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BASCA announces new senior hires, new strategy and rebrand in 2019

BASCA announced its new strategy for 2019, as well as a number of senior hires, today at its Annual General Meeting at The Ministry in London.

As part of BASCA’s ambitious strategy for growth – including a rebrand – in 2019, BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt introduced the appointment of Graham Davies as Interim CEO for a further year, in addition to MEP Emma McClarkin and music lawyer Julia Montero as new Independent Directors of the Board.

At the AGM, Davies delivered the CEO report and an update on his work over the past six months as Interim CEO of BASCA, including putting in place the new strategy. He joined BASCA in June 2018 when CEO Vick Bain commenced extended leave ahead of her departure from the business in December.

Davies previously served a 20-year tenure at PRS for Music as a senior executive running strategy and digital transformation. He was instrumental in the development of PRS online and hub strategies, including sitting on Boards of joint ventures. Davies has continued to work as a strategy advisor to numerous organisations.

Davies said of the appointment: “It is a privilege to lead BASCA. It has a great past and a great future. The craft and rights of music composers and songwriters must be properly supported, celebrated and nurtured as without their talent, the music the world loves wouldn’t exist.
“The industry is changing, and we must raise our voice to bring about fair protection and remuneration for creators’ rights. I am confident that we have the right strategy and a talented team to bring about much needed change.”

Hunt added: “Graham’s deep knowledge of rights, formation of policy and management experience has brought enormous benefit to BASCA in the short time he has worked with us. We are delighted he has agreed to lead the organisation at this critical time.”

As part of changes implemented to develop the governance of BASCA, with a new Board and Committees elected earlier in the year, two new Independent Director posts were created, with MEP Emma McClarkin and music lawyer Julia Montero recently appointed.

McClarkin is Conservative MEP for the East Midlands region. She has played a key role in supporting the Copyright Directive reform and other music issues. Her experience and contacts in trade, the digital single market and the cultural and creator sectors discussions will be invaluable to BASCA’s forthcoming lobbying activities.

Montero is a reputable lawyer, previously working for PRS, EMI, Vodafone, Warners and in private practice, most recently for her own firm Creative Counsel Law. Montero’s legal skills and knowledge of the music industry will be vital in supporting BASCA’s evolving policy agenda.

McClarkin said: “It is an honour to be joining BASCA. I look forward to helping BASCA sculpt the regulatory landscape so it supports and respects our songwriters and composers.”

Montero said: “I’m hugely honoured and excited to be joining the BASCA Board at such a pivotal time. I very much look forward to contributing to BASCA’s important work.”

Hunt added: “With their specialist knowledge across rights and regulation, plus enthusiasm for bettering our sector, we are thrilled to have Emma and Julia join the BASCA Board. The mandate BASCA has been given by membership to take our organisation forward is hugely positive for all songwriters and composers and, bolstered by these excellent senior executive hires, we are now focussed on the challenges ahead.
“With new input, new blood and new momentum, BASCA will be the empowered, pragmatic, and informed movement needed to help shape the architecture of our cultural future. We look forward to consulting with all who share our vision of the flourishing, holistic musical ecosystem the future demands.”

BASCA announce that Chief Executive Officer Vick Bain is stepping down.

In her thirteen years at BASCA Vick held several positions before being appointed CEO in 2012.

Following a period of serious ill-health earlier this year, from which she has now fully recovered, Vick has decided to move on from BASCA in order to pursue new goals.

During her tenure Vick led the organisation through a major modernisation programme and recently oversaw an extensive structural review with the subsequent implementation of new governance procedures.

Vick provided real commitment and leadership to ensure BASCA’s flagship award ceremonies – The Ivors, The Gold Badge Awards and The British Composer Awards – continued to build on their industry-wide reputation for integrity and prestige. In addition, wherever possible she introduced new events and added value benefits for members.

Vick was instrumental in establishing an innovative partnership network with universities across the UK and has been a vocal advocate for increased inclusivity and diversity issues within the music industry. She also built and strengthened relationships with music industry umbrella organisations including UK Music and the British Copyright Council and helped launch The Council of Music Makers.

