Iosif Prigozhin: “Our spectators for years have been turned into the cheated depositors of pyramid investors”
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree protecting the canceled concerts' spectators. Many cultural events were canceled due to the risks of the spread of COVID-19.
Concert organizers must either compensate the audience for the loss of tickets, or invite them to another event after restrictive measures have been lifted.
Black times have come for show business figures? On this topic, "NI" talked with producer Iosif Prigozhin.
- The whole business was in a difficult situation, show business is no exception. How to survive the industry in a crisis? In addition, a decree has been signed today that money for tickets sold for canceled concerts must be returned no later than 30 days from the date of appeal. Airlines promise to return money for tickets in a year, the travel industry also appealed to the government with a request to delay the refund. And non-working theaters and concert halls should return everything.
- The model is clear. People paid money and did not receive the service. Accordingly, they must get the money back. It does not matter - it is Aeroflot or show business. Everyone should return the received not in a year, but in the near future.
It is clear that the technology of show business in this sense is not entirely correct. I talked about this for many years - the creation of a trade union or self-regulatory organization that would allow us to rally players and protect society from such situations.
I had a concert in the UK at Royal Albert Hall. We took a local company, a tax resident, because any other country, without insurance, cannot hold a mass event. You go on sale. Hall does not give you revenue. For example, Royal Albert Hall gave me the proceeds only after 21 days. That is, if you do not have money, if you do not have insurance, you cannot hold a concert event. Everything is arranged differently with us. As in construction: they collect money from buyers and start building an apartment building for these advances. If they do not finish building or underselling, problems arise with defrauded equity holders. People do not receive an apartment by paying money for them. The same goes for concert activity.
The organizers at the expense of the audience pay for all expenses, having no economic base. There is a pyramid that does not protect either the viewer or the artist in case of a fiasco.
Hence the problems of non-return of money or cancellation of a concert by an artist who simply does not come, because the organizer cannot pay him.
He plans the event not with his own money, but with the money of the audience. He announced a concert, sold part of the tickets, and then begins to do the rest with this money. Spectators, of course, need to be protected. Today's situation confirms my fears and my suggestions. They were faithful and accurate, but no one heard them.
Of course, money needs to be returned to people. But it is not clear where the organizers will take these funds. They also spent them: paid rent to the halls, paid for advertising. They can return the money only in one case - if those who received for rent and for advertising they are returned to the account. Then this money can be settled with the audience. Naturally, the artists will return the fee.
- But de jure in Russia there is no force majeure. There is a status of “special readiness”, and not an emergency or emergency, suggesting in law a force majeure situation.
- Let's talk frankly - this is such a trick in which many find themselves in a difficult situation. But I will tell you this: all the money, all the advances that we took for the concerts, were returned to the organizers. I never touch funds until they are worked out. This is my principle. I do not spend what does not belong to me. Unfortunately, not everyone does this.
- It is obvious that the performers of the first magnitude, to which Valeria belongs, obviously will not need money to go buy food or pay for utilities. But there are a huge number of young performers who have not yet had time to make a career and earn money for a safe and secure existence.
- When we talk about big performers, we must understand that they have big expenses. They are connected with the family. Young people have the opportunity to experiment, and we are already adults. This is not to say that our creative career is on the rise, we are closer to sunset than to sunrise.
What to do young is hard for me to give advice. Young people have just begun to build their careers, but now it’s not time for entertainment, no one has money for it now. And in this case, the sight does not help to get bread. We also have our own difficulties. Approaching April 25, the day when it is necessary to pay taxes to the state. We also have rental costs. And what do we do with a team of 16 people? What to do with people who work for us? We will have a profit - zero, but the expense remains. We must save this guarantee to people. If young people do not have groups that need to somehow live, support a family, pay housing, and we need to support everyone. We have a huge responsibility.
We are shooting a video now, recording a song. Consumables do not get smaller. He remains at the same level. There are small tricks in the form of a deposit, which you can block something. And now the deposits are all zero. We all have common problems. We have a mother, we have children.
Show business will take a long time to recover. People will not have money tomorrow to go to the concert.
- What does the industry as a whole expect? Obviously, during a crisis, not all concert organizations will be able to resist.
- The fate of the industry is in a difficult situation. A lot of "left" people appeared who began to engage in concert activity, who did not know how and did not know anything. We need a reserve fund, few people realize the need for insurance. The question is how do you model your business. There are a lot of cash desks that sell tickets. Some artists organize their concerts themselves, not having the opportunity to pay professional infrastructure. The situation is certainly not simple. How to get out of it is not known.
I am sure that in the near future, including summer, the industry will recover from the current situation. And not only our industry - and the restaurant business, and the tourism business.
We are on the verge of a global depression. This fact is obvious. Coronavirus served as a trigger, a black swan.
Even in the era of the USSR, Soviet artists toured around the world. Now the whole world is closed to everyone. People are sitting in their birdhouses. Now the only option is to stay at home. When you sit at home, read books and watch TV - you have no additional costs. You do not spend money on trips, do not pour gasoline into the tank, you do not need to run for new clothes or a phone, pay for the services of a hairdresser or makeup artist and many other things that we do in everyday life. The revenue box fell, but the consumable is not as big as when you were free.
Sitting at home, I specifically keep track of how much I need to stay at home. Everything is in a compressed format. It is clear that for many people it is difficult to model something, their salary is barely enough until the next salary. We have a huge number of people without any accumulations. Unfortunately. But everyone who works in government agencies will save wages.
The most important thing is to take care of yourself and be patient. He now does not depend on us. Only one thing depends on us - to observe the order, sanitary precautions. We should not be infected at least in order not to create difficulties for doctors. I want to express incredible admiration and gratitude to the doctors, all medical workers. Today they have great hope. And let's call the Department of Transport so that they at least for the time of the epidemic do a little - exempt all employees of hospitals and clinics from paying for parking! It is not so expensive and not at all difficult, and for our doctors it will be a huge help and expression of gratitude.