BASCA calls on music publishers to share Facebook, Spotify money

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Following commitment from major labels to distribute revenue earned from Spotify’s IPO to its artists, UK songwriter and composer society BASCA has demanded the same from music publishers.

Through a campaign titled #soldforasong, BASCA is calling for music publishers to share any monetary benefits, direct or indirect, received by them from the pending Spotify direct listing.

The campaign is also asking for advance payments from Facebook in exchange for licenses to be shared transparently and fairly with the writers publishers represent. 

BASCA has raised concerns over the fact that there are no systems in place to correctly identify music used on the social media platform retrospectively. 

On behalf of its members, the society is therefore seeking assurances from music publishers that have signed licensing agreements with Facebook that any ‘unattributable’ income derived from the deals is distributed equitably and transparently with songwriters and composers.

In addition, they are demanding that sufficient efforts are made to establish correct usage and not just to distribute monies via an ‘assumed’ market share analogy. 

Alongside agreements with Universal, Sony and Warner, Facebook has announced pan-European licensing deals with Sony/ATV, French PRO SACEM, Canadian society SOCAN, US-based independent publisher Wixen, SESAC’s HFA/Rumblefish platform, Kobalt Music Publishing, Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights and pan-European licensing hub, ICE Services.

Reads a statement from BASCA: A decade after its launch, Facebook has recently concluded licensing agreements with the major music publishing companies and BASCA understand that those deals involve lump sum advance payments worth many millions of pounds.

There are concerns however that no pledge has been made by music publishers to equitably share any financial benefit derived from such licenses with songwriters and composers.

BASCA also calls for any financial windfall received by the music publishing community from Spotify’s upcoming direct listing on the New York Stock exchange, which commentators suggest might value the company in excess of $19bn, to be shared honourably, fairly and transparently with those that composed the catalogues being exploited. 

“With the potential of today’s technology for granular digital data such anachronistic inaccuracy is no longer excusable in music – the right music must receive the right monies. If it’s played it should be paid.”

crispin hunt, basca

Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair said: “The so-called ‘evergreen’ catalogue is arguably only so verdant because it has been historically over-watered in lieu of correct data. 

“With the potential of today’s technology for granular digital data such anachronistic inaccuracy is no longer excusable in music – the right music must receive the right monies. If it’s played it should be paid.”

“UGC platforms, digital services, and the publishers who license music to them, have an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry and to ensure that songwriters and composers are given their fair due of these potential riches.”

vick bain, basca

Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA added: “Facebook and other user generated content platforms, as well as digital services such as Spotify have benefited incalculably from exploiting our members work and indeed this has allowed them to become among the world’s wealthiest corporations. 

“They, and the publishers who license music to them, have an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry and to ensure that songwriters and composers are given their fair due of these potential riches.”

Music Business Worldwide

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