BASCA has always been a campaigning organisation and under Vick’s leadership has forged strong relationships with MPs from across the political spectrum in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Music. Vick also achieved a high level of profile and respect in the music industry for her campaigning work and position on issues affecting songwriters and composers; gaining front page press splashes for her campaigns on digital music, songwriter credits and diversity. In 2015 Vick helped creators win a copyright tribunal at the High Court which overturned an exception to copyright that was going to be damaging to the UK Music industry and beyond; known as BASCA vs BIS it was the first time BASCA had been involved in a judicial review.

She also reinvigorated The BASCA Trust which had lain dormant for almost two decades by bringing in new trustees, additional resources and a partnership with the PRS Foundation, which allowed the distribution of bursaries to dozens of songwriters and composers alongside a program of educational and inspirational events.

In recognition of her work Vick was inducted onto the Music Week Women in Music Roll of Honour in 2017 and featured in the BBC Radio 4 2018 Woman’s Hour ‘Power List.’

Vick said, “l have endured a difficult year, overcoming breast cancer and other related conditions. I have now officially received the all-clear and am feeling fighting fit but after experiencing a lifethreatening condition and reviewing my priorities I feel the time is right to hand-over the reins to someone else, and focus on other ambitions, of which I have many. It has been a great honour to serve and lead BASCA for so long and I wish the organisation, our fantastic members, and my wonderful colleagues all the very best for the future”

 

Robert Ashcroft to step down as Chief Executive of PRS for Music in 2019

Robert Ashcroft has announced that he will step down as Chief Executive of PRS for Music on the tenth anniversary of his appointment, at the end of December 2019.

Under Ashcroft’s leadership, PRS for Music has launched three industry joint ventures: ICE, Network of Music Partners (NMP) and PPL PRS Ltd, each designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of collective rights management.

Robert has also played a major role in the adaptation of European copyright law to the Internet era. His 2010 ‘hubs strategy paper’ was central to the 2014 European Collective Rights Management Directive, while it was his argument about the ‘transfer of value’ that convinced the European Commission that user-upload platforms and other social media should be made liable for copyright.

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, said: “Working for PRS has been by far the most compelling and worthwhile thing I have ever done. It has been a privilege to work on behalf of our members and I would like to thank them, our board, and above all my colleagues, for their support over the years.”

Nigel Elderton, PRS Chairman, said: “Robert has given the organisation a decade of stability and growth, making it the considerable success it is today. He should be rightly proud of his legacy and the health in which he leaves PRS for Music. On behalf of all our members, staff and industry partners I would like to thank Robert for his service and the positive impact he has had.  We wish him every success in the future.”

Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair, said: “Robert Ashcroft is a visionary leader who has helped guide music across some very wild and unchartered territory. His legacy will likely be felt as widely across its future landscape. A place where ‘value’ will hopefully be ‘transferred’ back to ©reators via robust and effective collective rights –  in no small part due to him.”

                           Composer Debbie Wiseman receives her OBE

 

In the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list, June 2018, BASCA member Debbie Wiseman was awarded the OBE for services to music.

Debbie is Classic FM’s Composer in Residence and her latest album “The Glorious Garden”, a collaboration with Alan Titchmarsh, topped the UK Classical Chart for three weeks.

In a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on November 16th, Wiseman was presented with her award by Prince Charles.

Also presented with her award that day was Grace Ladoja, founder of Metallic Inc and manager of UK grime star and Ivor Novello award winner, Skepta. She had  been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours list.

 

 

Spotify is attempting to provide more info to publishers to help them understand their payouts better by launching a new Publishing Analytics platform.

According to the official announcement, Spotify Publishing Analytics “will give publishers daily streaming statistics for the works and recordings they have identified, including playlist performance, as well as the ability to view data for each of the songwriters on their roster,”

Spotify’s Jules Parker, Head of Publishing Relations & Services, EMEA and APAC, said “One of our core missions at Spotify is to enable creators the opportunity to live off their art…the publishing community is integral in supporting the songwriters that create the music we love. With more information, publishers are empowered to make the most of the opportunities the global reach of Spotify provides, and the more information we can share with each other, the more opportunities we can help create for songwriters.”

 

The best new works by Britain’s contemporary composers have been announced today, with thirty-seven composers nominated for the 2018 British Composer Awards across 12 categories including orchestral, jazz, sonic art, chamber ensemble, stage works and wind or brass band.

Highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of contemporary composition in the UK today, the 2018 British Composer Awards nominees include: numerous works demonstrating the ways in which today’s composers give a voice to marginalised groups in society; compositions inspired by poetry and other artforms such as visual art and literature; and works that breathe new life and meaning into history.

Nominees giving a voice to disenfranchised groups in society include: a work by the world’s only ‘recovery’ orchestra (Conall Gleeson), composed and performed by an orchestra in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction; an opera reviving forgotten music by history’s overlooked female composers (Tom Green); and music composed for disabled performers (Oliver SearleLiam Taylor-West).

Compositions taking inspiration from poetry and other artforms include: a piece drawing on world music and Indian poetry to build musical bridges between cultures (Roxanna Panufnik); a reimagining of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to apply to refugees in the world today, first performed by children who are refugees themselves (Dee Isaacs); and a brass band composition based on coal mining strikes and inspired by poet Mervyn Peake (Gavin Higgins).

Nominated composers reinterpreting and breathing new life into history include: a brass band piece inspired by the life of Alan Turing (Simon Dobson); an orchestral work exploring the notion of ‘Deep Time’ through music (Harrison Birtwistle); a sonic art installation celebrating the rediscovery of a forgotten Baptist Burial Ground (Emily Peasgood); and a full-length string concert inspired by the North Sea Flood of 1953 (Oliver Coates).

A record-breaking year for entries, 2018 saw over 560 submissions, demonstrating the volume of quality new music being composed and debuted in the UK. This year all categories have been judged anonymously for the first time, and a second jazz category has been added. In 2018 51 per cent of the composer are aged under 40, and are first-time nominees.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The event is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.

Crispin HuntChair at BASCA, said: “In this record-breaking year for entries, BASCA is delighted to celebrate the breadth of works for the British Composer Awards, representing a wealth of UK talent. As ever it’s hugely exciting and inspiring to see the fresh passion represented by our first-time nominees. Congratulations to everyone nominated today.”

Nigel EldertonPRS for Music Chairman, commented: “I am delighted for PRS for Music to once again be supporting the British Composer Awards, with its impeccable record of recognising the best contemporary classical works. It is inspiring to see that over half of this year’s nominated composers are aged under 40 and first-time nominees, showing that the UK classical music landscape is truly continuing to flourish. Congratulations to you all and I look forward to celebrating with you at the ceremony in December.”

Alan DaveyController BBC Radio 3, added: “Broadcasting the outstanding work of composers from across the UK – throughout our schedule – is an intrinsic part of our role to connect audiences with remarkable music and culture. We look forward to sharing highlights of this year’s awards and some of these marvellous new compositions on the station.”

Celebrating the art of composition and showcasing the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists, the winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on Tuesday 4 December 2018.

Presented by BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, the ceremony will include a performance in memory of nominated composer, Oliver Knussen and the presentation of two Gift of BASCA awards – the British Composer Award for Innovation and the British Composer Award for Inspiration, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association.

British Composer Awards 2018 Nominees:

Amateur or Young Performers
Works for voluntary, amateur or youth choirs and ensembles
• Fiery Tales by Richard Bullen
• Microscopic Dances by Oliver Searle
• The Caretaker’s Guide to the Orchestra by Jeremy Holland-Smith

Chamber Ensemble
Six or more instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part
• Libro di fiammelle e ombre by James Weeks
• O Hototogisu! by Oliver Knussen
• Tanz/haus : triptych 2017 by James Dillon

Choral
A cappella or accompanied, except works for choir and orchestra
• In the Land of Uz by Judith Weir
• Mielo by Raymond Yiu
• Unending Love by Roxanna Panufnik

Community or Educational Project
Works demonstrating a composer’s work in community engagement alongside compositional craft
• Solace by Conall Gleeson
• The Rime of the Ancient Mariner- a retelling for our times by Dee Isaacs
• The Umbrella by Liam Taylor-West

Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble
Nine or more instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element
• Afronaut by Cassie Kinoshi
• Rituals by Matt London
• Time by Finlay Panter

Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble
Up to eight instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element
• Close to Ecstasy by Simon Lasky
• Vegetarians by Ivo Neame
• You’ve Got to Play the Game by Johnny Richards

Orchestral
• Deep Time by Harrison Birtwistle
• Recorder Concerto by Graham Fitkin
• The Imaginary Museum by Julian Anderson

