'Performers should have a bigger voice': The neighbouring rights sector talks big issues

'Performers should have a bigger voice': The neighbouring rights sector talks big issues

Ann Tausis, managing director of Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, has questioned the fairness of Spotify’s compensation for session musicians.

Speaking to Music Week as part of an extensive report on the sector in the new edition of Music Week, out now, Tausis emphasised the difference between DSPs paying out to songwriters and additional musicians.

“People generally don’t know that there is no neighbouring rights income generated through streaming services and that it’s only non-interactive services – where you can’t select specific tracks – where this is possible,” she said.

“Everybody talks about how unfair the compensation from Spotify is for songwriters compared to record companies, but nobody talks about the musicians who appear on these recordings. The [additional] musicians are not contracted to the record company and therefore don’t get any compensation for streaming income. That’s hardly fair, is it?”

Tausis also stated that Kobalt, who represent Dua Lipa and Alessia Cara, among others, are concentrating on the label side of neighbouring rights.

People generally don’t know that there is no neighbouring rights income generated through streaming services

Ann Tausis, Kobalt Neighbouring Rights

Tausis joined many other execs quizzed by Music Week – including PPL CEO Peter Leathem, Gino Olivieri of Premier Muzik, IRR’s Susan Cotchin, Sony/ATV’s George Powell, Double Six Rights’ Duncan Spiers and SENA CEO Markus Bos – in calling for more education about neighbouring rights across the industry.

Tausis said neighbouring rights is “still the ‘little brother’ to recording and publishing,” and that “performers should have a bigger voice.”

However, the sector does sense progress – neighbouring rights generated £1.8 billion dollars last year, according to the IFPI’s Global Music Report, an increase of 2.3% year-on-year.

“We are certainly seeing some progress, and both societies and neighbouring rights agents are to thank for this,” said Sony/ATV’s Powell, head of neighbouring rights.

“As we see revenues grow year-on-year, and more territories beginning to account, people are taking this much more seriously,” he continued.

“I certainly have noticed that people across the industry are a lot more knowledgeable now, be that the performer, their lawyer, management or accountant.”

Music Week broke the news that Sony/ATV have added Bob Marley and Leonard Cohen to its neighbouring rights roster earlier this week.

PPL’s Leathem says growth in the sector has been “a defining factor” in the evolution of neighbouring rights. In particular, he singled out the emergence of rights in the US as “a game changer for many in the business”.

Subscribers can read the full report online here.

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