IMPALA Sets Sights On Increasing Digital Payouts As Recorded Music Revenues Lag Behind Pre-Streaming Levels

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Hamburg, Germany. Photo Credit: Ansgar Scheffold

Europe’s Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA) has rolled out an updated digital strategy that centers on increasing payouts from streaming services and compelling “all labels to pay fair contemporary digital royalties,” according to an official update.

Brussels-headquartered IMPALA, which arrived on the scene in 2000 and says that it represents some 6,000 independent music companies, reached out to DMN with word of its updated digital strategy today. These latest objectives come about 18 months after the organization unveiled a “ten-point plan to reform streaming” and were discussed during a recent IMPALA board meeting in Hamburg.

The first (and perhaps the most noteworthy) priority under the just-detailed strategy is “growing digital income,” IMPALA made clear. In support of the point, the entity emphasized that recorded music revenues have yet to return to their pre-streaming highs, have been reduced in terms of real value due to years of inflation, and are being divided among a massive number of creators.

Next, the 22-year-old organization called for the industry and European governments “to focus on growing the ‘investment stream,’” or “the term IMPALA uses for the financial resources and knowhow which labels make available for nurturing new talent and projects.”

“Pointing to France as the best in class,” penned the business representative, “IMPALA calls for every country to put in place a system of tax credits, favourable loan guarantees and other fiscal tools to boost investment in the recording sector and have a strategic approach in place for growth.”

Shifting gears to the highly controversial Copyright Directive, which, among other things, transfers liability for infringing digital content from users to platforms themselves, IMPALA demanded that “EU countries which have not yet implemented the EU copyright directive…waste no more time.”

(EU member states had until June of 2021 to create their own systems for implementing the Directive. But as no shortage of irked observers have noted, several nations haven’t yet taken steps to enforce the law.)

“Non-EU countries are invited to follow the EU’s lead to ensure a strong protection of copyright,” IMPALA drove home. Also in terms of positions that are likely to elicit pushback, IMPALA said that it had “confirmed its opposition to so-called ‘equitable remuneration’ rights via collecting societies.”

“That would hurt labels’ investment capacity, damage the high growth sector of self-releasing artists, [and] leave creators’ incomes at risk from erratic voting rights and distribution laws within some societies,” IMPALA claimed of equitable remuneration, which certain labels have for obvious reasons likewise criticized.