BUMA Under Further Scrutiny

Dutch collection society BUMA/STEMRA is once again being accused of under-charging promoters and venues and even giving them “kickbacks.”

The latest complaint comes mainly from UK-based managers and the Music Managers’ Forum is advising its members to carefully check the figures when doing the financial settlements on their Dutch shows.

It’s not the first time the Dutch collection society has been accused of helping promoters with their show costs.

Apparently, the amount of royalty shown as being paid could be much higher than the actual amount handed over. In September 2013 the UK’s Featured Artists Coalition warned its members to check whether some European promoters were keeping quiet about the kickbacks they’re getting from their national royalty collection agencies.

FAC’s mailout to its members said “promoters have been receiving a rebate of the published rate from local collecting society BUMA and not accounting this to artists

. “PRS is aware of this and have had discussion with BUMA to make the process more transparent.”

The royalty rate in The Netherlands is 7 percent of box office for gigs with an income of euro 1,000,000-plus. Apparently 18 months of discussion hasn’t been enough to clarify matters and once again BUMA is being asked to come clean on its business practices. BUMA head of communications Frank Janssen tells Pollstar the society’s policy is not to comment on the issue as it’s currently subject to a hearing by its own supervisory committee.

He also said BUMA isn’t making any comments to the press on the subject, referring callers to what its website says regarding its “volume discount regulation.” The website says: “Volume Discount is a discount which event organizers (planners) can claim when they make a certain minimum annual payment to Buma. “In short, the Volume Discount applies to parties that pay a considerable sum for music copyright in live performances to Buma.” BUMA’s tariffs are at http://www.bumastemra.nl/en/music-users/playing-music/types-of-music-use/volume-discount-regulation/