ROME – Italian music entrepreneur Filippo Sugar, recently elected chief of Italian creative rights collection society SIAE, is advocating a greater pan-European effort to gain more leverage in digital rights negotiations with giants like YouTube and Google.
“It’s a very crucial and complicated moment in the history of the creative industries,” says Sugar, 43, days after being designated the youngest SIAE chief in its long history. His appointment still requires formal Italian government ratification.
“Our strategy on international digital rights as SIAE, together with other similar organisations through Armonia — the platform we founded with Spain and France, which basically negotiates digital rights with global ISPs for European and Latin repertoires — is to gain better leverage with giants like Google and YouTube.”
In 2012 the Armonia hub inked its first deal with Google for access to a vast repertoire comprising more than 5 million works in 35 territories.
“We would like more competition in the digital market,” Sugar noted. “It’s very difficult when you have such a concentration of market powers. YouTube and Google make it very difficult to negotiate.”
As for his mission on the home front, Sugar that over the next two years he intends to take SIAE to a new level in terms of digitization, transparency and efficiency.
“Italy needs to nurture new talent, with new artists coming into the international market. A collecting society, especially in European countries, is for nurturing talent. SIAE is a wonderful vehicle that can nurture the system,” he enthused.
His Sugar Music label, which dates back to 1932, is working on a new Andrea Bocelli album for release in the fourth quarter of this year. They are also licensing its “Great Performances La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema” format, which is based on Italian movie themes, following its debut at the New York Philarmonic in September 2014, introduced by Martin Scorsese. The show aired on PBS in the U.S.