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After two and a half years of debate, the EU Council and Parliament last night reached a provisional agreement on the Copyright Directive. BASCA greatly welcomes this key step forward towards modernising copyright rules, bringing tangible benefits to all creative sectors.

The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) – comprising BASCA, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU, commends the positive progress made on this vital piece of legislation for music makers. Music makers bring untold joy and entertainment to the masses. They are significant contributors to culture, as well as providing a grand boost to the economy beyond most other sectors.

The CMM believes that the full package of the proposed EU Copyright Directive as a whole aims to support our community, modernise the industry, encourage a healthier market with fairness and transparency, and promote a sustainable, innovative, balanced music business with music makers at its heart. This ambition is vital in ensuring music makers are clearly and adequately remunerated for their work.

We have supported the positive activity of our UK and European counterparts on this matter and lobbied at home and in Brussels, to ensure that our message is heard on the importance of the Copyright Directive as an opportunity to modernise the laws and commercial landscape governing how music makers get paid and how fans engage with music.

Chair of BASCA Crispin Hunt has said:

“Yesterday, the political institutions of the European Union demonstrated the wisdom of the EU institutional structure. Against all odds, and facing a disinformation campaign from the most powerful corporations on earth, they came together determined to give effect to their campaign, initiated four years ago, to ensure the vitality of the the European cultural community and to fuel cultural diversity, economic competitiveness, and protection of human dignity in the face of many challenges. To say that this looked bleak at times would be quite an understatement, but yesterday’s agreement is a historic moment in the evolution of internet governance and advancement of the Arts, and is due in no small part to the determination, grit and patience of champions like Helga Truepel and Axel Voss. Future generations of creators may not know their debt to these leaders, but we do. The Copyright Directive may not be perfect, (it’s a pragmatic compromise), but we musn’t let the perfect get in the way of the great. We look forward to a positive result in the European Parliament and the dawn of a new day for European culture.”

Alfons Karabuda, ECSA President, has said:

“On behalf of the music authors community, let me first thank all the negotiators for reaching such an agreement. It was said to be the once in a generation reform, and the EU can be proud of the deal reached yesterday. This is a strong and positive signal to all authors who want to write, compose, create and be fairly remunerated for their creations.”

The text agreed on Wednesday evening is being refined and consolidated and will be made public in the coming days. The final text of the European Copyright Directive will be presented to Parliament and the 28 member countries for final approval, with a vote taking place between the end of March and early April.

An open letter from the UK Council of Music Makers

LONDON – February 8, 2019

The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) – comprising BASCA, FAC, MMF, MPG and the MU – call on negotiators to proceed with the Copyright Directive.

We are the voice of UK songwriters, music producers, performing artists, musicians and music managers. We speak on behalf of thousands of makers of the music this ‘industry’ represents. We speak with one voice with all the creator-led organisations across Europe and around the world in supporting the Copyright Directive.

While the current text could be improved and still includes some problematic provisions, it is a compromise. At every step of this process the creative community has sought compromise and been open to dialogue.

Most creators and artists in the UK struggle to make a living from music. Without this Directive, creators will be entirely deprived of any means to get a fair remuneration in the online environment: the market will be entirely driven by the commercial interests of free-riding tech giants. This would be a fundamental failure for European policy-making and the functioning of our democracy, as it can only be interpreted as an endorsement of the unfair and manipulative practices of some tech giants that refuse any responsibility.

We make the music that people want to listen to and buy. It is our intellectual property and our rights and we need the Copyright Directive to put in place reasonable and fair safeguards.

It is hugely disappointing to see the music labels and publishers disregard the interests of their creators and artists in this way. They are trying to overturn years of collaborative work at the 11th hour by killing the Copyright Directive. Like YouTube, they have lobbied negotiators hard without consulting or informing the creative community. Heavy-handed tactics of heavyweight businesses.

