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Press release: Fruitful discussions at the Creators' Roundtable in LA

Press release: Fruitful discussions at the Creators' Roundtable in LA

On 13th March 2019, the Creators’ Roundtable took place in L.A. hosted by the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) and ECSA. The roundtable is part of ECSA’s Creative Europe funded activity called ‘Transatlantic Dialogue for Sustainable Music’ aiming at discussing and tackling global issues concerning the music creators’ community.

The ECSA delegation, consisting of ECSA President Alfons Karabuda, Vice President Bernard Grimaldi, Secretary General Marc du Moulin and European Affairs and Programme Manager Alicja Swierczek, was welcomed by the SCL delegation including President Ashley Irwin, SCL Recording Secretary Jonathan David Neal and several SCL Board members such as film and game music composer Gary Schymann, composer and arranger Ira Hearshen and film composer and hit songwriter Hélène Muddiman.

The roundtable started with reciprocal updates on relevant political and legal developments in the EU and US for composers and songwriters. Moreover, buy-out contracts and the concrete challenges faced by US and European game music composers were discussed.

Among the roundtable participants were furthermore:

  • Jesper Ankarfeldt - Danish film music composer
  • Rick Carnes – US songwriter, President Songwriters Guild of America, Co-Chair MCNA (Music Creators North America)
  • Marvin Dolgay – Canadian composer, President Emeritus Screen Composers Guild of Canada. Co-Chair MCNA (Music Creators North America)
  • Charles J. Sanders – General Counsel to Songwriters Guild of America and MCNA
  • Starr Parodi – US composer and Songwriter, President of the Alliance of Women Film Composers (AWFC)

The afternoon session continued with a discussion with representatives of the US Copyright Office Reagan A. Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, and Chris Weston of the Policy and International Affairs of the American Copyright office. Updates were given on the Music Modernization Act and the developments regarding moral rights Report in the US.

The Creators’ Roundtable continued with Sarah Kovacs, agent at Kraft-Engel, one of the leading composer agencies who talked about the realities of the streaming as well as game business for composers and songwriters.

More experiences and insights were given by:

  • Shawn LeMone – Vice President Film & TV Music/New Media, ASCAP
  • Jennifer Harmon – Senior Director Film TV & Visual Media, ASCAP
  • Erin Collins – Vice President of Film TV and Developing Media, SESAC

The participants underlined that buy-outs are not a “fait accompli” and there are possibilities to negotiate fairer contracts with streaming services as well as game production companies. They also emphasized the need to raise awareness about those challenges to the whole music creators’ community especially to the younger generation.

ECSA President Alfons Karabuda comments on the roundtable:

Never before has the condition for professional music creation and distribution changed so rapidly as in the present. These movements are almost all global and only in close collaboration with our international network will we be able to take a leading role rather than one of a bystander. This is why the Creators’ Roundtable set-up in partnership with SCL is of such importance.

Transatlantic Dialogue for Sustainable Music