place we give to artist as this crisis has shown the extreme fragility of our profession as well as its importance," said Adami President Jean Jacques Milteau.

> SCPP earmarks €9 million for record labels
French neighbouring rights society SCPP has allocated €9 million to a plan to support phonographic production. The plan, adopted by SCPP's Board of Directors on April 8, includes two components: a financial aid package of €5.22m, intended exclusively for independent labels members of SCPP, and additional aid to support creation of € 3.78m.
  SCPP, which has the three major companies as its members as well indie labels, said that "75% of the total amount of this support plan should thus benefit the 3,000 independent producers members of SCPP."
  SCPP said the €5.2m financial aid was initially intended to cover up to 40% of the financial losses of any nature suffered by its independent members during the months of March and April 2020, and who could not be the subject of aid within the support measures framework put in place by the authorities. "SCPP’s financial aid is not intended to replace the mechanisms put in place by the authorities, but to complement them," said the society.
  The second part of the support plan will kick in in May when the country will end the confinement. The €3.78m are earmarked "to encourage a restart of activity after confinement." These additional funds will take the form of an increase in the share of subsidies that the SCPP will chip in to help with the production of records and music videos.
  SCPP, alongside the other neighbouring rights society for record labels SPPF, did not participate in the funding round organised under the aegis of the Centre National de la Musique (CNM), which was mostly allocated to support live music, in order to focus on their own support schemes. SCPP said it "hoped that its support plan, which shows the solidarity between the different members of the SCPP, whatever their size, will allow all of its members to overcome the difficulties created by the health crisis and will encourage the restart of their activity."

> A tax credit for advertising expenditures
A member of the French Parliament, Aurore Bergé, the rapporteur for the audiovisual communication bill, has proposed to introduce a tax credit on advertising expenses. The measure would allow companies and brands to get a tax break for their advertising expenditures on media. Bergé told News Tank that both print and electronic media have continued to function despite the lockdown linked to the coronavirus crisis, but their advertising revenues have almost completely collapsed, putting a lot of them at risk. "If a company knows that it can allocate some of its budget to its communication and that it can deduct it from taxes, it will anticipate it. Companies need to know now that they can do it. The collapse of advertising must not continue. Triggering the tax credit now would create a virtuous circle," said Bergé. To be adopted, the measure should be included in the new audiovisual bill and voted by the Parliament.


> Ban of major events confirmed
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has introduced a plan to "gradually" reopen schools, as well as those of stores with a sales area of ​​800 Sq meters maximum. But the ban on major events has been confirmed, affecting some of the most important German festivals, such as Rock am RingRock im Park (Nuremberg), Hurricane (Scheessel), Southside (Neuhausen ob Eck), MeltSplash (Gräfenhainichen), Wacken Open Air (Wacken) and Parookaville (Weeze).
  The summer season of festivals has also been frozen in countries such as Belgium, Austria and Denmark.


> Music industry donates £1.5m to Help Musicians
The British recorded music community awarded £1.5m to several initiatives providing support to artists. Record labels Sony Music Entertainment UKWarner Music UK and Universal Music UK, as well as independent record labels Cherry Red and Demon Music GroupThe BRIT AwardsAmazon Music and music licensing company PPL provided the funds mostly to Help Musicians, enabling the organisation to reach a further 2,500 musicians in need of immediate financial help.
  An additional £250,000 has also been set aside to support musicians through other channels, including other musicians’ wellbeing charities and support to the grassroots live sector.
  "All sectors of the music industry have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but grassroots artists who rely on festivals, touring and recording sessions for the bulk of their income are particularly hard hit," said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards. "The UK’s record labels, digital services such as Amazon Music and music organisations including PPL have already done a great deal individually to support the people they work with, but we also recognise the need for an additional collective effort to support those who face the most immediate threat to their livelihoods, to add to the welcome measures announced by the Government."

> PPL allocates £700,000 to music industry funds
British neighbouring rights society PPL has pledged £700,000 to three of the music industry’s hardship funds set up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:
- the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Funds (£500,000), which in its first phase provides individual grants of £500, offers support to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures being faced by professional musicians (the scheme had initially made available £5m for 10,000 applicants, but has received over 17,000 applications);
-  the Musicians’ Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund (£100,000),which is  offering grants of £200 to members of the Union experiencing pressing and genuine hardship from loss of work due to the pandemic;
- and the AIM COVID-19 Crisis Fund (£100,000), launched in early April, aimed at contractors and freelance workers in the independent music industry whose source of income has been severed without warning due to lost work in April and May.
  “At PPL, we recognise the role of these Hardship Funds in providing a lifeline to those in the music industry who have been most impacted by the current crisis and we are delighted to be able to contribute to the funds established by Help Musicians, The Musicians’ Union and AIM to ensure financial support reaches those in need," commented PPL Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem. "This funding is vital for those who have lost their regular means of income and find it challenging to sustain their livelihood.”


> SGAE allocates €15 million to relief programmes
The Board of Directors of Spanish society SGAE has allocated an additional €7 million to the €8m that had already been earmarked for economic and social aid for members who need it. SGAE said the €15m were "an initial amount that the entity expects to increase through aid from the different public administrations."
  One of SGAE's relief programme is SGAE-Corona, which consists of aid of up to €3,000 euros to creators who cannot take advantage of other SGAE measures to compensate for losses due to the cessation of activities related to Covid-19. In addition, SGAE has made available to older members with fewer resources a home delivery service and an effective solidarity program between authors.
  Authors can also apply for loans and advances, in line with conditions established in SGAE's regulations.


> SAMRO seeks to provide relief to its members
Mark Rosin, CEO of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), has welcomed the decision from the country's five biggest banks to announce "some form of relief to their customers.”
  SAMRO, alongside other organisations, has called on financial institutions and various stakeholders "to exercise some leniency towards musicians in relation to their financial obligations."
  “We are very pleased to note that the response by various stakeholders to that call has been extremely positive," said Rosin. SAMRO itself has been speeding up distribution of royalties. Some 10,000 of its members benefited from a recent TV distribution of R63 million ($3.35m), completed on 30 March.
  A month before, SAMRO paid out R141m ($7.5m) in royalties from the Radio category, making it the highest radio distribution in the past five years. "The ongoing achievement of higher royalty collection and distributions is the result of the efficiency measures we recently put in place," said Rosin.
  Rosin said SAMRO would help members, wherever possible, to access the fund made available by the Department of Arts and Culture to compensate performers where shows have been cancelled. “We are working on a host of other member benefits that we offer, over and above our primary role as copyright administrators," said Rosin. "For instance, we are the only CMO that has a funeral policy fund for our members and we have just increased the funeral benefit from R20 000 per member to R25 000.00."
  Rosin said he will try to convince broadcasters to increase their usage of local music and will seek Government’s support in this regard. "This will help when we pay out future royalty distributions and, in some way, mitigate the potential loss of income for members that rely on live shows," he said.