Small Chamber
Three to five instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part
• Chant by Charlotte Bray
• Lines Between by Robert Laidlow
• Unbreathed by Rebecca Saunders

Solo or Duo
Instrumental or vocal music performed by one or two players or voices
• A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Laura Bowler
• Belmont Chill by William Marsey
• The Harmonic Canon by Dominic Murcott

Sonic Art
Sound art installations, electronic music and works with live electronics
• Halfway to Heaven by Emily Peasgood
• The Otheroom by Rolf Wallin
• Two Machines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Hugh Jones as ‘Crewdson & Cevanne’

Stage Works
Works specifically written for the stage, including opera, dance and musical theatre
• Shorelines by Oliver Coates
• The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès
• The World’s Wife by Tom Green

Wind Band or Brass Band
• Dark Arteries Suite by Gavin Higgins
• Mindscapes by Lucy Pankhurst
• The Turing Test by Simon Dobson

Works eligible for the 2018 British Composer Awards must have received a UK premiere between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. Works are also composed by a composer born in the UK or ordinarily resident in the UK.

For more information visit the British Composer Awards website

New Industry Figures reveal surge in exports, recorded music and jobs in record £4.5BN boost to economy

  • UK Music’s 2018 Measuring Music report reveals UK music industry exports rose by 7% to a record £2.6 billion last year
  • Big rises in recorded music and publishing revenues help fuel export growth
  • Music industry jobs rose by 3% to a new high of 145,815 people
  • The UK music industry grew by 2% in 2017

The UK music industry grew by 2% in 2017 to contribute a record £4.5 billion to the economy – up by £100 million on 2016, a new report by UK Music reveals today.

UK Music published the findings of its Measuring Music 2018 report today (Thursday November 1) to highlight the scale of the industry’s contribution to the economy.

The flagship annual economic study by UK Music and its members showed that the music industry continued to grow last year across almost every sector.

Among the big success stories were the record music sector which saw a rise of 9% to £700 million and music publishing which grew by 7% to £505 million in 2017.

Successful British acts including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Rag’N’Bone Man, Stormzy, Harry Styles and Depeche Mode helped exports of UK music soar in 2017 by 7% to £2.6 billion.

Millions of fans who poured into concerts ranging from giant festivals to grassroots music venues generated a contribution of live music to the UK’s economy of around £1 billion (£991 million).

UK Music measures the health of the music business each year by collating data from our partners about the industry’s contribution in goods and services, known as Gross Value Added (GVA), to the UK’s national income or Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Exports are part of this contribution.

KEY POINTS FROM MEASURING MUSIC:

(All figures are the music industry’s GVA to the economy in 2017 + the percentage rise on 2016 figures)

  • Whole sector’s contribution to economy – £4.5bn (+2%)
    • Musicians, composers, songwriters and lyricists – £2bn (+1%)
    • Recorded music – £700m (+9%)
    • Music publishing – £505m (+7%)
  • Exports (whole sector) – £2.6bn (+7%)
    • Recorded music – £468m (+11%)
    • Music publishing (exports) – £719m (+11%)
    • Music representatives (exports) £348m (+9%) (see footnote)
  • Employment (whole sector) – 145,815(+3%)

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher welcomed the figures, but delivered a warning about the need to nurture the music industry’s talent pipeline.

Mr Dugher said: “British music brings enjoyment to millions and makes a massive contribution to the UK plc. I’m really proud of the fact that these figures show once again that when it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do.

“We are a global leader in music and we continue to grow faster than other parts of the British economy and to punch well above our weight.

“Music exports are a particular British success story and organisations like PRS for Music and PPL, that help ensure creators and investors see a return for their work, have also performed particularly strongly in 2017.

“These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry.

“Every child from every background should have the opportunity to access music, to experience its transformative power and to try out a career in the industry if they want to – regardless of whether or not they have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad.

“That’s why we need further government support to help us ensure we produce the next generation of world-leading British talent by backing music in education, protecting grassroots music venues and making sure that creators are properly rewarded for their work. If we do that, we can be even more successful in the future.”

UK Music chairman Andy Heath said: “We are fortunate that levels of creativity in the music industry are really promising at the moment.

“It is a fantastic time for music-makers and for consumers – both in the variety of music on offer and the different ways that people can choose to listen to music.

