ECCO: A Look Back at 2015

Without a doubt, 2015 has been a year of accomplishment for the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) Inc, capping the year off with a 15% increase in membership and a 30% increase in licensing revenue (un-audited) compared to 2014.

The year was ushered in with an offering of two developmental opportunities to the general ECCO Membership; participation in the Calypso in Berlin Project, and free registration at the Caribbean Music Summit in Barbados.

Held in Berlin, Germany, from January 13th to 19th, the Calypso in Berlin project was a collaborative effort between the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (COSCAP) in Barbados, ECCO and Lord Mouse and the Kalypso Katz–an international group of musicians based in Berlin. Calypso in Berlin was initiated to take advantage of the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Cultural Protocol to enter new markets and build collaborative ties. This initiative was aimed at introducing calypso and soca music into mainstream Germany, and by extension Europe, and promoting collaborations between Caribbean and German creators. The project provided Barbadian and OECS based songwriters–which included ECCO Members, Sherwinn Brice and Lennon Prospere– with an opportunity to network and form collaborative relationships with musicians in Germany; receive insight and information from Piranha Arts record label and GEMA, the collective management organization in Germany; perform and gain music exposure in Berlin.

calypso in Berlin

[Photo caption: ECCO Member Lennon Prospere rehearsing for the live show in Berlin]

The Calypso in Berlin project is expected to continue in 2016 with a calypso festival in Berlin and subsequent songwriting collaborations.

stever and ecco member jemmot anthony at music summitMeanwhile in early February, members of ECCO staff team, board of directors and member body were provided with free registration to attend the first ever Caribbean Music Summit in Barbados. The Caribbean music summit was an educational experience with panels of music industry experts from around the world offering insight into various avenues which artists and songwriters can pursue in order to move their careers further. It also provided the opportunity for individuals to network directly with music professionals in order to foster new relationships.

[Photo Caption {above}: ECCO General Manager Steve Etienne, with ECCO Member Jemmot Anthony from St Vincent, at the Caribbean Music Summit]
[Photo Caption {below}: ECCO Members Chrycee & The Mecca, from St Lucia with Barbadian songwriter and producer Young D Johnson]

caribbean music summit mecca chrycee d

Another proud achievement for 2015 was the decision tomecca and I bring back the company’s weekly radio program “Musically Speaking,” with two new young, exciting and dynamic hosts, The Mecca & Chrycee. Through the new and revamped Musically Speaking program, ECCO has been able to reach a diverse and growing audience; to continuously empower members and the general public with information related to music rights and to highlight the accomplishments of members throughout the Eastern Caribbean.

Catch the Dynamic Duo, The Mecca & Chrycee when Musically Speaking returns in the new year on Saturday January 9, 2016 from 11:00am on RSL 97, http://www.rslonline.com.

In July 2015, ECCO in partnership with PRS for Music in the United Kingdom, and fellow Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS) members (BSCAP in Belize, COSCAP in Barbados, COTT in Trinidad & Tobago and JACAP in Jamaica) signed a license agreement with iTunes for the Caribbean. Following a service agreement signed with PRS for Music, royalties from the iTunes agreement is expected to begin flowing from April 2016.

Kudos should definitely be extended to the management, staff and agents of ECCO for significant growth in general licensing throughout the EC territory. At present almost all leading hotels in St Lucia are currently licensed by ECCO save for two major non-compliant users, which the music rights society is currently addressing through the litigation process. Further, for the year ECCO boasts licensing successes such as the St Kitts Marriott, and the Four Seasons Hotel in St Kitts and Nevis; Sandals La Source in Grenada; Grand Pinapple, Curtain Bluff, Sandals. CTV – Cable Network, Vibz FM and Caribbean Radio Lighthouse in Antigua & Barbuda; Kairi FM, Fort Young Hotel, Digicel Stores, Digicel SAT, Courts, First Caribbean Bank and LIME Stores in Dominica and Unicomer SVG Ltd. (Courts), Splash Sports Bar, Club Heights and Mario’s Ranch in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Unfortunately, while the major music festivals and events across the OECS are licensed by ECCO, the company suffered an unexpected drop in revenue from music festivals over 2014 as a result of Tropical Storm Erika which reeked severe damage to the island of Dominica, resulting in the cancellation of one of the island’s biggest festivals, the Dominica World Creole Music Festival.

