Buying neighboring rights: asset or burden?July 12, 2021
Zanoise Talent co-sponsor of NYSBA Music Business Law Conference 2021October 22, 2021
On July 29th 2021, Music Business Worldwide wrote that Whet Records, Warner Music Group‘s pan-Asian dance label in China, signed a record deal with the artist Ha Jiang.
So …… what’s so interesting about that? Well, just like the world famous Lil Miquela, Ha Jiang is a virtual pop artist/influencer. We assume the record deal has actually been signed by the company who invented her and no doubt the relevant recording royalties (Spotify, Youtube, Tiktok etc.) will flow into their accounts. However, what about the neighboring rights? Generally, when a recording is played in public, the artist and record company split the neighboring rights royalties due.
Now, in the case of Ha Jiang’s recordings, there’s no problem regarding the record company’s share. But is there an artist’s share to be collected, and who would be entitled to it? Obviously, Ha Jiang is not a real person and can’t collect any neighboring rights royalties. So it would have to be the company behind Ha Jiang. However, in most legislations artist neighboring rights are regarded as strictly personal and can’t be assigned to third parties. So in that case, the individuals creating Ha Jiang’s performances would have to step forward and claim the artist share. That may not be too smooth a process. Would be interesting to explore.