Malaysia artistes singing the blues over royalties

PETALING JAYA - Karyawan, the Malaysian Artistes Association, is concerned that its 4,000-odd members are not getting music royalties according to airplay time.

Its president Datuk Freddie Fer­­nandez said that PRISM Sdn Bhd paid artistes according to the num­ber of albums they made in­s­­tead of airplay time for their music.

He claimed that PRISM Sdn Bhd, which collected over RM11million (S$4.3million) from 2004 until it was dissolved in 2012, lacked transparency in its distribution of royalties.

The company was replaced by PRISM Bhd in 2012.

"There were many questions about the distribution of money. Those who recorded many albums years ago received more than the newer artistes whose music is more popular. That's not how royalty payment works - if you want more money, make music that receives regular airplay," he said.

"In the next five years, our goal is to see performers receiving at least RM25mil in yearly royalties. Previously, we fought for performers to receive more but PRISM Sdn Bhd said it was only right that recording companies get a larger share because they had invested so much in the artistes," he said.

MACP chairman and veteran com­­poser Habsah Hassan said MACP represented the majority of songwriters and publishers.

"We are very transparent. Mem­bers can seek clarification anytime if they are not satisfied."

PPM chief executive officer Ra­­mani Ramalingam admitted that recording companies and songwriters had stronger rights compared to recording performers because of how copyright laws had evolved.

He said PPM collected more than RM2.5million between end of 2012 and June 30 this year on behalf of Recording Performers Malaysia (M) Bhd and the money would be distributed to its members for the first time by the end of this year.

Ramani, who is also the RIM Group CEO, said that it had been decided that a joint committee chaired by the ministry's secretary-general would sit down with the trade associations and music licensing bodies to address these issues within the next two months.