IBA to pay music royalties in real time

One of the biggest gripes of Israelis in the entertainment and recording industries is that royalties, if paid at all, are slow in coming. It has long been a source of frustration to recording artists, composers and lyricists to hear their works on radio, television and more recently on mobile phones and to receive no monetary compensation, or to wait for almost a year for the meager royalties. Those days may be over - at least in part - as a result of an agreement reached this week between the Israel Broadcasting Authority and ACUM, the Association of Composers and Musicians. With the help of advanced technology, the IBA will now be able to monitor what was played when and what is owing to whom in a much faster and more efficient manner, and will therefore be able to send reports to ACUM with far less delay than in the past. The new monitoring system will facilitate the payment of royalties in real time, namely in 30 to 60 days. Up until now, the IBA used an antiquated, time-consuming means of collating the information that it transferred to ACUM, with the result that the data pertaining to any given work arrived long after the broadcast. The IBA will use the new technology on television as well, after first ascertaining that it is living up to its promise with regard to radio. According to ACUM CEO Yurik Ben-David, the new initiative is without precedent in Israel and will contribute greatly to the incomes of entertainers and song writers. Israel Radio is currently going through a process of digitalization which when completed will make it easier for broadcasters to keep tab of what was aired and to transfer that information to ACUM. Reshet Bet manager Moti Amir, who is head of the digitalization project, agrees and says that Israel Radio is going through a lengthy digitalization process that will affect all its stations, whose operations will in the final analysis become much more sophisticated and efficient. Amir is hopeful that once other broadcasting outlets, including commercial television stations, see the results of what the IBA is doing, they will follow suit and will not only upgrade their operations but will also contribute to upholding the rights of ACUM members and affiliates.