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Malta’s Greylisting Had Knockoff Effect On Royalty Payments, X Factor Judge Howard Keith Debono Warns

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Leading music producer and X Factor Malta judge Howard Keith Debono has warned that Malta’s greylisting by the Financial Action Taskforce has had ripple effects on his industry in terms of the processing of certain royalty payments.

Interviewed by Trudy Kerr on her podcast The Interviewer, Debono, who is also president of the Malta Entertainment and Arts Association, recounted a recent issue he had with one of the world’s top music record labels.

“I had a thing with one of the big four labels, where one had to get paid in a particular way and I received an email the following day informing me that they have to re-assess how payments can happen now when it comes to royalties,” he said.

Debono said that while he managed to resolve this issue, his experience goes to show how everything counts when dealing with the rest of the world.  

“Every bad experience will reflect badly on you when you’re in an important room at an important part of your life, taking a decision or negotiating at a table,” he said. “All of these things are weighing on your shoulders and give the third party an advantage to make you look small.”

He urged people in the music industry not to adopt an insular mentality when assessing Malta’s place in the world.

“I’m patriotic but I’m not crazy patriotic, and I don’t think Malta is the centre of the universe, far from it,” Debono said. “It’s a reality check. We’re a small dot in a massive ocean. Accept it, deal with it, fight for it.”

“If we keep that in mind, have that sense of drive and humility and just shut up sometimes, you’ll achieve more than remaining in an ego bubble.”

Cover photo: Left: Howard Keith Debono at an artists’ protest in Valletta (Photo: Malta Entertainment and Arts Association), Right: Debono during an interview on Lovin Daily 

Have you been impacted by greylisting? Let us know in the comment section or reach out on [email protected] 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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