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Dan Moore

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ECSA petition | Fairer royalty rates for music creators

Earlier this month, the US Copyright Royalty Board started its process to determine the nation’s mechanical royalty rates for the next five years.  This will consequently set the royalty rates that digital streaming services must pay. Music industry practitioners all around the world are watching very closely. The result won’t come out until the end of this year, but music communities including International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) have already sent their support to have the rates increased.

Echoing their acts, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) are now joining ICMP on calling for a fair mechanical rate for music creators by launching an online petition. Please sign the petition and get your voice heard to make sure music works are valued properly.

They have also published an open letter along with the petition, see below.


Songwriters to Digital Services: Work With Us Not Against Us

Dear Apple, Amazon, Google, Spotify and Pandora:

As songwriters, we count on you to deliver our music to the fans who love it. We appreciate the innovative platforms you have developed to do this, however we must voice our outrage at the way you are devaluing our work in the process.

Currently you are fighting to pay us as little as possible in the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceedings. This is alarming not only because it threatens our livelihoods and ability to continue our craft, but also because it tells us that instead of being our business partners, you choose to be our adversaries.

The future of music will go one of two ways. We can work together to create an industry ecosystem that grows not just tech companies’ valuations, but also the diversity and quality of music. Or, you can work to reduce the rates paid to songwriters so much that you have nothing left to deliver the fans who subscribe to your services.

It’s not too late to do the right thing. Stop litigating against songwriters and pay them a fair rate for their songs. It is in your best interest to do so instead of making it impossible for us to earn a living. The future of music, and your business, depends on it.



On 28 Feb, Westminster hall held a Houses of Parliament debate on the importance of intellectual property to the British economy, where MPs discussed a wide-range of copyright issues.

Five music industry groups representing music creatives and their managers, BASCA, the FAC, the MMF, the MPG and the MU, put out a  joint statement welcoming the Government’s intervention after 18 months of attempting to reach a voluntary code of conduct on transparency between artists, songwriters and producers failed, “due to intransigence on the part of the major music corporations.”

“According to data from UK Music, it is this country’s creative talent that underpins our global success story in music. The direct economic contribution of those who compose, perform and produce music represents over 50% of our entire industry’s GVA – more than £2.1 billion. Without these individuals there would be no music business.”

“These facts are worth bearing in mind in the continued debates around streaming services, and the fight by creators to see greater transparency in how their music is licensed and how the resulting revenues are distributed.”

Their voice was acknowledged in the parliament debate. Northern Irish MP Ian Paisley raised an imperative need for a more transparent music industry. In light of Brexit, he urged the government “to make the United Kingdom the gold standard for protection of performers’ IP”, and “to grab this generational opportunity to make the UK the best and the safest place for IP to be placed, contracted and protected.”

The recent anti-piracy agreement reached between search engines and creative industries was also highly praised and the role played by the intellectual Property Office (IPO) was welcomed. Nigel Adams MP, who had instigated this IP discussion, suggested a similar role could potentially benefit and facilitate negotiation between artists, songwriters, producers, and major music corporations on the matters of transparency.

This subject was also mentioned in previous parliament debate on Digital Economy Bill, when a transparency amendment was proposed by Liberal Democrat lord Tim Clement-Jones in the House of Lords debate, however didn’t make its way to the final stage.

On EU’s level, the latest Copyright directive made an attempt to address this issue in article 14, where a “transparency obligation” was invented, granting authors and performers the right to receive on a regular basis, timely, adequate and sufficient information on the exploitation of their works. Although the exact terms and practical enforcement of this article was heavily questioned, it is unarguably a positive attempt from the government’s end.


One of BASCA’s key campaigns, “the Day the Music Dies”, also targets the lack of transparency in music industry, urging more transparency around digital deals, to achieve a fairer share of digital royalty income and advertising revenues linked to our members’ works

Last night we gathered a the Soho Piano Bar to hear the nominations for the 2017 Jazz FM Awards with several BASCA members including Carleen Anderson, Norma Winstone and The Rolling Stones being nominated.

