Trade organization STOMP has called on Dutch artists to take action against the RAAP-PPI ruling. According to STOMP, a significant part of artists’ income is at risk and at least 125 million euros a year in music income is at risk of disappearing from Europe. Kees van Weygen, head of the STOMP group, and Floris Janssen, general manager of 8ball Music, explain why an open letter was sent to draw attention to the consequences and impact of the ruling.
What exactly is the problem?
Kees van Weijen: “European artists who use music in America don’t get paid for it. In the Netherlands, catering, shops, radio and television don’t pay for American talent. In other words, America doesn’t pay for our recording rights, so we don’t pay them either. RAAP-PPI ruling Because we are not allowed to use that reciprocity in Europe, and millions of music revenue goes to America, while getting nothing in return.
Floris Janssen: “Due to the new law, a maximum of 40% of the total income Sena collects on behalf of artists and producers now goes to the US instead of Dutch artists and producers. Because 40% of the music we consume in the Netherlands comes from America. So the ‘army bag’ for Dutch artists is reduced by a maximum of 40%.
What were the reactions to your open letter calling attention to the RAAP-PPI ruling?
FJ: “The RAAP-PPI ruling has been going on for some time, but we noticed that a lot of artists are still not fully aware of what is happening and what the (financial) consequences are. Managers and artists call me surprised and tell me that they sent the letter. That’s what we wanted to achieve: Creating awareness.
KvW: “What we do at Impala and Stamp is a ‘far from my bed’ show for a lot of people. Some of the things we deal with may not apply over the years. That open letter was an eye-opener for a lot of people.
What do you hope to achieve?
FJ: “First, we hope our members are aware of the consequences of the judgment. It is important for managers and artists in the majors to know how the pie is divided. International labels with many American talents are improving with the RAAP-PPI ruling. In the Netherlands, the share of American talent is huge. There is no country in Europe that plays so much American music. The RAAP-PPI verdict is a big problem for independents with high national output. You don’t hear much about it from adults.
KvW: “The money that is now going to the US without income was previously used to invest in new artists and records. That’s what investing in music is all about.”
What should happen?
KvW: “The EU simply needs to make a decision and negotiate with the Americans. The base is the Treaty of Rome, which was not signed by the US. That’s where the biggest hole lies. Nothing against reciprocity, but the problem is that it is not explicitly mentioned in the Treaty of Rome and the European rules. We have been fighting for this for more than three years. Being in the works means it’s no ‘walk in the park’.
FJ: “Also, different rights systems operate in each European country with different accents. That doesn’t make it any easier. Fortunately, independent labels in Europe can count on a company as effective as IMPALA. They know where to go and with whom in Europe. I keep insisting: it is the Dutch artists who suffer the most; We stand for their interests.
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome (signed in 1961) was created to provide additional income to artists and (session) musicians when their works are publicly performed, broadcast or streamed. In countries that have signed the Treaty of Rome (including the Netherlands, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Japan, Greece, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and Poland), rights bodies collect royalties for rights from neighboring countries. They are then distributed among the members. The absence of America is notable. This country has not signed the Treaty of Rome. So musicians from Europe don’t get royalties for rights from neighboring countries. European countries do not grant neighboring rights to American artists. It’s called “reciprocity,” however, as the 1995 Digital Performance Rights in Sound Recordings Act allows American musicians and master rights holders to collect royalties for digital performances of their works by online radio stations and music streaming platforms.
What is the RAAP-PPI verdict?
In September 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled in the case Registered Artists Acting Artists (RAAP) v Phonography Performance Ireland (PPI). RAAP stands for Artists, PPI stands for Producers. RAAP and PPI disagree about remuneration for artists not resident within the European Economic Area (EEA). In its ruling, the European Court of Justice ruled that rights holders in so-called third states (states not belonging to the EEA) are also entitled to fair compensation. It should only be allowed if it is laid down in European law, which is currently not the case. Only a talent whose original principal owner resides in a country that is a signatory to the Rome Convention (see box) is protected from all forms of disclosure—and the United States is not a signatory to this treaty. An amendment based on the RAAP-PPI ruling was adopted by the House of Representatives and the Senate, resulting in the expiration of protections based on the Treaty of Rome. STOMP’s open letter can be found at Foundomp.nl.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”