The Current situation
Writers and publishers are suffering huge deductions in their live public performance rights income, long delays in receiving it, and a lack of transparency when the reduced amount finally arrives.
The deductions suffered by the headline writer(s) and their publisher(s) are:
1. Rebates, discounts and/or kickbacks agreed by the Performing Rights Organisations (PRO’s) with the concert promoters / venues, on the live public performance right income deducted from concert settlements. These can easily be 25%+ of the rights income from the concert.
2. Administration charges and social & cultural deductions taken by both the PRO in the concert territory, and the PRO representing the writer/publisher. These can easily be 25%+ of the rights income from the concert.
3. For the supporting performers’ writers. These can easily be 20%-50%+ of the rights income from the concert.
In the live context, ‘Direct licencing’ refers to having only the live public performance right (therefore not impacting on the other 11 categories of rights given to the PRO), re-assigned from the writer/publisher’s PRO to the writer and publisher, for the period of the concerts, and for the territories where the concerts are being performed. Then the live public performance right can be licenced directly to the concert promoter/venue (rather than through the PRO’s). The concert promoters/venues have a legal requirement to secure a licence for the live public performance rights they are using at concerts. This solution:
1. Is transparent for the performing artist, as promoters and PRO’s can no longer operate a kickback system. The performing artist will know exactly how much the promoter is actually paying and it sidesteps any undiscovered kickbacks.
2. Vastly reduces deductions (from kickbacks, PRO expenses, and support share) that the headliner songwriters and publishers are currently suffering, so they receive more money.
3. It’s transparent for the songwriter and publisher as they will know the actual amount they are receiving from each concert for each writer for each work (to the cent/penny).
4. Vastly reduces the distribution times to the songwriters and publishers, so they receive their money much quicker (days/weeks instead of months/years).
When the headline writers mandate us to Direct Licence, we will then:
1. Engage with their publishers and co-writers and their publishers (to seek their mandate).
2. Engage with the PRO’s (to re-assign the writer, co-writer and publisher rights).
3. Engage with the concert promoters and PRO’s to ensure the licencing goes smoothly and efficiently.
4. Collect the licence money, and distribute it to the rights owners with swift transparent accounting.