The key lecturer was Mr. David Stopps, author of the book with the same name. Stopps has had a long experience in music management in the UK, having worked with some of very best acts in the world like U2, the Police and David Bowie among many others.
What Stopps discussed were both familiar and new. Conceptually, I had been trained to understand copyright and collective management to the closest detail. But Stopps was able drive the nail home by talking about his real life experiences and how he witnessed independent artists earn income in so many different ways, as long as intellectual property was respected and complied with.
Stopps discussed how music is placed in advertisements, films, TV shows, video games, apps and others, earning royalty income for the artist and the producer. He also talked about making derivate income from selling merchandise and product placement during shows.
This was very interesting stuff that reminded me of how much time and sacrifice we need to put in to elevate the Philippine music business up to that level.
Mark Thursday Alciso of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP) talked about collective management of copyright and the challenges faced, including the unwillingness of businesses to pay license fees and the confusion caused by having several different organizations collect license fees for different rights over the same music.
Royalty collection also gets harder when one has to deal with large networks or organizations that have a ton of leverage. Artists in the Philippines almost never get paid for the use of their music in films, TV shows or advertisement, a common practice in more developed economies. What ought to be a significant source of income is reduced to zero and a shallow promise of 'artist exposure'... something they would get anyway whether or not they're paid.
Many other concerns were raised like the massive competition we get from foreign acts, the lack of radio airplay and the proliferation of substandard music in the mass market.
In the end, we find ourselves back where we started. If we want this country to be a source of and a hub for great music, we need to make real changes in our understanding and respect for intellectual property and business. No more pushovers. No more compromise. As artists, we mean business.
For those who missed the seminar, you may still benefit from David Stopp's experience by reading his book, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
|Download the PDF version of David's book from the WIPO Website|