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Reeperbahn Campus: Promoters won’t share sponsorship with GEMA

By | Published on Tuesday 28 September 2010

There were plenty of bold statements made at the Reeperbahn Campus this year, which is what you want at your music business conventions I suppose. Following bold remarks made against YouTube and Spotify by Alexander Wolf of GEMA, the boss of the German association for concert promoters, BDV, had some pretty touch talking aimed at, well, GEMA.

Jens Michow was talking about moves by the German publishing collecting society to get a cut of the live sector’s sponsorship revenues in addition to a slice of ticket, catering and bar sales. The sponsorship share was part of a revamped live music license launched by GEMA earlier this year, though that actual part of the new license is currently on hold while the publishing and live industries hammer out how it might work.

Though given Michow’s comments at a meeting of the BDV at the Reeperbahn Festival last week, the consensus on the live side of the equation seems to be it can’t work. According to Billboard’s Berlin correspondent, Michow said: “We’ve had enough. We are not going to allow GEMA to earn even more from us. We need the money ourselves just to be able to finance our concerts. If things go on like this, small and medium-size concert promoters will no longer be able to organise large international concerts because GEMA is ruining profitability”. The remarks were applauded by Michow’s audience of promoters.

GEMA, who were not present at the BDV meeting, insist that the law is on their side because Germany’s collective licensing arbitration board, sort of the German equivalent of our Copyright Tribunal, accepted its demands for a cut of sponsorship money. But, according to Billboard, the promoters’ trade body says it is prepare to go legal if no agreement can be reached with the collecting society on this issue.