He says: The Golden ‘Compass’

An interesting news that came out these few days in the papers for all couples planning their wedding will be on the COMPASS fee. I think I will just like to consolidate some of the details from the online news around and probably clarify a bit on what I understand about this new ruling. (Disclaimer: Neither am I representing the Authorities and Singaporean wedding couples here, all I am saying here are my personal take on the ruling)

Here’s some interesting links:

National Council of Social Service Website on COMPASS Fee


TODAYonline Article on COMPASS

So what is happening here? In a nutshell, it’s this:

Let’s say I’m a musician-singer-songwriter. I have been writing romantic songs for years. However, less and less people are paying for music since it is so readily available in the internet out there, with the bittorrents, streaming websites and even Youtube. I am not earning the money I deserved so there has got to be a way to protect the interests of people like me.  So COMPASS (The Composers and Authors Society of Singapore) was formed to protect and promote the copyright interests of people like me. My songs are now under COMPASS, so COMPASS has the rights to collect royalties on behalf of me and it will be distributed back to me after it is collected. Now I feel that my work is appreciated, I have rights to my work. I know my songs are likely to be used in weddings, so I have every rights to obtain a piece of the pie because I wrote and sang the song.

Let’s say I am a wedding singer / photographer / videographer. Part of my job is to use romantic music. Whether it is in my songs sung, photo collages or wedding videos, I need music. I do not want a Charlie Chaplin video happening. But this COMPASS has just came out of nowhere and slapping a royalty fee upon me. No matter how much I love the wedding business, I have to make money to survive too, and I have never factor in this extra costs in my business model. So guess what? I need to channel this additional costs upon someone. Who? The consumers of course! But then this is a struggle. I need to remain competitive with a better package, but adding extra costs is not gonna help. Do I absorb it and cut down on my profits? Or let the wedding couples carry the burden?

Let’s say we are a couple planning for our wedding (which incidentally we are!). I need various things for my wedding and having wonderful wedding videos and music is part and parcel of creating the perfect romantic atmosphere in my wedding. I want music and I want classic music, those that my guests can immediately relate to and get immersed into the atmosphere. And I see this news about COMPASS. And I say to myself.. ain’t the music online free? Now I have to pay for them? Am I the scapegoat in this whole passing the buck incident? Now videographers are gonna costs more and I will have to pay? I don’t have the extra budget!! Who wants to pay extra money for something I could have gotten for free anyway!

Well, this is a chicken and egg problem when you come right down to it. One that involves copyright, business model, budget sheets and the ideal wedding setting. As a GTB waiting to get married, of course I will hate it for the buck to be pass to me. But I totally understand the burden of the wedding vendors, and the frustration of the song originators. How do you feel about this (especially if you are reading this, you should be planning your wedding)?

Countdown to Wedding Day (19-06-10): 77 days

4 thoughts on “He says: The Golden ‘Compass’

  1. YES… Even if U use music to do video montage, you need to buy the rights from COMPASS.

    Go http://creativecommons.org/ if you want to download music that is of COPYLEFT, meaning these people allow you to use their work. Sometimes, it’s free or cheaper than copyrighted stuffs.

    License fees not cheap… Part of the reason why I don’t do wedding stuffs.

    At most.. Compose your own lor! Haha..

    1. Thanks YR for your info. Believe the website will be useful for all the couples looking for free music in their wedding!

  2. Hi Winston chanced upon your post, have a quick question. Previously it seemed that COMPASS is clamping down on video production companies on this issue, with some deterrents to ensure their music used is all paid for. But at the time this news broke some months ago, the understanding was that it was more that those companies should not be PROFITING from us consumers using music that technically does not belong to them. It left the grey area of couples who do up their own video or who have friends doing it for them, an hence there is no actual “profit” involved. Would you happen to know if that is still the case or has it developed to the point that it no longer matters whether it is for “commercial profit” or even otherwise?

    1. When the issue is about commercial profit, I can’t really answer, cause it seems to be a gray area. Then it will become an obvious loophole, when everyone who engages a videographer will say that he/she is their personal friend to escape the payment of the fee. From my knowledge, this COMPASS fee applies to everyone, especially when you use music in an outdoor venue. Again I am not an expert on this subject, I am just posting this issue of interest for the education of all couples.

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