The Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO) has been making steady progress since its formation in 2009 following the change of its name from Hewanorra Musical Society with its mandate limited to St. Lucia. ECCO’s territory of administration since January 2009 covers the entire OECS member states.
Two months ago in July ECCO made a distribution of more than $400,000 in respect of General and Broadcasting royalties. General royalties are royalties collected from small users such as hotels, bars, restaurants, offices, shops and stores and similar establishments. Broadcasting royalties come from Radio stations, Television stations and Cable systems.
The royalty distribution that the society has made in early September is very important to ECCO’s own members as it relates to royalties collected at live events where the proportion of local music performed is significant. These events include the CPL cricket matches played in St. Kitts, the various carnival related events in the islands, as well as marquee events such as the World Creole Music Festival and Jazz and Creole in Dominica. It should be noted that the lion’s share of royalty collections have come from Dominica and St. Lucia, the islands in the OECS with the highest level of copyright compliance at the present time.
ECCO is expected to make two other distributions – one in October that is expected to be in excess of EC$400,000.00 and a distribution in December for jingles and/or background music in advertisements that have been aired on the radio and/or Television. The Jingles pay-out will be particularly beneficial to ECCO’s own members since a large portion of music used in advertising is created by the society’s members.
Because of the very high level of consumption of foreign music by the electronic media in the region, particularly from the Anglo-American repertoire, approximately 90% of distributable revenue is paid to American and British songwriters through their respective copyright societies – ASCAP and BMI in the United States and PRS for MUSIC in the United Kingdom.