Tax wizard Dick Molenaar and former Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner have been confirmed as panelists for January’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag gathering.
Along with Dr. Harald Grams, Molenaar is battling against European governments to get a more unified artist tax system throughout the EU member states.
He’ll be on a Dutch-speaking panel including discussion on Holland’s decision to abolish withholding tax. He’ll also sit on another English-speaking panel on the effects of “the Scorpio case,” the first time the industry has had chance to discuss the European Court of Justice’s October 3rd ruling saying artists are entitled to deduct expenses at source and be taxed only on their gross profit.
The reasoning in Molenaar’s “Taxation of International Performing Artistes,” the thesis he wrote when studying for his doctorate, went some way to influencing Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm to scrap withholding tax.
During a tax experts’ conference held at Amsterdam’s Renaissance Hotel November 24th, the European Commission made it clear that it intends to support Molenaar and Grams to the degree that it will consider prosecuting any EU countries that continue collecting taxes by methods that contravene Articles 59 and 60 of the EEC Treaty, which deal with the freedom of movement of labour within the community.
The EC has asked Grams and Molenaar to prepare documentation giving a detailed appraisal on how each of the countries is infringing the treaty.
Of the 25 member states, only the U.K., Ireland, Holland and Denmark have tax regs that fall within the treaty.
Jenner’s panel will take the form of an interview in which he’ll no doubt have a chance to air his views on the state of the business.
Apart from managing Floyd, he’s also looked after Syd Barrett’s solo career, T.Rex, The Clash, Ian Dury, Disposable Heroes, and Billy Bragg.
He’s also secretary general of the International Music Managers Forum and a founding member of the European Live Music Forum, which was started at Eurosonic-Noorderslag 2005.
It’s likely to be entertaining, as he has some very fixed opinions and doesn’t pull his punches. In a recent interview published in science and technology magazine The Register, he said the four major music labels are “fucked” and digital music pricing has been a scam where the consumer pays for manufacturing and distribution and does all the work.
He said they should outsource everything except finance and licensing.
The latest round of acts to be announced for the Eurosonic and Noorderslag showcase festivals includes Larrikin Love, a U.K. act already signed to Warner and described by NME as “hard to pin down but easy to love.”
“The sound of a band bursting with energy and inspiration,” said Q magazine, while Uncut described the acts as having “lyrical energy and wild, scruffy urgency.”
A new single called “Well, Love Does Furnish A Life” will be released in the U.K. two days after the January 11-13 conference-cum-festival ends.
Some of the other acts to be selected are 120 Days, Fancy, Mika, Navel, Stuck in the Sound, Enter Shikari, Loney Dear, The Staggers, Antwerp Gipsy Ska Orkestra, Five O’ Clock Heroes, The Cheaters, Yo Yo Mundi, and Fat Jon + Styrofoam.
— John Gammon