Industry support still strong despite decline in royalties payment, music licensing body says

MRM chairman Tun Zaki Azmi commended the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry for expressing its support for MRM to carry out its function of collecting royalties with minimum cost and redistributing them to the four existing copyright rightholder bodies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
MRM chairman Tun Zaki Azmi commended the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry for expressing its support for MRM to carry out its function of collecting royalties with minimum cost and redistributing them to the four existing copyright rightholder bodies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Malaysia’s primary music licensing body, Music Rights Malaysia Berhad (MRM) continues to enjoy the support of the music industry despite a sharp fall in royalty collections last year, it said in a statement today.

The non-profit organisation explained that the decline in 2017 was because it was not empowered to do so due to regulatory delays in securing an operational licence following its official formation on 8 December 2016.

“MRM was not granted a licence to operate by the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia until August 1 the following year.

“Before that, no licensing body was permitted to conduct normal collective licensing activities since January 1, 2017 and resulted in a 53 per cent drop in relevant licensing income which corresponded to drop in distributable royalties for those involved in the music industry in 2018,” it said.

MRM is a joint venture between Music Authors Copyright Protection Bhd (MACP), Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PPM), Recording Performers Malaysia Berhad (RPM) and Performer’s Rights and Interest Society Malaysia Berhad (PRISM).

In the statement, MRM chairman Tun Zaki Azmi commended the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry for expressing its support for MRM to carry out its function of collecting royalties with minimum cost and redistributing them to the four existing copyright rightholder bodies.

“Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail met with MRM’s board members and collectively discussed the issues surrounding MRM’s royalty collection on Sept 13.

“Notwithstanding the less-than-ideal transition and economic conditions, the leaders of the music industry are confident that with recently reaffirmed support from the minister, MRM will be able to deliver on the potential of increased royalty collections and reduced cost for music rights holders,” he said.

Following the meeting, Zaki said he echoed the support of the ministry while board members have come out in full support for MRM, with one board member urging fellow rights holders to unite behind MRM and its leadership to allow it sufficient time to deliver.

In addition, MRM’s Chief Executive Officer R. Ramani Ramalingam stressed that MRM’s sole function was to act as a collection company and not to manage the distribution of royalties to the individual rights holders.

“MRM can act as a mediator to assist but the respective bodies should resolve issues on the distribution of royalties between themselves and their members,” he said in the statement.

MACP chairperson, lyricist Habsah Hassan advised MACP’s 4,000 odd members to raise their grievances directly to MACP instead of posting on social media or issuing letters.

PPM chairman Rosmin Hashim also pledged that PPM will continue to work closely with MRM to ensure that operational issues caused by the transition were adequately addressed.

Datuk Sheila Majid who is RPM chairperson, welcomed and commended the ministry’s much-awaited solution to long-standing issues by having a special task force to expeditiously resolve conflicts.

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