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JAMMS members receive royalties in summer payout

Published:Sunday | August 18, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Patrons enjoying the musical vibe at a party.

Record producers, who are members of the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), are having more to smile about these days.

For the fifth consecutive year, JAMMS is paying out performance royalties to its local members and international affiliates.

JAMMS' local members and international affiliates are now in the process of receiving royalty payments from the Society's summer royalty payout.

Since 2009, and including the amount earmarked for 2013, the society has allocated in the region of J$34 million for royalty distribution of which approximately 50 per cent is remitted to international rights-owners, which includes the major international recording companies, all of which have significant catalogues of sound recordings that get played in Jamaica.

The society further reports that the total distributable royalties for year 2013 grew by 26% over the amount for 2012, with a provision also being made for reserves. The society reiterates that reserves are a critical aspect of collecting the societies' stability and risk management mechanism, especially during periods of growth.

Since its establishment, many local record producers/record labels have been benefiting from the performance royalties paid out by JAMMS. The general manager of JAMMS, Evon Mullings, notes however, that there were local producers who were at first hesitant to join the organisation.

Mullings indicates that the hesitancy was attributable to some record producers, "wanting to wait and see if JAMMS, as a new organisation, would deliver on its mandate". He states that JAMMS has done exactly what it set out to do, which is to collect and pay out royalties. He concluded by saying, "The society has demonstrated its commitment and ability to be effective in managing the rights of its members, and be a leader in setting new standards for performance rights management."

new technology

As part of that effort to be efficient and effective, JAMMS implemented technology already being used by many foreign societies to aid in delivering better results. The technology implemented is an automatic airplay monitoring system that allows for constant and accurate logging of information on all songs played on air in order to more accurately account to its members.

The society, which began operating in 2007, represents record producers ranging from small to the very large and well-established record producers with massive catalogues of sound recordings. A vast majority of the significant and popular local producers are now members of JAMMS. The society has several hundred local members, many of whom are receiving performance royalties for the first time as a result of the work of JAMMS.

As a result of its consistent growth, JAMMS is now paying out royalties twice per year to its local members and international affiliates, and has plans to increase thefrequency of payouts. This, however, will be made possible, JAMMS says, when the level of compliance from 'music users' increases.

The general manager explains that royalty sums paid out in each period are a function of several factors, including the success in growth of its licensing activities, the rate of growth of its membership, and the continued compliance of already-licensed music users.


There are still music users including some nightclub operators and party promoters, who are not complying with the legal requirement to 'pay to play'. The licensing requirement has been a part of copyright law for many years, locally and internationally, but enforcement needed to be more robust. However, scope for music users to evade the requirement is getting more narrow. Since May 2013, JAMMS stepped up its enforcement activities through a massive collaboration with the Police, designed to bring about greater compliance from party promoters and event organisers. This enforcement campaign is being combined with public awareness initiatives.

JAMMS is a national collecting society that was established to manage rights on behalf of both local and international record producers. It is a not-for-profit members-based organisation representing the rights of several hundred Jamaican record producers, as well as tens of thousands of international record labels, through deals it has signed with other similar collecting societies in foreign territories. The society also has direct mandates from the 'major' international recording companies. This degree of representation ensures that almost all recorded music played in Jamaica falls under the collective management authority of JAMMS.

Record producers who are not yet protected by JAMMS, where airplay royalties are concerned, need to become a member of the society so their rights can also be protected under its collective management authority.

JAMMS is an affiliate of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and is a member of the Association of Caribbean Collecting Societies.