What exactly is Sacem (Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers)? Behind this establishment that was created in 1951, there is The first community to bring together in music In France, but also internationally with the explosion of digital platforms. Met in Cannes, where a partner institutional festival walking sticksthere general manager of Sasim Cecil Rapfiber answered all of our questions.
What is the role of Sacem in a festival like Cannes?
Cecil Rapfiber: We must never forget that the author is the third co-author of the film along with the screenwriter and director. It is a three part story. Among our projects supporting our members, we help festivals but also support Cannes film music composers through meetings and speaking engagements. For example, La Sacem makes sure that audiovisual projects are supported with a budget dedicated to composer and film music. Highlighting composers is necessary because music often comes at the end of the chain in a film production. However, the biggest successes are often associated with very strong storylines between director and composer. If the latter was involved from the start of the movie, it would be even more interesting.
Is the Cannes Film Festival the most symbolic in your eyes?
Cecil Rapfiber: Yes, because there are international meetings that can take place. For example, the Music Lesson session offers testimonials from great composers about their collaborations with directors. But we are present at almost all the major festivals, whether it’s animation in Annecy, a documentary in Biarritz, etc.
Cecil Rapfiber: Digital became Sacem’s main source of revenue with 34%, followed by media, then audiovisual and “live”.
Did the Sacem website have a completely new look?
Cecil Rapfiber: With a repertoire of 121 million works and 165,000 French and foreign members, the idea was to have a platform – bringing together six sites – where everything is done to make your life easier. Organically, we have 7,000 new members a year which has grown to 14,000 over the past two years. We’ve simplified things so composers working in France can record in three clicks. But I don’t want us to turn into a society where access is mainly through computer interfaces: we maintain a physical reception to guide you if necessary.
Can we say that copyright is a French idiosyncrasy?
Cecil Rapfiber: In American law, there is such a thing as a “bail” where the producer gives a lump sum to a composer who will not get any money back for as long as the movie or series exists. Obviously with the help of the ministry and parliamentarians, David Sayegh (Deputy General Director of Sacem) has a law registered in France that makes bailout unworkable: every time Netflix or TV broadcasts one of his films, there will be exploitation and the composer will be paid money in proportion to Business success. We are proud to see that our system works so well that it now attracts foreign composers. For example, Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings) owns a portion of these rights managed by Sacem.
Digital technology has globalized the copyright market…
Cecil Rapfiber: Yes, and furthermore, we have an agreement with GAFA covering 130 regions. We are the first person in the world to sign with Facebook and obviously we have agreements with all the digital platforms. We have become a data company and at the same time developed a French-style service. We must analyze all the data (YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, etc.) that we receive via our platform, which is unique with its complete documentation base. This duality means that today we are number one in the world.
What is the main source of income for Sacem?
Cecil Rapfiber: Digital becomes Sacem’s main source of income with 34%, followed by media, and the third concerns everything that is live audiovisual (concerts and sound systems in public places). At the end, we have the phono and video supports that are decreasing, but nonetheless still 50 million.
What does the protection of authors and composers actually mean?
Cecil Rapfiber: SACEM’s primary role is to maintain or improve the degree of protection of the rights of authors, authors, and music publishers. This goes through aid money (RAES to help members in difficulty) but also through support from the start of their careers. The important thing is that creative people can get work. Here in Cannes, our role is to allow encounters that can start projects. The profession of a composer is quite lonely, so we help them a lot by accompanying them to film festivals. This is also the strength of French collective management.