The event takes place on April 25th and organisers have confirmed that pioneering R&B and jazz vocalist Georgie Fame will receive the PPL Lifetime Achievement Award, and will perform a one-off, exclusive show with a quartet led by BASCA member Guy Barker.
Here’s the full list of 2017 Nominees:

Sponsored by Yamaha
– Ashley Henry
– Nubya Garcia
– Yussef Kamaal

Sponsored by Oris Watches
– Brad Mehldau
– Donny McCaslin
– Robert Glasper

Sponsored by PRS for Music
– Carleen Anderson
– Norma Winstone
– Polly Gibbons

Sponsored by Rathbones
– Nikki Yeoh
– Gwilym Simcock
– Tim Garland

Sponsored by The Piano Bar Soho
– Bonnie Raitt
– Eric Bibb
– The Rolling Stones

Sponsored by RCS
– Jordan Rakei
– Laura Mvula
– William Bell

Sponsored by Mishcon de Reya
– Darcy James Argue
– Jaimeo Brown
– Moon Hooch

Sponsored by Pollitt & Partners
– Dave Douglas – Greenleaf Music
– Gilles Peterson – Worldwide FM
– Jaimeo Brown – Transcendence: Work Songs

Sponsored by Arqiva
– Anderson .Paak – Malibu
– Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now
– Gregory Porter – Take Me To The Alley
– Kurt Elling – The Beautiful Day
– Madeleine Peyroux – Secular Hymns
– The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

Sponsored by Grange Hotels
– Dinosaur
– Shabaka Hutchings
– Soweto Kinch


– Ashley Henry Trio at Jazz Re:Fest, Royal Festival Hall
– Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles at Glee Club Birmingham
– Julian Arguelles with Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Django Bates & Steve Argüelles at Cheltenham Jazz Festival
– Orphy Robinson All Stars – The Bobby Hutcherson Songbook at St James The Great, London
– Roberto Fonseca Trio at Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Sage Gateshead
– Wayne Shorter Quartet at EFG London Jazz Festival, Barbican

– Recipient: Georgie Fame

– Recipient: Damien Chazelle

To nominate your favourite jazz personality go to the Jazz FM Awards website and vote now!

Moët & Chandon Grand Scores 2017 – Last night, for the forth time, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) in partnership with Moet & Chandon hosted a special evening to honour some of the greatest composers in international film music.

As official content partner of the Grand Scores, ECSA was in charge of providing a high class international jury consisting of film composers to ensure a fair and committed selection procedure in what is considered to be the most renowned peer-to-peer film music award.

As members of ECSA, BASCA was invited to nominate three eligible works by UK composers for consideration. BASCA’s Media Executive Committee put forward the score for ‘High Rise’ in the category ‘Best Orchestral Score’ by Clint Mansell, the score for ‘Steve Jobs’ in the category ‘Best Electro-acoustic Score’ by Daniel Pemberton and the score for ‘Marcella’ by Lorne Balfe for ‘Best original Music for a series’.

We’re delighted that last night Clint Mansell won the Best Orchestral Score award for the film “High Rise”.
Full winners list

Best Orchestral Score – Gaute Storaas for “En Man Som Heter Ove” (A Man Called Ove)
Best Orchestral Score – Clint Mansell for “High Rise
Best Electro-Acoustic Score – Sophia Ersson for “Pojkarna” (Girls Lost)
Best Original Music for a Series – Victor Reyes for “The Night Manager
Outstanding Contribution – Lalo Schifrin

Paul McCartney – winner of the Ivor Novello award for Outstanding Services to British Music in 1989

Under American copyright law, authors have a statutory right to terminate copyright-related contracts. But this termination right is an anomaly very specific to US copyright law and there are no equivalent ‘recapturing’ rights in the EU or the UK.

BASCA reported back in 2015 how Bruce Woolley, co-writer of Buggles’ hit Video Killed The Radio Star, with the help of music copyright attorney Lisa Alter, was able to ‘recapture’ the rights to his US catalogue.

Duran Duran had sought to reclaim the copyright to some of their hits using this very process but in December last year a high court judge ruled that contracts made under English law can prevent them from doing so and ruled in favour of their publishers Gloucester Place Music, owned by Sony/ATV.

Now Sony/ATV are going back to the courts as BASCA Fellow Sir Paul McCartney is also attempting to secure the reversion of his U.S. Beatles publishing copyrights next year and claims that the publishing company has so far failed to agree to transfer these copyrights to the songwriter when the legal rights expire, despite repeated requests dating back to 2008.

Yesterday (18/01/17) McCartney filed a lawsuit in a New York federal court against Sony/ATV to confirm his ownership in his U.S. reversionary copyrights granted to him by U.S. copyright law in the songs he wrote with fellow Beatle, John Lennon.