It is sad to see labels and publishers turn on their creators and artists in this way. They are trying to halt the Directive not only because of the latest wording of Article 13 but because they want to avoid the improvements to transparency and fairness that the Articles 14-16 bring. We are saddened that the short-term commercial interests of these companies can be put before modernisation of copyright legislation that will benefit the whole industry.

The labels and publishers have shown an unsettling disrespect for the talent that they have the privilege of representing, raising serious questions about their suitability to be the custodians of copyright. We have worked in tandem with UK Music and colleagues across the industry to find compromise and solutions that enable legislation to pass. This Directive will affect future generations of creators and performers whose interests need protecting beyond the interests of current models.

We have been engaged and willing to negotiate, and we remain engaged and progressing in good faith, with both tech and industry. We have not given up on this important legislation.

We call on UK Government and UK Music to support the adoption of the Copyright Directive.

Council of Music Makers (UK)

British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA)
Featured Artists Coalition (FAC)
Music Managers Forum (MMF)
Music Producers Guild (MPG)
Musicians’ Union (MU)

As the Copyright Directive reaches the final few stages of its journey, it is crucial that creators continue to support the campaign to ensure this essential piece of new policy is adopted.

Currently there are three versions of the directive, the original one drafted by the European Commission in 2016 and the significantly amended versions passed by the European Parliament and the EU Council last year. Talks between these three groups, known as the Trialogue, have been put in place to agree on one amended version of the text, ahead of a final vote in Parliament set to go ahead between February and April.

Despite strong opposition from the tech industry, we are urging our members and the community to actively support our campaigning work to help send powerful messages in favour of creators. BASCA is working closely with the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) and multiple organisations across Europe backing the directive, including France’s Union of Authors and Composers (UNAC) on an ‘ERROR 404, CREATORS NOT FOUND’ campaign running online and across social media. To get involved, just follow these four simple steps (you can see examples below):

  1. Take a picture of yourself holding a tablet, laptop or phone displaying the image message “ERROR 404, CREATORS NOT FOUND” above, referring to the absence of content error. If you are unable to insert the 404 ERROR on the screen of your device, it will be inserted in post-treatment of the picture
  2. Send the picture with your name, function/job and the location to contact@unac.info, alessandra.callegari@composeralliance.org and marc.dumoulin@composeralliance.org
  3. UNAC and ECSA will then publish it, using several hashtags such as #noCreatorsNoInternet, #createyourinternet, #SaYestothe#CopyrightDirective, as well as tagging various MEPs from the countries corresponding to the picture
  4. Get creative! Showcase a well-known place, such as a famous monument or square in your photo

For the latest news and updates on the developments of the Copyright Directive visit https://www.article13.org/

Europe for Creators is launching a new website and a newsletter, as part of a renewed effort to counter Google’s massive disinformation campaign around Article 13 of the European Copyright Directive.

The new tools are meant to fight back with facts. The website, www.article13.org and the newsletter, INSIGHT13, take a no-nonsense approach to the issue and go back to basics: What does the Directive actually say and how does the process work?

Google has used its financial power and its YouTube platform to organise one of the largest lobbying campaigns the European Union has seen in recent years, with scant regard for truth. YouTube executives have claimed that Article 13 would cripple the platform in Europe, with 35 million accounts potentially at risk of being taken down. The platform and its allies have sought to manipulate children and young users to channel false claims about Article 13. It’s extremely worrying that a media platform in such a dominant position would use its service as a weapon to influence public opinion and advocate purely private and commercial interests through misinformation, fearmongering and fake news.

With a clear timeline, an FAQ and a paragraph-by-paragraph explanation of the European Parliament’s version of Article 13, the website provides accurate and easy-to-understand insights into the debate, while unveiling the benefits of Article 13 for creators and ordinary users. It is time that YouTube takes steps to ensure transparency, accountability and responsibility on its platform once and for all. And it will never do so without clear and fair rules in place.

Article 13 will facilitate the sharing of content in a fairer way and stop arbitrary removal of content and other unfair trading practices which platforms such as YouTube routinely resort to.