Yet ever conscious of the livelihoods and well-being of its members, ECCO reached out to colleagues in Dominica by making a donation of $5,000 towards the assistance of five ECCO members in Dominica who suffered loss as a result of the storm

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[Photo Caption: ECCO Chairman McCarthy Marie presents ECCO Members affected by Tropical Storm Erika with monetary donation on behalf of ECCO]

Lastly, ECCO brought the year to a close, with the hosting of Corporate Governance workshop for its directors, through its umbrella organization, ACCS. This Board Module and Training Program is a special initiative aimed at improving the governance, leadership and accountability of Collective Management Organizations (CMO)s in Caribbean economies. The rationale behind the development and hosting of this board training module steamed from the fact that as CMOs in the Caribbean grow and their membership and services expand, they are increasingly required to be accountable for their activities and to address long standing and emerging issues faced by stakeholders in the industry including knowledge of Intellectual Property Rights (IP), digitalization, piracy, business climates and practices unsupportive of copyright and related rights management, etc. As such, recognizing, an urgent need to strengthen IP knowledge and governance especially at the level of the Board in order to build capacity to carry out their duties effectively.

This training initiative was being conducted jointly between the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS) and the TAG of Excellence initiative of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) who jointly funded the project. The main beneficiaries of the Workshop were the CMOs and RROs (Reprographic Rights Organizations) within the Caribbean region, specifically those in small vulnerable economies such as Barbados, the OECS, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.

With a successful year drawing to an end, ECCO is geared up and ready to foster further growth, development and change for its members and the wider music community in 2016. A few of the planned changes and initiatives which members and the public can expect and look forward to in 2016, include:

  • The continuation of the Calypso in Berlin project with plans are being made for a Summer Festival to be held in Berlin, Germany, in partnership with COSCAP (Barbados) and Piranha Arts (Germany).
  • Moving to a regionally sourced web based Licensing system for agents and Head Office Staff in February 2016.
  • Closer working relationship with COSCAP with joint processes aimed at improving efficiency (reducing operating expenditure and increasing royalties to members).
  • Increased distributions – ECCO will be making 4 royalty payments in 2016
    o March 2016 – Jingles and Foreign Royalties
    o July 2016 – Broadcasting and General for performance period Jan-December 2015)
    o October 2016 – Carnival, Live and Foreign Royalties
    o December 2016 – Broadcasting & General for performance period Jan-June 2016)
  • The hosting of the 1st ever ECCO Music Awards in November 2016 in St Lucia
  • Training programs for Directors and Members.
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Claim your share of over $100,000 in undistributed royalties from ECCO

unclaimed-money-e1349011783217-266x94Every time ECCO (Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights) makes a distribution of royalties to its members and international affiliates, 25% of works performed on average, are classed as unidentifiable. Meaning, for a number of reasons such as; corrupt title (e.g. ‘Rance with me’ instead of ‘Dance with me’ to state a simple example); or the writer is unknown; or no connection between artist/performer with the songwriter; or the work is not registered locally; or work cannot be found in international databases and a countless no. of other reasons.

In the above situation ECCO has to keep these, referred to as PI (Pending Identification) for a rolling three years during which time PI distributions are performed on a regular basis to reduce the levels. PI list are also shared with sister societies regionally and extra regionally so that representatives of foreign rights holders have an opportunity to claim from these outstanding royalties.Music Royalties

For the first time, in January 2016, the PI list will be made available to members who will be allowed to research and claim performances they identify as belonging to them.

Therefore members are encouraged to make an appointment to visit the office and examine the PI file that will be made available at the ECCO Head Office. Members based overseas will also have the opportunity to scrutinize the file through arrangement with the Local ECCO Director in the wider ECCO territories who will also have a copy of the PI file.

To claim a share in over $100,000 in unpaid royalties, member claiming works from the list would have to identify his/her performances and if work is unregistered would need to complete registration forms and present a copy of the recording following which a payment would be made.

