Press Release: Nordic Musicians Union Condemns Copyright Buyouts

[Editor T says “Looking at you, Epidemic Sound!”]

At its meeting on the 21st of April 2021, the Nordic Musicians Union, NMU, discussed the issue of copyright buyouts.

Technological development has been rapid in connection with digitalisation and globalization. This has challenged existing remuneration models that have been developed over a long period of time. This includes legislation, agreements, and collective management organisations. This rapid development has affected the income of performers in a very negative way.

We note that the compensation levels generated via digital uses are unreasonably low. Therefore, the NMU, at both national and international levels, have introduced the need for stricter legislation regarding the balance of power in negotiations. This includes mandatory rules that ensure a reasonable remuneration for digital uses. The European Commission has acknowledged this need in the 2019 Copyright Directive by introducing provisions on appropriate and proportionate remuneration to authors and performers and further provisions to improve the bargaining position of performers. The Directive shall be implemented no later than 7 June 7, 2021.

The NMU recognise that business models are emerging that work around the legislation by maximizing the use of musicians’ and artists’ performances whilst ignoring long-standing practices and established copyright systems. Instead, they pay one-time compensation, undermine the moral rights, and might even demand that musicians and artists leave their own collection management organisations.

NMU’s view is that musicians should be paid fairly and correctly, both for their labour and for their copyright based on the actual exploitation over time. The moral rights must be fully respected and the choice to be a member of one’s own collective management organisation must be defended.

Performing artists receive far too little of the value that music generates when it is used. During the Corona pandemic, it has become all too clear that musicians need the backing and support of legislators as well as the audience and the music industry.

The NMU strongly opposes wholesale of rights for any possible use, known or yet to be discovered, against a one-off payment. Complete buyouts are not the future business model for performers!


the Swedish Musicians Union

the Swedish Union of Professional Musicians, SYMF

the Finnish Musicians Union

the Danish Musicians Union, DMF

the Union of arts and culture of Norway, Creo

the Icelandic Musicians’ Union, FIH