It’s an incredible feeling being in a room full of music creators who have traveled from many countries around the world for a common purpose: Bettering the collective lot of music creators everywhere.
I am in Brussels, along with the S.A.C.’s Managing Director, Isabel Crack, attending “The Creators Conference”, hosted by the European Composers and Songwriters Association (ECSA).
Clearly, there is a shared understanding that making the world a better place for those of us who create music will not be easy. We have daunting problems and limited resources. We work in our respective continents and countries under very different regulatory and legal frameworks. Our continental European counterparts have “authors’ rights”, while we in North America and the UK work under copyright (an upcoming blog will go into the differences).
But there is also an understanding that as different as our situations may seem, they are increasingly similar. Global connectivity and large mergers are making the world an increasingly smaller and in some ways less diverse place.
Rather than many significant music publishers in various territories as there once was, there are now basically three global giants: Universal, SonyATV/EMI and Warner. These companies have enormous market share everywhere.
And of course Google, Apple and Spotify are all global concerns as well.
These massive companies would prefer not to deal with dozens of local laws and regulations. Increasingly they are pushing for global “harmonization” and “One Stop Shopping”, and prefer to deal directly with one another, thereby bypassing performing rights societies and other music collectives.
In a world where huge commercial interests negotiate directly with one another on a global scale, creators must form global alliances to ensure we have a voice in the process, that we are fairly compensated, and that there is transparency.
That is why this conference in Brussels, capital of the European Union, is so important. And it is why “The Fair Trade Music Principles” which we are developing with music creator organizations in Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as Canada and the US is a vital tool for us to establish a sustainable music industry for creators.
The “Fair Trade Music Principles” transcend our regional and cultural differences and give us a common platform for a proactive and unified approach in this new global environment.