“However, there are challenges.  It is difficult in the digital age to break new talent because of the sheer quantity of music out there in a crowded marketplace.

“That difficulty is growing and means brilliant creators have to fight harder than ever to get their music heard.

“In the years ahead, it will be a test to help audiences and consumers differentiate and find the musical gems that make our industry so unique.

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James said: “The report demonstrates continued sustained growth with the music industry now contributing £4.5 billion to the economy. Exports have risen to £2.6 billion and the sector employs 145,815 people.

“2017 was a very successful year globally for the UK music industry. Ed Sheeran’s third album ÷ (Divide) was the biggest selling album of the year. The O2 in London was officially the most popular live music arena in the world. Five of the top ten most successful worldwide tours were from UK acts. 2018 is proving to be no different

“We need to build on these achievements and as the Minister responsible for the creative industries I am firmly committed to doing just that.”

We are ‘disappointed’ as the approval of Sony’s acquisition of EMI Music Publishing sets to create a ‘major super power’. The creation of a behemoth entity threatens the ideal of a balanced, diverse and competitive marketplace

BASCA has cited its disappointment following the decision of The European Commission to approve Sony’s acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, thus creating a ‘major super power’.

This follows BASCA’s independent activity, including campaigning to the Commission and statement of September 28th 2018, outlining its opposition of the potential deal.

Sony is currently the world’s biggest music publisher and second biggest music label. BASCA opposed the now-approved Sony EMI deal in favour of EMI being run as a standalone business, or else combined with smaller music companies, with the ideal of fostering a fair and competitive market for European talent.

BASCA opposed the Sony acquisition of EMI and the creation of a ‘major super power’ to mitigate concerns including: possible dominance in the licensing market, dominant influence on CMO’s, possible further reduction of the share of online royalties payable to creators, the undermining of the future autonomy of Creators’ Rights and the reduction of choice and service for creators.

Commenting on the decision BASCA Chair, Crispin Hunt said: “It is disappointing that this decision will create a behemoth that could hinder balance, diversity and competition for music.

“Sony is a great music company but it is through competition as opposed to oligopoly, we all move towards market success and the innovative future music deserves – online and off – for indies, the self-releasing sector and majors.”

 

 

Listen to Issie Barratt’s interview with Jane Garvey here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000nlz

 

BBC Radio 4’s  Woman’s Hour 2018 Power List recognises the Top 40 most successful women having an impact on the music being listened to – whether that’s on radio, vinyl or streaming services.

The list was revealed live in a special Woman’s Hour programme  on BBC Music Day.

Chaired by presenter Tina Daheley, the judging panel included TV producer Jasmine Dotiwala, classical music writer and novelist Jessica Duchen, UK producer of the year Catherine Marks and singer-songwriter Kate Nash.

Woman’s Hour top 40 Power List:
1. Beyoncé (musician)
2. Taylor Swift (musician)
3. Vanessa Reed (Chief Executive of the PRS Foundation)
4. Adele (musician)
5. Stacey Tang (Managing Director of RCA UK)
6. Gillian Moore (Director of Music at Southbank Centre)
7. Rebecca Allen (President of Decca Records)
8. Marin Alsop (conductor)
9. Chi-chi Nwanoku (musician, founder of Chineke! orchestra)
10. Maggie Crowe (Director of Events and Charities at BPI, Administrator of the BRIT Trust)
11. Olga Fitzroy (Recording and mix engineer)
12. Annie Mac (DJ)
13. Desiree Perez (Chief Operating Officer, Roc Nation)
14. Cardi B (musician)
15. Sia (songwriter, musician)
16. Ellie Rowsell (musician)
17. Sarah Stennett (CEO at First Access Entertainment)
18. Nicola Benedetti (musician)
19. Hattie Collins (journalist)
20. Dua Lipa (musician)
21. Kathryn McDowell (Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra)
22. Julie Pilat (Global Head of Operations for Beats1)
23. Alice Farnham (conductor and co-founder of Women Conductors)
24. Fiona Stewart (Director of Green Man Festival)
25. Taponeswa Mavunga (Head of Publicity at Columbia Records)
26. Emma Banks (Co-head at Creative Artists Agency)
27. Edwina Wolstencroft (Editor at BBC Radio 3)
28. Linda Perry (songwriter, musician)
29. Vick Bain (CEO of British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors)
30. Jasmine Sandlas (musician)
31. Anna Meredith (composer)
32. Amber Davis (A&R Director at Warner/Chappell Music)
33. Deborah Annetts (Chief Executive at Incorporated Society of Musicians)
34. Sas Metcalfe (Chief Creative Officer, Kobalt)
35. Fiona Dalgetty (Chief Executive of Feis Rois)
36. Grace Ladoja (founder of Metallic Inc and artist manager)
37. Mandy Parnell (mastering engineer and founder of Black Saloon Studios)
38. Issie Barratt (composer)
39. Nadine Shah (musician)
40. Sara Sesardic (Music Editor at Spotify UK)

