Label’s trade body the British Phonographic Industry has been accused of “driving down the value of music” by referring collecting society MCPS-PRS Alliance to the Copyright Tribunal over its online fees.
In a strongly-worded speech made during the authors and publishers’ organization PRS annual general meeting in London today (July 1), the Alliance’s CEO Adam Singer said the action taken by the BPI and seven leading online music platforms on Wednesday “may have unintended consequences.”
He said, “The question I am asking the BPI is that you may have analysed the upside on the micro economics of what you are doing but have you really analysed the downside on the macro economics?”
The BPI and the online services object to the Alliance’s online tariff proposals, which have been in place since 2002. The tariff sets the rate for online usage of music on the Internet and on wireless devices at a rate of 12% of gross retail revenues. This rate is subject to a temporary discount to 8%.
In contrast, mechanical royalties on physical products stand at 6.5% of retail price (or 8.5% of the published wholesale price); broadcasting rates range from 3%-5.25% of radio station’s net advertising revenues.
“The music that underpins much of the digital growth, the jobs, the economy, must not be taken for granted or, more to the point, taken for nothing,” said PRS chairman Ellis Rich. “Whether its music from your mobile, from iTunes, as podcasts, or any other means of transmission or delivery. Whenever you hear some notes, someone should be paying with them.”
Singer said that if both parties end up arguing their case before the Copyright Tribunal “it will descend into a slough of mathematical sophistry.”
“If patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel, then a tribunal is the last resort of the intellectually lazy,” added Sander.
He explained that currently on CDs, MCPS-PRS collects about 6p per track, and roughly the same amount from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. “In this network world there are no storage costs, no shop rental, no plastic boxes, no transport costs, no silver discs, and our crime is, like Oliver when faced with thin gruel, we had the audacity to ask for more. The MSP’s and record companies will now plead poverty, but in this battle those arranged against us have a market value of $250 billion — that’s a quarter of a trillion dollars. “
BPI declined comment.
Singer was making his first speech as MCPS-PRS Alliance CEO. He was appointed in February to replace outgoing CEO John Hutchinson. During the AGM, Singer was officially confirmed as an executive director of the organization’s board.
The meeting also confirmed David Bedford’s reappointment to the MCPS-PRS Alliance board, in the writer directors section. In the music publisher directors section, Chris Butler (Novello & Co Ltd), Paul Curran (BMG Music Publishing Ltd), Jane Dyball (Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Ltd), and Crispin Evans (Universal Music Publishing International Ltd), were all reappointed to the board.