BUMA kickback scheme spark angry response from managers

July 2015

Live events sector



Dutch collection society BUMA’s recent practice of rewarding the country’s biggest promoters with a kickback for ‘helping’ to collect the levy on live music concerts to reward songwriters and music publishers has come under fire after a number of tour accountants for acts who pen their own material could not reconcile deductions made by promoters against revenues received by their songwriter clients from their own collection societies – even after taking into account usually collection society commissions which are generally accepted. BUMA apparently set up the practice around 1999 after forcing through a rate riise for the use of music to 7% of Box Office net of VAT  – but was offering a 25% kickback of that levy to some promoters and venues in the Netherlands.
Two managers, Paul Crockford who manages Mark Knopfler, and Brian Message of ATC who manages Nick Cave & the Bad Seed,  both made arrangements with their artistes’ publishers and UK music collection society PRS for Music to make direct collections from promoters. Message also manages P J Harvey and Radiohead and Crockford also manages Level 42.
Whilst many managers are asking for ‘transparency’, the UK’s Music Managers Forum says that the people who lose out in this situation are the performer artists (who are suffering the deduction), and the writers and publishers (who are not receiving the full amount being deducted on their behalf). The MMF says discussions between BUMA, PRS for Music and the MMF have failed to resolve matters
Ruben Brouwer, head of legal affairs at Live Nation owned Mojo Concerts, has suggested a flat rate of 5.25% should apply to all promoters and venues in Holland. The rate in the UK is 3% of Box Office although the PRS are now running a consultation with the presumned hope they can raise this.
Some promoters and venues have refused to accept a new version of the rebate scheme offered by BUMA, and are taking BUMA to the Supervisory Board for collection societies in The Netherlands.

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