BASCA is proud to be represented on the Women’s Hour Power List 2018. BASCA has promoted the issue of diversity for a number of years running regular events that celebrate the work of female composers and songwriters and campaigning to broaden diversity of commissions.

Commenting on the Power List, Helienne Lindvall, BASCA Board member and Chair of the BASCA Songwriting Committee and Ivors Awards Committee said “In recent years, BASCA has worked hard to increase female representation and inclusion across our events and the entire music industry. This is also reflected in the awards we give out, including the Ivor Novello Awards, Gold Badge and British Composer Awards. Though we acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done, we are thrilled that the efforts of these committed and passionate women is being acknowledged by the BBC”. 

You can read more here

BASCA believes that the creation of a Sony ‘major-superpower’ would limit creator choice and could potentially undermine the future autonomy of Creator Rights.

Sony is seeking approval of the European Commission for its acquisition of EMI Music Publishing. Sony is already the largest music publisher in the world, as well as the second biggest music label. If this sale goes through Sony stand to nearly double their publishing catalogue, growing it from 2.16m to 4.21m compositions, securing a potential hegemony of the global music market. Combined with Sony’s label interests, this merger would effectively create a ‘major-superpower’ with new capability to dominate licensing markets and (via direct online licensing deals) raise serious implications for the autonomy of collective rights management.

Commenting on the pending transaction BASCA Chair, Crispin Hunt said, “At a time when the EU is looking to restore a balanced, diverse and competitive online marketplace for music, to allow the concentration of market leverage in this way seems antithetical to that purpose. As yet, there appears little evidence that the (unchallengeable dogma of the) market-share-music-model will successfully deliver the flourishing musical environment that consumers desire. Sony is a great music company; indeed they acquired, publish and service much of my catalogue. But if we are to heed the economic lessons of ‘too big to fail’, it seems incautious to concede near absolute control of the music market to one player. Setting up the music ecosystem so that it once again runs on competition as opposed to oligopoly is the key to a flourishing market, both online and off.”

A Sony Super-Power could intimidate the creator’s voice and erode the autonomy of collective rights management.

 Creators rely on the transparency, governance and fair distribution of royalties. Collective rights management plays an integral role in ensuring this happens. Improvements are needed to how some CMOs are managed, but the Collective Rights Management Directive in Europe should soon address concerns. However, there is no such regulation over how labels and publishers license, collect and distribute royalties.

Hunt said: “While we recognise the advantage of large music companies in securing value for collective licenses, we also note that large catalogues can exert an asymmetric influence on CMO’s.  Naturally, such catalogues tend to optimise policies for the convenience of the big guys, which could disadvantage the expanding indie and self-releasing sector. The CMO network provides a critical lifeline for most music creators and indie publishers alike. Gigantic catalogues can be good for business — but a Titanic one?”

A super-sized Sony could reduce choice and service for creators

Historically, some creators have found a reduction of service and diligence inevitably accompanies the absorption of catalogue.  Aggregated catalogues, arguably, lack incentive to extract maximum value from each newly acquired work and one-to-one publisher/creator relationships can deteriorate accordingly. Commenting on behalf of the BASCA Songwriters Committee, Helienne Lindvall said, “Creators should expect that their copyrights will be known to the publisher and exploited fully. They should also expect their publishers to work closely with them on a personal level to develop their careers. The opposite has been found to be true for songwriters and composers – including myself – when their rights are transferred from their original publisher to a corporation such as Sony, in merging vast catalogues.”

BASCA is seeking for the Sony transaction to be blocked in favour of EMI being run as a standalone business or else combined with smaller music companies to guarantee a fair and competitive market for European talent.

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