Treasury Department Begins Allowing U.S. Citizens to Profit From Cuban Concerts

BB12 Cuba Feature 2015
Edel Rodriguez

The United States Treasury Department has announced updated regulations that allow for American citizens to profit from musical events produced in Cuba.

Previously, under the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Americans could perform on the island, but only if any concert profits were donated to an independent, non-governmental organization in Cuba, or a U.S. charity. Artists were also required to hold workshops and clinics for Cubans during their time on the island.

Billboard has confirmed with the Treasury Department that under the new rules, an organizer can keep the money from musical events if they make a profit once production and logistical costs are met.

The U.S. regulations still require promoters of concerts and other cultural activities to ensure that the Cuban public has access to the event, either free of charge or at a price, in Cuban pesos, that Cuban citizens can afford. Organizers may charge foreigners higher fees in dollars, either through ticket sales or incorporating concert fees into travel packages for educational trips that include attending the concert.

Tourism is still prohibited under the embargo.

The changes, among others announced on Jan. 26, also allow U.S. artists to travel to Cuba more freely by eliminating the need to apply for an individual special license to perform there.

The new regulations additionally allow for profits from sporting events, and make it easier for U.S. companies to shoot movies and television programs.

The ability for U.S. promoters to potentially profit from concerts is the latest milestone for music that has come since the re-establishment of relations between the U.S. and Cuba in December 2014. The Treasury's loosening of restrictions does not impact any regulations that the Cuban government may impose on the organization concerts staged by foreign promoters and artists in Cuba.


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