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BASCA ASKS: WHERE'S OUR SLICE OF THE PIE?

British songwriter and composer society BASCA has called for the major publishers to share any cash earned from Spotify’s IPO or advance payments from Facebook with the writers they represent. The campaign is called Sold for a Song, and follows commitments from the major labels to give artists and independent labels a slice of the Spotify pie.

Facebook’s licensing agreements with major music publishing companies involve lump-sum advance payments worth millions of pounds, according to BASCA. The society is concerned that no pledge has been made by publishers to equitably share any revenue derived from the deals with songwriters and composers, and argue that it’s only fair in order to make up for retrospective and unattributable royalty payments.

A statement reads:

BASCA welcomes the news that going forward Facebook is seeking to put in place music recognition technologies to ensure that future usage data is correctly reported to ensure songwriters and composers will be accurately remunerated.

An ongoing issue, however, is that Facebook currently has no systems in place to identify the music used on their platform retrospectively. BASCA is therefore seeking assurances from those music publishers that have concluded deals with Facebook that any so-called ‘unattributable’ income derived from these deals is distributed equitably and transparently with songwriters and composers.

In addition, BASCA is demanding that sufficient efforts are made to establish correct usage and not just to distribute monies via an “assumed” marketshare analogy.

When it comes to Spotify, BASCA wants any financial windfall received by the music publishing community upon Spotify’s direct listing on the New York Stock exchange to be shared “honourably, fairly and transparently with those that composed the catalogues being exploited.”

BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt 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.”

BASCA CEO Vick Bain 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.”

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