MPG_BASCA_MembershipDiscountThe British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and the Music Producers Guild are launching a reciprocal membership fee discount.

All Full Members of the MPG will be entitled to £50 off the membership price for Professional BASCA membership. And likewise, all professional BASCA members will be entitled to £50 off the price of Full Membership with the MPG.

Professional BASCA members wishing to take up this offer should apply via the website www.mpg.org.uk and enter BASCA in the Affiliated Organisation field and Full MPG Members should contact BASCA quoting their membership number.

For further assistance, please contact  either victoria.cuff@mpg.org.uk or jenny@basca.org.uk



George Michael

Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

George Michael “passed away peacefully” on Christmas day in Goring, Oxfordshire.

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in North London in 1963, George Michael rose to fame in the 1980s in the pop duo Wham! before going solo in 1986 and establishing himself as one of the most successful songwriter and performer in the World.
Michael sold over 100 million records worldwide with hits including Careless Whisper, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Faith, Freedom and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Most Performed Work - George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley - The Ivors 1985 photo Joe CoomberBASCA awarded him 3 times with the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year, in 1985, 1989 and 1996. He also won the award for International Hit of the Year award in 1989 for the song “Faith”

Read his obituary on the BBC website


Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

ivors2BASCA, in association with PRS for Music, is celebrating the 62nd Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday 18th May 2017.

The Ivors celebrate, honour and reward excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing, for works released in the UK within the award year.

The Call for Entries in the following categories for works released in 2016 is now open:

Best Song Musically and Lyrically
Best Contemporary Song
Album Award
Best Original Film Score
Best Television Soundtrack

Anyone can enter an eligible work and the deadline for entries is Monday 6th February 2017.

The Rules and Guidelines for Entry and the Entry Form can be requested from Cindy Truong – cindy@basca.org.uk

PRS Outstanding Contribution to British Music - Duran Duran - The Ivors 2005 photo David Fisher (16)

Under American copyright law, authors have a statutory right to terminate copyright-related contracts after 35 years. This termination right is an anomaly very specific to US copyright law.

There is a five-year window within which they can terminate their contracts for perpetual or ‘life of copyright’ grants. These provisions were originally prompted by an acknowledgment by the US Congress that authors (including songwriters) frequently enter into inequitable, long-binding deals.


US artists such as Billy Joel and Blondie have been handed their copyrights back in the US and BASCA reported last year that Bruce Woolley who co-wrote Video Killed The Radio Star with Trevor Horn, successfully navigated through this legal maze.

Double Ivor Novello award winners, Duran Duran had sought to reclaim the copyright to some of their hits using this very process but yesterday a high court judge ruled that contracts made under English law can prevent them from doing so and ruled in favour of their publishers Gloucester Place Music, owned by US business Sony/ATV.

As reported in The Telegraph, singer Simon Le Bon and his fellow group members are now seeking to challenge the decision in bid to help other UK artists. BASCA CEO, Vick Bain is quoted saying “We are very disappointed to hear of the outcome of this ruling.  Justice Arnold has stated his decision was “not without hesitation” so we hope this ruling is challenged and that Duran Duran will consider an appeal.

“The law in the US is very clear; songwriters have an opportunity to claim back their copyrights after 35 years and a number of British songwriters with US deals have been able to do so successfully over the past few years.  They have then been able to re-negotiate fairer terms for their catalogues than were offered to them in the late 1970s and early 80s at the start of their careers.  It seems clear to us that US laws should cover all copyrights in that territory no matter the nationality of the writers.”

BASCA Chair, Crispin Hunts adds “”Copyright’s intended purpose is to protect and incentivise creators to create great work. In this case ,for Duran Duran, it has clearly succeeded in doing neither. In the digital age ,where copyright is widely misunderstood, this unhelpful judgment may serve to foment further confusion or at best illuminate where uk songwriters are disadvantaged by un -progressive contractual terms”.

View the ‘Termination of Transfers under US Copyright Law’ by Lisa Alter



Independent Venue WeekIndependent Venue Week is back for its fourth consecutive year, taking place between Monday 23 – Sunday 29 January, 2017 and BASCA is partnering for 2 exclusive songwriting events in Cardiff (25th Jan) and Brighton (27th Jan).

Staged across 120 venues around the UK, the seven day-long national event, supported by Arts Council England, is now a firm fixture on the UK’s music calendar giving tens of thousands of fans and hundreds of artists their first taste of live music each year.

