Pandemic: CISAC President Björn Ulvaeus Brings A Songwriter’s Clarity to Policy Decisionmaking

CISAC’s annual report is a must-read for anyone interested in what the collection numbers tell us about what to expect for coming years in creator incomes. Björn Kristian Ulvaeus of Abba is the President of CISAC (highlighting another important difference between The MLC and many other creator collecting societies run by suits). Björn’s statement is important to read as he’s very up front about what the short and longer term futures hold for creators if we don’t take action.

How should policymakers look to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on creators? One commitment should be to protect and reinforce their rights, especially in the digital world.

This applies to all repertoires: for example, to audiovisual creators, screenwriters and directors, for whom the impact of COVID-19 is far greater because, in so many countries, they lack a fair right to remuneration. Governments can also help visual artists by adopting the resale right that provides crucial income to the creator when works are re-sold.

We’ve seen pop stars streaming their latest song live from their kitchen. Let’s agree on one thing – however talented they are, it’s boring. Boring! As a former pop star myself, I take the liberty to say that. It will never be a substitute for a packed stadium or a sold-out theatre performance in the West End or on Broadway. We must keep this in mind; without support, all this culture infrastructure may collapse and our societies will be poorer for it. I would go as far as to say that our societies, once rich in culture, will be grey and barren. It may sound alarmist, but I do believe that’s where we are.

We’ll be delving into the CISAC annual report that has many interesting nuggets, but starting with Björn’s frank assessment is a refreshing change from the rose-colored glasses.

You can read the entire report here (in English, French and Spanish)