Online parties rise, but JACAP royalties decline
They have no intention of being party poopers, but the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP) is warning that online parties and events are still required to pay over royalty fees, as they are still utilising the work of others.
Lydia Rose, general manager of JACAP, tells eProbe that now more than ever, they are urging music users to "act most responsibly."
"The laws have not changed, and all users of music are obligated to act legally when using the creator's property, even online. As such they should apply for the appropriate licence. Especially in these difficult times, the creators need music users to act most responsibly," said Rose.
According to Rose, music has always played a vital role, as it "has stood out as a critical component to entertain and maintain the sanity of humanity," and especially during this time, "we are appealing to and hoping that sponsors of these events will only associate their brands with events that are using music legally."
Parties recently went online after the Government announced last month that places of amusement must be closed in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, there is a nightly islandwide curfew currently in effect, the Government making adjustments for the Easter Weekend, and a new curfew time of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., to be implemented after the holidays.
With all the restrictions, virtual parties have been on the rise as selectors go live via their social media pages, replicating that party-like atmosphere for viewers to log on and enjoy.
However, JACAP tells eProbe that royalties collected have been on the decline.
There has been "very minimal collection" from these virtual parties, as the collection rate is only five per cent, Rose indicated.
She reminds that the process remains the same, but "the fees are lower and would only attract a flat fee as the variables are different, for example, no venue component."
One organiser, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was aware of the requirements, but had not gone in to settle fees as yet.
"I'm actually in the process of getting things together to go in and make payment," he said.
However, veteran disc jock and broadcaster 'The Captain' Collin Hines doesn't see JACAP winning any points with this latest move.
"People who are playing music to amuse themselves over Instagram is like playing music at yuh yard ... social media facilitates and people can take in what they are doing. Is anybody making money off it? JACAP needs to be a little more sensitive," said Hinds.
JACAP, like any other business, has also been impacted by COVID-19. Since the lockdown, Rose said that JACAP has seen a 50 per cent dip "and falling", in royalties collected.
And as far as daily operations go, Rose says "We must comply with the government's guidelines and social distancing protocols, while still trying to provide full service to our membership and stakeholders".
"We therefore have minimal staff in the office and others are working from home. Also, we have had to lay off temporary staff for now," she said.
Rose also said that due to the massive fall in income being earned by the membership, the board is currently looking at formulating financial assistance.
"We are also in dialogue with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, regarding the government of Jamaica's CARE Programme to benefit the creative industry. We strongly recommend our membership to communicate with the Ministry ... to register with the E-Registry to access some of these benefits," said Rose.