Turkish musicians get only 9 pct of tax-hit ticket fees
Ceyhun Kuburlu – ISTANBULA mere 9 percent of concert ticket fees go into the wallets of Turkish musicians, making organizations rather risky for both firms and artists due to high costs and taxes, an industry representative has said.
In cases of a shortage in sales, musicians or organizers do not earn but rather lose money, said Fırat Kasapoğlu, the chairman of the Turkish Event and Entertainment Industry Association (TESDER).
The rising costs and risks make sponsors and municipality contributions a must for concerts, he said.
The largest portion goes to taxes, as musicians pay 18 percent in value-added taxes (VAT) for each ticket in addition to a 10 percent “entertainment tax.” Another 10 percent goes to the ticket sale organizations.
Musicians also pay 8 percent to their profession organizations for copyrights. When promotion, venue fees and production are added up, costs reach 91 percent.
A concert at the 4,000-capacity Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air venue in Istanbul, for example, generates 36,000 Turkish Liras for the musicians if the tickets are sold for 100 liras. This revenue is distributed between at least 10 musicians.
TESDER has a list of demands for the regulation of the concerts business.
“We will demand from the government to lift the ‘entertainment tax.’ Because this is a tax implemented in no country across the world,” he said, adding the sector already had a long list of taxes and fees.
“We will boost our efforts as soon as the government is founded,” he said.
Turkey is set for a new government after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept nearly half of the votes at the Nov. 1 elections.
Kasapoğlu added sponsors are paying taxes even for invitations they send to people.
“This means that organizers are paying taxes for the tickets that they do not sell but distribute for free,” he said.
A regulation is also needed for venue fees, according to the sector representative.
“In Europe or the U.S., organizers usually pay 1 or 2 dollars per person as a fee. They pay in line with the number of the audience, the number of tickets sold,” he compared.
The average audience size for concerts this summer stood at 2,000, according to Kasapoğlu.
“This was not a good summer for us but we are used to this,” he said.