Music royalties change hits Welsh record label Sain

recordiau Sain Image copyright Sain
Image caption Sain predominantly produces Welsh-language content

Wales's oldest record label has said changes to the way some broadcast payments are calculated is "damaging" its business.

Royalties agency PPL has reduced the amount it pays when music is played on some stations, including Radio Cymru and Radio Wales.

Sain Records says it has caused a 20% cut to its broadcast income.

PPL said it had acted to correct an over-payment, and it was discussing the situation with Sain.

Sain Records predominantly produces Welsh-language content.

Broadcasters including the BBC pay an annual fee to PPL, which distributes money to its members when their work is played on programmes.

Image caption Elin Fflur is one of the artists with the Sain label

Sain's chief executive Dafydd Roberts said the changes happened "without warning".

"They have started to use audience size as part of its distribution policy.

"By changing policy like this, PPL should have conducted an impact assessment. Had they done that, they would have realised what impact it would have on small labels like Sain.

"They have disregarded smaller labels who work mainly through the medium of minority languages."

Mr Roberts said that PPL should introduce the changes gradually, if they are not to be reversed.

"You get an idea over the years of what to expect, and naturally you budget for that. So when [the cut] happens suddenly, it is damaging."

'Fairness and accuracy'

In a statement PPL said an issue with audience data between 2014 and 2017 meant it had not been paying correct fees for some broadcasts.

PPL added it was mindful members could be affected by changes to its distribution policy.

"However, we are also committed to fairness and accuracy in our distributions, hence the need for the corrective action taken last year.... We are currently speaking with Sain about their concerns," it said.

PPL's members are record labels and performers. Last year it reduced the amount it paid for music broadcast on radio stations with relatively small audiences.

Composers are mostly represented by the PRS royalties agency, although in Wales a recalculation that cut income for Welsh-language composers led to the creation of a new agency, Eos, in 2012.

Mr Roberts said PPL should look at the decision of a tribunal at the time of Eos's creation, which found that music from the UK's minority languages had greater value for stations such as Radio Cymru.

"I think PPL should look at that case. The BBC has accepted that minority, indigenous languages in Britain have an additional value for those relevant radio stations. And the same principle is relevant for PPL."

Mr Roberts added that the BBC had been "very supportive" of the currently situation with PPL, and that the broadcaster had also raised the issue with the royalties agency.

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