The following comment comes from Björn Ulvaeus, President of CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) and is taken from his foreword to the organization’s 2021 annual report. The report released today (June 3rd) calls for stronger rights for authors and describes the work of CISAC with its members over the past year to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. CISAC has 231 member associations of authors representing over 4 million authors worldwide.
Twelve months ago I took over the office of President of CISAC. I did this because I firmly believe that the rights and remuneration of authors are fair.
I also felt that my own successful songwriting career at ABBA, based on copyright and writing rights, could really help CISAC and its members support creators around the world. A year later, I’m even more passionate about this job than when I took it on.
My first year was of course marked by the pandemic. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on YouTubers, especially income from live and public performances. Royalty collections have collapsed, and it is the less visible creators who often hide in the shadows of the more prominent artists who are usually most vulnerable.
The crisis has also dramatically changed the mix of income opportunities for creators, leading to a rush for all sorts of forms of digital remuneration. This creates great opportunities, but also great challenges.
On the one hand, today’s songwriter or screenwriter has access to a limitless global audience and more opportunities than ever to monetize their work. There was also amazing resilience as creators (with the assistance of CMOs) forged into new revenue streams like live streaming and hybrid concerts.
But there is also a huge problem: streaming nowhere near enough pays creators to build a career. Therefore, strengthening copyrights in the digital world must be at the center of the discussion on the path to recovery.
CISAC is uniquely positioned to lead this discussion. It is the most diverse cultural company of its kind and has unrivaled expertise and authority. These qualities enable her to unite and represent the global collecting society community.
“Streaming doesn’t pay YouTubers enough to build a career. Therefore, strengthening copyrights in the digital world must be at the center of the discussion on the path to recovery. “
Björn Ulvaeus, CISAC
As we are all looking forward to a normalization of the world – and I will certainly not miss all of the Zoom meetings – I want to share with you what I would like to see as a guideline for the coming year.
Put the Creator first. The creative industries are important. But let’s be more specific: The “song economy” is even more valuable. Because it is the songs – as well as the scripts, films, paintings, scripts and all works of the CMO members – that stand out above all else. They are the foundation and fuel of the creative industries, economic value and the jobs they create.
Think globally. CMOs are now competing more than ever in an international market – but that doesn’t diminish the importance of global coordination: on the contrary, fragmentation makes it all the more important to have a strong global community that works to iron out inefficiencies, harmonize global systems and unite large and small companies.
Maintain our unity. CMOs have a proud 100-year history, but it is even more important to ensure their lasting role in the future. I passionately believe that this means standing together and focusing on our common interests. Above all, it means taking care of small companies as well as large ones.
Today – and this has been highlighted by COVID-19 – the ecosystem around us is unfair and inefficient in too many ways. Many societies are doing a great job to change this. Others should now follow their example with CISAC by their side: put the Creator first; work together worldwide; and promote the quality that most empowers us all – our unity.Music business worldwide