ECCO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: JOEL “DYNAMITE” TYRIL

Dynamite 1“All when them, na believe in me, me believe in me forever. Me ha fi have faith as a mustard seed, me believe in me. Aim beyond the stars, go fe wey you want. Work hard.”

These powerful words resound through Joel “Dynamite” Tyril’s inspirational reggae track, “Believe,” as the 24-year-old recording artiste and songwriter, in his timbre expressive voice urges his listeners to fully go after their dreams.

By his own accord, Dynamite considers himself a “positive, self-motivated light,” with workaholic tendencies. Determined to fill the void of positive music which he believes currently exists in young contemporary music, Dynamite says his focus is to bring to the scene an abundance of high energy dancehall and reggae music with in-depth lyrics and uplifting punch lines.

His love for music was nurtured at an early age on account of his father’s daily 5am reggae music sessions. So it wasn’t long before a young Dynamite was performing—albeit on the lunch time playground!—as he and his primary school classmates would host their own freestyle battles to see who amongst them had the best lyrics! Suffice it to say, Dynamite won his fair share of those school-boy contests.

Dynamite 2As his spark for music continued to ignite, Dynamite says, the flame soon became so bright, that he couldn’t help but decide to fully pursue this passion. He decided to take his craft more seriously and at age 16, started writing music. By 19, Dynamite began recording and producing his own music, while balancing his academic pursuits.

Dynamite lists his greatest music accomplishments to date as, winning the 2015 National Association of Music Professionals (AMP) Award for best reggae single, performing on the same stage with Sizzla, Protégé, TOK and Mr. Vegas; and Being able to release two official music videos.

“Belief, faith and willingness to persist and stay consistent despite the temporary setback,” are his formula for success, says Dynamite as he offers that his ultimate music goals are to touch and change as many lives through his music and to win 7 Grammy awards!

But the dynamic Dynamite says he is under no pretense that achieving his dreams will be easy. Being based in the Eastern Caribbean, Dynamite says promotions and gaining exposure in the international markets are perhaps two of the greatest challenges faced, by not just him but other Caribbean artists. He however refuses to let these challenges cripple him, stating that instead he seeks to seize every opportunity afforded to him, to share his music, whether face-to-face, online or through constant music giveaways.

Keep abreast with Dynamites Musical Journey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dynamitetunes

Instagram: @dynamitesongs or https://www.instagram.com/dynamitesongs/

Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/dynamitesongs

My Space: https://myspace.com/dynamitesongs

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkxGxp9fxxQoWmBZQ4sTGfA

For Booking contact email: dynamitebookings@yahoo.com

 

Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne

Royalty Reality Check: Why EC Music Creators Earn as Little as 2 Cents Per Play

music-and-moneyYou spent hours at your computer screen—typing, deleting, retyping—just to get your lyrics right. Followed by sleepless nights in the studio till finally you had a product you were proud to publicly release. Then came music promotion—telephone calls, email blasts, social media campaigns, radio interviews, sample giveaways; the works!

You work tirelessly on your music projects, so there is no doubt that you expect, at the very least, to reap a decent return, including from broadcast royalties. Yet when the payout is made, it’s not at all what you expected. You know your song received a fair-share of airplay, so what happened?

The answer lies in the mathematical computations of how royalties are generated, coupled with factors such as radio station earnings, number of times the song is played, the royalty value per play, and of course the number of creators on that song.

In a recent interview with ECCO Musically Speaking program hosts, General Manager of the Eastern Caribbean Collective Rights Organization (ECCO) inc, Steve Etienne sought to provide greater insight into how broadcast royalties are generated and calculated, and to identify affecting factors.

To begin, Etienne noted that licensed broadcast radio stations are charged a royalty rate 2.5% of their revenue which allows them to use any of the millions of works administered by ECCO. He added that generally radio stations predominately earn their revenue from advertising. As such Etienne explained that the revenue earned from a radio station, and therefore the amount paid to ECCO in royalties, fluctuate year to year.

imagesCAA4GQVUAccording to Etienne, statistics over the last fifteen (15) years demonstrates that although there are now more radio stations in operation—an increase from 4 national stations in 2000, to now 18 radio stations in the St Lucia market alone —there has been a vast reduction in the amount earn by each station. Etienne provided the comparison that fifteen years ago, in 2000, the average radio station would have earned at least $1 million dollars a year in revenue, compared to 2014’s average earnings of $350,000 per station per year. This he explains would have resulted in a drop in royalty paid per radio stations from an average of $25,000 a year (i.e. 2.5% of $1million) in 2000 to a current average of $8,750 per station in 2014.