The project, which is staged nationally but retains a strong local focus, will see venues from across the whole country hosting special shows throughout the week. Set to be the biggest Independent Venue Week yet, 30 new venues will be taking part in the event for first time with more new additions to follow. These include The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket, Halifax’s Grayston Unity which has a capacity of just 18, The Bungalow in Paisley and London’s iconic Roundhouse.

Following the likes of Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood and Frank Turner, who have taken the role in previous years, Independent Venue Week’s ambassador for 2017 will be Tim Burgess, frontman of The Charlatans, solo artist and author.

He said: “Independent venues are where every band starts and where music fans get to see emerging talent. Without them bands would not get a chance for their all-important first hometown gigs and subsequent tours. These venues and bands need our support and the best way you can do that is by having a night out. Lots of venues are closing – we definitely need to stick together and stop this happening.”

Tim will perform live at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room on Monday, 23 January 2017 with support from Tear and Pheromoans. There are further Independent Venue Week shows taking place across the UK under Burgess’ Tim Peaks banner.

These kick off on Thursday, 26 January 2017 at The Exchange in Bristol, where local gigging legend ‘Big’ Jeff Johns has put together a bill featuring Bristolian favourites Yama Warashi and Kayla Painter.

Tim Burgess’ O Genesis label then takes up the baton with a mini tour, which kicks off at Belfast’s Voodoo on Friday, 27 January 2017, featuring a headline set from Northern Ireland’s Documenta. Following a short hop across the sea, Yucatan will top a bill at the Bethesda venue in North Wales on Saturday, 28 January, before the jaunt climaxes in Manchester on Sunday, 29 January with Horsebeach headlining. The bands will take it in turns to support each other across the dates. All of the Tim Peaks dates are being supported by Help Musicians UK, the country’s leading and only independent charity for musicians at all stages of their career.

Explaining his hands on approach to his Independent Venue Week role, ambassador Burgess said: “I worked with the Independent Venue Week organisers last year on a gig in Manchester. It was an honour to accept their offer of being this year’s ambassador – I’ve picked some of my favourite bands to play in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Independent Venue Week. Hopefully see you at one of the shows”

Other unique shows taking place during Independent Music Week will include special gigs from Richard Hawley, Simian Mobile Disco, Martha Wainwright, BBC Sound of 2017 longlist artists Cabbage and Declan McKenna as well as Cass McCoombs, HECK, Beans on Toast, The Moonlandingz, The Carnabys, Skinny Girl Diet, Shame, Dream Wife and Goat Girl, while Sam Duckworth, formerly of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, will perform ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager’ in full with his new project Recreations.

Independent Venue Week 2017 will also feature a host of gigs with line-ups hand-picked by the likes of SXSW, Huw Stephens, Killimanjaro, Domino Records, Bugged Out, Springboard, a Karousel Music x SESAC Showcase, Trashmouth Records, Field Music & Independent Presents, Melting Vinyl and Live UK 16 Award winning promoter Juicebox Live, with more artists, venues and promoters from across the UK set to announce shows in due course.

With Arts Council England supporting Independent Venue Week for the third time, their Director Of Music Helen Sprott, stressed how the annual event has come to nourish local music scenes around Britain.

She said: “We remain committed to Independent Venue Week and to highlighting the importance of grassroots venues to local communities and emerging artists across the country. Grassroots venues are critical to the health of the music industry, an invaluable circuit for new talent, making the connection between musicians and audiences everywhere. We are delighted that once again, an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts award is enabling this vital work to continue.”

BASCA will join other partners Musicians Union, PRS For Music and PPL to support IVW, staging a series of events for local music communities, including songwriting master classes, how to maximise your revenue and more. In addition, PRS for Music’s M magazine will be curating a live show at East London gigging institution the Sebright Arms. Taking place on Thursday 26 January 2017, the night will feature some of M’s most-loved up-and-coming PRS for Music members.

Independent Venue Week will also continue its work with Attitude is Everything, expanding access for all gig goers, as well as working with Stay Up Late’s gig buddy scheme which links up adults with learning disabilities with volunteers who have similar taste in music so they can attend gigs together.

“What’s so exciting about this year is just how many people are now involved in Independent Venue Week” said Founder Sybil Bell. “The support means grassroots venues are benefitting from brilliant artists, promoters and media who are helping to start the year off with some amazing shows. Last year, nearly 40,000 people went to gigs during IVW – a huge boost to venues and a great way for people to kick the January blues into touch.”

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