In November Miika Särmäkari that is, rapper Särre sent an application to the copyright organization Teosto for corona subsidy. On paper, the search was a buzzword. The money was promised if Teosto had received a total of 1,500 euros in the most common copyright royalties during the previous three years.
As Teosto had inadvertently terminated the publishing contracts of Särmäkari’s Rutilus record company in 2018, the revenue was not reflected in the databases. The money was credited to Särmäkari in March 2021, but Teosto stated that repair accounts would not be taken into account when granting subsidies.
“They rang between departments and came to the conclusion that nothing could be done about it,” Särmäkari says.
Särmäkari has previously worked as the editor-in-chief of Basso magazine and the export organization Music Finland. The pandemic halted gigs and record company operations. Temporary livelihood was found in directing and scripting the upcoming JVG documentary. There is one synthesizer for sale online.
“No musician can afford to buy it.”
Also a rapper Tuomas Kauhanen and producer LX Beatsin i.e. Lauri Pihlmanin Teosto’s income exceeded the minimum threshold, but applications were rejected. They did not submit any complaints.
“It seals that I’ll never look for anything again,” Pihlman says. He has done Gettomasa, among other things Eyes-hitin bit.
HS has seen the documentation of all cases and the e-mails received from Särmäkari Teosto in which a settlement error is admitted.
Cases there are others. Of the EUR 1 million in emergency aid provided by Teosto in November, more than EUR 450 000 remained unallocated because the applicants’ ‘criteria were not met’. 35% of the applicants received a negative decision.
The rejection decision stated that there was no appeal. One in six still complained, and because of the number of complaints, Teosto decided to deal with them.
“One technical error was found in the applications. It was corrected and the aid was paid. Looking in the rearview mirror, we should have formulated in advance the criterion that all the promised money will be distributed, ”Teosto’s CEO Risto Salminen says.
Teosto and Gramex are charged money when Finnish music plays, for example, on television, radio or as background music in public spaces. A work is an organization of composers that distributes copyright revenue to those who have written, written, or published works. Gramex pays callers and phonogram producers.
Teoston the second grant application ended at the end of May. There were two million euros on offer, a quarter of which is unallocated money from the previous round. The criteria have been slightly relaxed.
Särmäkari does not know if he will receive this support either, because the income is still recorded for the wrong year.
As a whole, the corona subsidies distributed by Teosto are in the same category as the foundations. The Finnish Cultural Foundation has distributed the largest number of non-governmental Korona grants for culture, totaling EUR 4.5 million.
Teosto’s and Gramex’s revenue streams are very stable. In addition, the balance sheets of both have accumulated more than thirty million euros in buffer assets in the form of shares or investment portfolios.
“It’s weird and offensive while repeating that there’s no money in the music industry,” Särmäkari says.
Teosto has distributed corona subsidies only to its members. The income criterion of 1,500 euros has been reasonable for pop makers, but high from the point of view of alternative genres and art music.
Gramex’s € 874,000 crown grant went to the Foundation for the Promotion of Performing Music (Eses), which directed the grant to the Music Promotion Foundation (Mes) and the Musicians Association, which distributed it further. The first of the union’s Korona grant rounds was open to everyone, the next two only to members.
“People put the names of the organizations in a flyer and lobby the industry for long-lasting money under the guise of a pandemic while the mixer in Laitila’s Rooster is left without. That’s what triggers me, ”says Särmäkari.
Teosto’s Risto Salminen replies that according to its rules, the organization supports the “promotion of Finnish creative music”, which also applies to the Teosto Foundation. Gramex has similar promotion costs of EUR 2.5 million in the 2019 financial statements.
Promotional money flows through the foundations Eses and Mesi down to organizations and the field.
Last In recent years, copyright money has been used to co-operate with music start-ups, and has been invested in rescuing and maintaining Radio Helsinki and opening G Livelab clubs in Helsinki and Tampere.
According to the Trade Register, Radio Helsinki and Livelabie’s backing companies make zero income, but receive about half of their turnover from “other income”. In Eses’ 2019 financial statements, they were supported by just under one million euros. The broad field of organizations in the music industry is also largely driven by copyright money.
Many Pop musicians have spoken prominently about the fragile position of background bands, technicians and other cultural workers in the midst of a corona pandemic.
Särmäkari calls for the same.
Teoston Salminen does not believe that the beneficiary will be expanded.
“Teosto’s membership would decide that. I don’t see it as very likely, and I’m not really possible under the rules, ”he says.