Local officials are hoping that a new regional music database to be introduced early next year will help to increase royalty payments.
Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (COSCAP) Erica Smith explained that while there was generally a high level of compliance in Barbados, the new platform, called C-Note, will result in a more accurate capture of the use of local or regional music at certain establishments.
“The primary aim of the database is to encourage the use of Caribbean music and to promote the licensed use of music through the offer of what we think would be very attractive rates,” Smith told Barbados TODAY during the recent online launch.
“So, hopefully, regional hotels and other users will find this an attractive and positive development and be supportive of it and see that we are trying to make it as affordable as possible. Hopefully, it will decrease the level of infringement,” she added.
The new music licensing system, an online digital database of regional sound recordings, aims to increase the access and use of Caribbean music, and in the first instance, will target regional hotels.
It is hoped that the platform will be introduced in February 2021, allowing clients to stream music directly from the database to their premises. The platform will track each use of the recordings so that royalties will be made strictly on a per use basis.
It is a venture of the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS), which is made up of COSCAP from Barbados, the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JCAP), the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights Inc. (ECCO), the Copyright Music Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (COTT) and the Belize Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (BSCAP).
Smith said the hotel industry has been one of the key sectors for the use of regional music content over the years. She said there continued to be a “very good” compliance rate with local hotels in relation to the payment of royalties.
“In terms of how big a concern, there are few who do not pay in terms of Barbados, but generally I can say here the level of compliance is generally quite good,” said Smith.
However, she said the C-Note platform should give a better indication since currently the way licence fees were paid was based on a somewhat flawed system.
“What this means is that the licence fees collected from hotels are paid out against performances on radio. So even if your hotel is currently using quite a bit of regional or local music, it is not captured. Instead, we use radio logs and if 60 or 70 per cent of the music on radio is international, it means the royalty payments of hotels would be paid according to that ratio. So this platform allows us to have a more accurate capture and knowing that, regional creators will benefit more,” Smith explained.
Officials have not yet revealed the single tariff to be charged for the use of the C-Note database, which will consist of different genres of music.
“There is one other advantage to the database… Certainly, as the database is developed, it will represent the most comprehensive repository of music, at least for the English-speaking Caribbean; that is a non-commercial aspect to the initiative. We certainly want to work with governments and other interested parties in developing that side of it. For the first time, we will have, and the region will own, a comprehensive database of Caribbean music,” she said.