With the average radio stations playing at least 12 songs an hour, Etienne calculated that there are an average of 105,120 song spins in a year per station. Based on the average $8,750 per collected from radio stations for broadcast royalties, this equates to an average of 8 cents paid per track (before taking into consideration operational expenses of ECCO and member tax liability).

At while 8cents per play may be the average, the reality is there are cases where it dips below this miniscule amount. Etienne offered the example that the organization was currently negotiating with a key radio station who claim (subject to their audited returns) that their projection of $90,000 in sales for 2014 was greatly overstated. A quick calculation will inform one that a value of a performance on that media house will be less than 2 cents. So while the listener or the ECCO member may hear their song being played in ‘heavy’ rotation on that station the value is relatively miniscule.

We must also considering the fact that the average song would have at least two creators, sometimes more—lyricist and composer. This means that this 8cents or even 2cents generated per play of that song must further be broken down per creator!

textgram_1449241575The reality is that, at a rate of 8cents per spin, music composers would have had to have their works on constant rotation in order to generate a sizeable royalty payment. Imagine that in order for one song to generate at least $80 in royalties it would have to be played at least 1,000 times. At 2cents per spin, 1000 plays of that one song would in turn generate a mere $20.00

We must now couple these equations with the fact that ECCO statistics derived from radio station airplay logs, reveals that on average 90% of the music played are from foreign music creators. It’s no wonder then, that the slice of the royalty pie left for local music creators is a thin one.

So let’s break it down shall we? If 90% of the airplay is of foreign music, 10% is therefore from local music creators. This means that out of 105,120 per year on one station, 10,515 of those spins (10% of 105,120) are local content. At the average 8cents per spin, an average of $840 of the yearly revenue earned from one
station is allocated to local music creators. And let’s not forget that this amount; is before we consider ECCO operational costs; is subject to income tax; and has to be shared amongst a number of music creators.

And the reality, Etienne says, is that while ECCO can advocate or plea for greater consumption of local music, the company can in no way mandate or force a station to meet a certain quota of local music. Rather according to broadcasting laws, ECCO is responsible for ensuring that stations are licensed and that the 2.5% of revenue is paid towards royalties. As an organization, ECCO has no clout over what music content radio stations choose to play.

Ytextgram_1449241388et while the current local landscape may appear bleak, Etienne believes change is possible, and that there are certain things which members and music creators can do, in order to earn a livelihood from their arts.

Etienne believes there is power in music creators presenting a united front, and lobbying for a greater level of local content on radio stations. Additionally Etienne encourages members to continuously work on honing their craft and developing their music product to meet the standards of music which is constantly aired on radio stations.

The ECCO general manager also believes it important that members, understanding the dynamics of their local landscape and therefore do not rely solely on local music consumption, but also seek to increase their marketing and promotional drives in the hopes of generating greater airplay and performances outside of the Eastern Caribbean region. Collaborations with foreign music creators, he says is certainly one way to generate increased exposure and airplay outside of the Eastern Caribbean.

Further Eitenne believes it important that members continuously take advantage of the various opportunities offered by ECCO, such as the recent calypso in Berlin initiative, in order to aid members to increase their knowledge-base and gain greater exposure worldwide.

On a positive note, whilst overall royalties from airplay either dipped or remained the same, ECCO can boast of increased revenue from general licensing (hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and stores, etc.). This revenue is currently added to broadcasting revenue and distributed with reference to airplay which inflates the value of airplay.

—Written by Christine “Chrycee” Charlemagne
Pictures retrieved from:

http://getitonvinyl.com/truth-behind-decline-digital-download/

http://www.123rf.com/photo_12449261_declining-graph-on-a-stack-of-coins-isolated.html