United Nations hears Fair Trade Music’s message of fair remuneration for creators

Songwriter Eddie Schwartz Joins an Expert Panel in New York to Highlight the Need for a Sustainable Music Economy

New York, USA – 28 April 2015: The Fair Trade Music campaign’s message of fair remuneration for creators was heard at the highest international level today as renowned songwriter Eddie Schwartz spoke out on the confederation’s behalf at the prestigious UN Secretariat in New York. Joining a panel of experts in an event to celebrate “World IP Day 2015”, Mr Schwartz, who is also Co-Chair Music Creators North America and President of the Songwriters Association of Canada, highlighted the importance of both the creator’s cultural contribution and the vital need for a sustainable economy to preserve it.

For the first time in history we have global platforms that can distribute creative content anywhere in the world, but what value is this unprecedented access if the music is virtually worthless? If the revenues don’t flow back to creators, then new music is stifled and young songwriters are unable to enter the industry. The current business model is unsustainable.

– Eddie Schwartz, Songwriter

The panel was organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as part of their “Get Up. Stand up: For Music!” event and also featured a number of other composers and copyright experts. These included Melvin Gibbs, US based musician, composer and producer; Michele Woods, Director of WIPO’s Copyright Law Division; Lily Valtchanova, Liaison Officer for UNESCO; and Tift Merritt, a songwriter and musician from New York.

Though each brought a different perspective to the table, a common theme amongst all of the experts was that the industry and the listening public must properly and respectfully value the creation of music. This fundamental premise that “all work has value” is the basis for the vital development of a sustainable economy for songwriters; one that will both preserve their livelihoods and motivate new artists to enter the industry.

Also commenting upon the event was French electronic music composer and president of The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), Jean Michel Jarre:

We as creators are pro-technology. We embrace it and welcome the wider access to culture that digital devices and services afford the public, and the opportunity to reach wider audiences that technology affords creators. But we need business models that make sense to all parties.

In closing, Mr Schwartz referenced the “Fair Trade Music” programme that he is spearheading alongside a number of other global creators. It aims to raise public awareness of the real plight of independent songwriters in achieving fair remuneration and drive sustainable solutions for an ethical value chain in music.

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