Music creatives see livelihoods threatened by royalty reduction

AKM/Red. 20. Oktober 2022 | Foto: AKM/APA-Fotoservice/Juhasz

Hubert von Goisern supports the AKM's demands for fair royalties

Hubert von Goisern, AKM-Präsident Peter Vieweger, Virginia Ernst, Thomas Larcher and Christopher Seiler

Royalties are an essential source of income for artists and often form the basis of the livelihood. This economic security is now in danger due to the ORF's demand for a 30% cut in the broadcast fee. With the support of numerous Austrian artists, the AKM – which represents the copyrights of composers, lyricists and music publishers in Austrian – has declared itself unable to accept this reduction and is therefore submitting a statute proposal to the copyright senate.

The economic situation is a great challenge for everyone right now. There was a considerable reduction in royalties during the pandemic and now extremely high inflation is coming into effect. A reduction in the broadcasting fee from the ORF represents an existential threat to artists. "Therefore "appropriate, fair remuneration for all music creatives and an adjustment of the current tariff to general economic conditions are therefore essential," says the President of the AKM, Peter Vieweger.

Artists support AKM's demands

Music creatives in Austria fully support the AKM's demands. "Many of us are full-time composers and lyricists, whose livelihoods are covered almost exclusively by royalty payments from the AKM. There's no comparable reduction in remuneration in any other industry and we shouldn't have it either", says singer-songwriter Virginia Ernst.

Hubert von Goisern added: "The AKM doesn't just take care of our royalties, it's also a great supporter of concerts in Austria. Without the funding from the AKM – for example for the Austrian Music Fund – many young artists would be denied start-up assistance. One mustn't forget the old-age security and social support in the event of serious emergencies, which we at AKM can rely on."

Musician Christopher Seiler also emphasises the social aspect: "AKM is an important institution for young music creatives in particulars, giving them a certain security in difficult economic times. Royalties are often their only source of income."

Aside from the economic aspects, there is also the ORF's cultural mandate to consider. "The ORF's status under public law is dependent on their educational and cultural mandate – this cannot just be an empty catchword. The ORF must communicate and support cultural variety. We do not currently see this mandate being completely fulfilled," says composer Thomas Larcher.

Open letter to the ORF

In an open letter to the ORF, the AKM and with it a multitude of music creatives urgently call for the broadcasting corporation to:

  1. Comprehensively fulfil its legal cultural mandate
  2. Give Austrian musicians an appropriate place in its programmes, and
  3. Adequately remunerate the composers, lyricists and music publishers without whose services the ORF would not be possible.

Peter Vieweger concludes: "We therefore demand – in line with the "Fair Pay" initiative launched by the Austrian Federal Government – that the ORF increases our fees and royalties, because royalties are not pocket money! In addition, we wish for payers of the GIS licensing fees fulfils its responsibilities and offers musical quality. AKM makes the musical world repertoire available for this – under the aforementioned conditions."