THE RECORDING SECTOR
The worldwide figure is above 30% for independents which is probably the same size as Universal Music Group. In certain countries and most of Africa it is 10% or lower but in South Korea the independents have more than 80% because they have a dynamic independent network working well together. It would be nice to move Africa from 10-20% in the next five years. When you have a healthy independent sector you have a very healthy creative environment for the entire music industry.
The consumption of music is constantly changing. Cassette’s replaced the vinyl. CD’s replaced casette’s. By 2002, the CD and DVD era brought in $18.5 BN a year. And within two years 85% of that market was decimated by the on-set of digital. The world market size in 2017 was $13 BN. By 2018 there were signs of a recovery through streaming.
South Africa represents less than 1% of the global recorded music market. The South African recorded music market has been declining over the past decade. In 2018 it was only worth $18m. This is a perilous time for the independents in South Africa.
By taking control and ownership of your rights, an independent practitioner can maximise the control and the returns on their product. The successful independent practitioner builds a professional business with three of administration - the record label, the publisher and management.
When music is played royalties accrue. It is important to know where and how much are the plays and how to collect on these rights. PAIN offers two services, the know how to collect on your rights and the collection of independent rights. What happens when your rights have been misused, your property stolen and or your royalties dwindled away into the wrong bank accounts? You take action, you get organised and you sort it out.
There are seven different aspects to the music industry. 1. Artist management 2. Live performance 3. Publishing songs 4. Recordings 5. Customer industry 6. Social media 7. Media.
The value of each sector to an artists income has had significant changes in the past. In December 2015 Billboard magazine showed the breakdown of the professional musicians income sources as: 80.4% for live performance, customer industry and social media. Sales through downloads, DVDs and sound recordings was down to only 13.3%.
This is likely to be changing again in the current climate of social distancing and lockdown, creating space for new and innovative ways of making a living from music.
It is said the first words a young musician learns is “I got ripped off.” As true as that was and to some extents still is – it is a matter of principle for the industry at large to remedy any mis-practice or injustice. There are ways to do this.
Industry insiders have a concept called 'Dumb shit incorporated.' This is basically every creative person who signs away their rights in a contract without reading and understanding the contract. It is those who never rush to sign anything and took the time to understand each and every word of the contract who are at an advantage.
In the far to common event of work being stolen, an affidavit is a useful tool to express a truth. An affidavit is in the writers knowledge and first-hand experience, correct, true and complete. It is a declaration of truth - the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The foundation of law and the legal system is truth. An unrebutted affidavit is an expression of truth. It can be used as a remedy to counter mis-practice. An affidavit is a foundation to build a legal case and once it is unrebutted, it is sovereign. The affidavit must be signed in person by a commissioner of oaths (such as the police station) or a notary public.
Once the paper-work is in order, a take-down request can be issued against the offending exploiter of your rights and following which a proceeding can be commenced at the police station. Should the exploitation of your rights be significant, the property of the exploiter can be attached so as to off-set the costs. This happened in the case of Solomon Linda vs. Disney which eventually forced Disney to settle out of court.
The industry is diversifying to meet with the continuous changes on a local and global level. The traditional model of performances to support sale of albums was reversed by the internet. For some artists social media and the monetisation of the fan-base (on average 5% of fans buy) has become a sustainable platform. These are some of the online resources that have provided for a self-empowering approach to the music industry called "Corporatisation."
“For the first time in history the artist doesn’t have to go through a label to get recordings to a consumer. The composer doesn’t have to go through a publisher to get compositions exposed. And the artist doesn’t even need a manager anymore. Everything can be done with the internet, including self-management and financing through crowd funding. The artist can set up their own label, or sign to a label from a position of strength. They are coming with knowledge, experience, achievement and income. And with success under their belt, they have bargaining power.” Nick Matsukis
With increased independence in the industry, major record labels have had to shift their businesses to “360 degree” representation in order to survive. This includes management, recording and publishing, allowing the label to administer the profits on artist copyrights and touring as well as album sales.
Few know about performance rights and the necessary registration required for each individual recording. For featured artists and band members, if the name is not entered into the database, there will be no payment of rights. And it becomes more complicated if the recordings are played on an overseas radio station. If artists have recorded their music and it is played on radio then they should collect the revenue on broadcast rights.
At the moment it is difficult to collect rights in Africa because local collection agencies do not have reciprocal rights for rights owners. This means entrepreneurs and labels have to come to South Africa or have somebody in South Africa that can register the works and make sure that it is collected.