Your Music Your Future buyouts campaign launches in German
The global education resource Your Music Your Future International (YMYFI) has launched in German, helping composers better understand buyouts or their rights and extending the creator-led campaign to six language versions.
Buyouts have become a worldwide issue for creators, driven in part by the growth of powerful global streaming services. Despite the patchwork of different legal environments around the world, composers – and the societies representing them – are facing the same issues in many countries.
YMYFI is a response to the growing demand for clarity around buyouts. It is the only one-stop global information resource for composers, offering comprehensive information and guidance.
YMYFI was created in February 2021, adapting to different international markets the existing composer-led Your Music Your Future movement in the US. The campaign has made big strides and gained widespread support. With more than 20,000 subscribers, versions of YMYFI are now available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish and German).
The new German site has gone live this month. Music society GEMA has partnered with CISAC to build the resource and help German-speaking music creators better understand their options when faced with buyout offers by users of their works.
Buyouts vs Royalties: what is the best deal?
Traditionally, royalty income has been the only dependable source of earnings for creators, ensuring them the security of a long-term continuous income stream. Today increasingly platforms and broadcasters are imposing buyouts on composers (including performing rights) in exchange for a lump sum fee.
Buyouts change the remuneration equation with important implications for creators’ careers. Case studies and testimonies of creators featuring on the YMYFI site show that many composers feel obliged to accept buyouts out of fear for their future career.
German creators support for YMYFI
Composer and musician Diane Weigmann, Deputy member of the GEMA Board, said: “Artists or creators should never give up their rights to music or works they have created in a total buyout. Knowing that even several years later someone else can do whatever they want with it, and you won’t see a cent for it, that doesn’t just feel unfair, that IS unfair and unjustifiable. And suddenly your song is running for a big commercial – everyone is earning from it except you as the author? It is your RIGHT to have a say in who, what and at what value your art is exploited.”
Composer and GEMA Board member Jörg Evers said: “The hard-won right of authors to appropriate remuneration or profit-sharing in the use of their works should never be circumvented or undermined by so-called ‘buyouts’. It is an indispensable human right and enables creators to secure their livelihoods in the long term.”
Joel Beckerman, composer and founder of Your Music Your Future in the U.S., said: “I am thrilled that Your Music Your Future has been adapted for the betterment of composers throughout German-speaking countries. This education campaign is for composers, by composers around the world, and is designed to help music creators understand their rights, their choices and the ramifications of those choices. The music we create has tremendous value in culture, and as trusted collaborators we have earned the right to earn a living. Education is the key. This is not solely an issue in Europe or the U.S. It’s a global issue, and it is for this reason that composers must stand together. We are not alone in this”.
Key topics on the site include:
- what are total buyouts?
- why buyouts are becoming more prevalent
- how “buyout clauses” work in contracts
- royalties vs lump sum: weighing up the options
- varying laws surrounding total buyouts in different regions and territories
- how creators can raise awareness for greater legal protection of their work
In Germany, GEMA represents the copyrights of around 85,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) as well as over two million rights owners from all over the world. It is one of the largest authors’ societies for music worldwide.
CISAC – the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers – is the world’s leading network of authors’ societies (also referred to as Collective Management Organisations, or CMOs). CISAC protects the rights and represents the interests of creators worldwide. With 228 member societies in 119 countries, CISAC represents over four million creators of music, audiovisual, drama, literature, and visual arts.
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