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JACAP pays in excess of $320 million to music creators locally, abroad

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Tarrus Riley
Arif Cooper
Lydia Rose, general manager of JACAP.

The Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) is urging creative persons, especially artistes and songwriters, to become members of societies that can help them collect earnings from their work.

In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner recently, Lydia Rose, general manager of JACAP, revealed that the organisation has a system set up that allows them to know exactly which individual's music is being played at the different events, allowing them to work out how much money is to be paid over to the respective artistes.

"Sound system operators have a system that they use called Serato, which stores the playlist that they used, and we would ask them for that after the event," she said, explaining that JACAP also uses the Serato system. She then went on to explain that playlists from radio stations are also used to aid in the organisation's analysis of music played at different events.

"Studies have shown that what is popular on radio is what is played at parties, so we use what we call 'payment by analogy', where we use the playlists from the radio stations to pay out monies to these artistes."

When asked about those artistes who are not members of JACAP or any similar organisation, Rose explained that monies are collected on their behalf and are distributed to these persons once they become members of JACAP.

"Once we realise that an artiste is not a member of any society andhe/she is Jamaican, we contact him/her to become a member of JACAP," she said, explaining that JACAP doesn't keep the monies collected for persons who aren't members.

"It's not that we collect it (money) and keep it. Once we show how the playlists matches the money and you come up on our system, we will contact you. Persons normally come in and join because they want their money."

As of December 2015, JACAP has distributed in excess of $320 million to music creators, both locally and overseas. On Wednesday, the organisation announced that Tarrus Riley, Reginald Williams (also known as Reggie Stepper), and DJ Arif Cooper were the top earners for 2015, based on monies distributed by JACAP. The top earners received as much as $6 million.

Rose pointed out that despite the work that JACAP has done in helping to ensure that the country's creative minds get their due for the use of their work, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Speaking specifically to the music, Rose said that there are too many entertainment events where music is being played that are held without a JACAP licence. This, she said, is illegal.

"Each entity, promoter or party, whatever it is, once you are playing copyright music, you are supposed to apply for a permit from JACAP and pay to use that music as per the law," she said, highlighting that as the exclusive owners of the music, creators reserve the right to walk into any event where their music is being played, accompanied by a police officer, and stop event promoters from using their music.




"We at JACAP act as the middle person between the creators and the users, so once you come to us and you have that permit, no one can come to you and say you cannot play the music." Stating that the JACAP and the Jamaica Constabulary Force have forged a relationship as it relates to collecting monies for permits, Rose urged promoters of even the small events to apply for their licence, pointing out that failure to obtain a licence could result in fines or imprisonment.

Rose also revealed that JACAP has a structured tariff system that they use to collect monies from different events, explaining that based on the type of event one is hosting, persons can pay up to $18,000 to obtain a JACAP licence. She also revealed that the venue for the event can be a factor when determining how much a promoter pays for the licence.

"If you have a venue that holds 500 persons, the permit and the licence fee would be in accordance with that. So the larger the event, the more money you pay, and if there is a ticket cost, that is also taken into consideration. If there is no ticket cost and the event is free, we have a minimum licence fee that we charge for that."