Artists and managers have responded with disappointment to the Government’s copyright term extension proposals, which can be found here.
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers’ Forum (MMF) say that while the plans signify “a big boost” for session musicians and “a massive windfall” for large record labels, they are a “mixed bag” for featured artists.
The FAC and MFF welcome the main features of the proposed new law, namely: a Use It Or Lose It clause (although the bodies say it still needs improvement); a clean slate provision meaning featured artists will receive income after 50 years; and a fund for sessions musicians coming from 20% of the income generated by the sales and use of recorded music in the extension period.
The associations take issue with the right to renegotiation contracts after 50 years being deemed unnecessary for inclusion by the IPO in the proposals.
“This extension was meant to benefit featured artists in their old age and the omission will leave countless creative artists earning pennies from the sales of their work whilst record labels reap large windfall profits,” says a joint FAC and MMF release.
“To be clear we are not looking to further enrich artists who have become worldwide megastars who have had the means to renegotiate their contracts over the years,” said MMF chair Brian Message. “We are talking about artists who in their teens made some of the classic music of the 60’s, who have influenced generations since and who need some income during the last years of their lives.”
The FAC and MMF are now calling upon rights holders to introduce minimum royalties (without any deductions) for featured artists in the extended copyright term. It could mean the change in share of income of a 79p download moving from 1p for the featured artist to 9.4p whilst a record company income would fall from 46p to 37.6p.
Mark Kelly and Crispin Hunt, co-CEO’s of the FAC, said “We want artists to be sitting at the table not on the menu. Hopefully a decent royalty will mean artists will be able to eat a meal as well.”