The newsletter will report on the latest developments in the process and the battle over public opinion. Brief analytical pieces will link to the best articles, videos, Tweets and memes on the subject.

Subscribe to the newsletter, visit www.article13.org or follow the debate on Twitter @EUForCreators with #EuropeForCreators.

Several key figures and longstanding members of BASCA from across the songwriting and composing community have been recognised as part of this year’s New Years Honours list, awarding the achievements of a range of extraordinary people across the UK.

Amongst those are BASCA members Nick Mason, founding member and drummer of Pink Floyd, who was presented with a Gold Badge Award in 2012, as well as composer, producer and recipient of the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award 2017 Nitin Sawhney. Both music creators have been awarded a CBE for services to music. On receiving his honour, Nitin Sawhney has said:

“Although I declined an OBE over 10 years ago, mainly due to the invasion of Iraq, I decided to accept the CBE this time as the offer letter arrived on my late dad’s birthday. He had regretted that I didn’t take the OBE before and had asked if I would take it as a birthday present to him. Although my father sadly passed away in 2013, I am taking the CBE to honour his memory. I still object to the word “Empire” in the honours system as I find it archaic and irrelevant to contemporary society. However, I feel humbled that somebody felt I deserved any kind of honour and I am therefore grateful to receive this kind acknowledgement of my life’s work to date.”

Professor Shirley Thompson, composer, music educator and BASCA Classical Committee member, has been honoured with an OBE. A visionary artist and cultural activist, she has composed extensively for concerts, TV, film, theatre, dance and opera production. Of the acknowledgement, Shirley has told us:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be awarded with an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2019 and thank my anonymous nominator/s very much! I am very grateful for all the support and encouragement from faithful family, friends and colleagues that has enabled me to realise my vision and endeavours. I much appreciate all of you that have attended my gigs and bought my audio and visual recordings. Even more thrilling has been the torrent of warm salutations that I’ve received from my wonderful peers, whose artwork I respect very highly. I am very proud to be a part of our invaluable artistic community and feel greatly encouraged to continue creating and staging musical work. Many thanks to you all!”

MBE’s have been awarded to BASCA member Gordon Giltrap for services to music and charity, as well as singer, songwriter, TV personality and Gold Badge Award winner 2007 David Grant, for services to music.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, published in June 2018, BASCA Board member Orphy Robinson was awarded an MBE for services to music. The Investiture ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace on November 13th, where Orphy was presented with his award by Her Majesty the Queen.

Notable projects for 2018 have included producing Nigel Kennedy’s latest album, which is a tribute to the music of the great American Jazz composer George Gershwin, as well as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Van Morrison’s magical Jazz, Folk, and Soul influenced recording ‘Astral Weeks’ at the EFG London Jazz Festival to a sold-out concert at the Southbank Centre.

Current projects include preproduction on Carleen Anderson’s next album due for release in 2019. Future projects for the year ahead include touring his ‘Astral Weeks’ project and being invited back as the Artistic Director of the Gibraltar world music festival for the second year running.

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.”

As part of this year’s British Composer Awards, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, we were delighted to present two composers with Gift of BASCA Awards. These were given in recognition of contributions to new music throughout their careers.

Trevor Wishart was presented with a British Composer Award for Innovation in recognition of his commitment to innovation throughout his musical career. With a particular focus on translating the human voice and natural sounds into music through the use of technology, Wishart is a pioneer of sonic art and the winner of numerous international award. Having written extensively on the topic of sonic art and computer music he has created a number of original software tools for musical composition and is a founder member of the Composer’s Desktop Project.

Ahead of the ceremony, we had a chat with Trevor to find out about his career to date and what advice he can offer to composers.

How do you feel about receiving the British Composer Award for Innovation from the composer community?

“Surprised, and happy that my work is being recognised.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career to date?

“An invitation on to the IRCAM induction course in 1981, where I learned music programming.”

Your work as a free vocal improviser has pushed so many boundaries – what drew you originally to the voice?

“Just as a baby is especially responsive to anything resembling a human face, we all seem to have the same instinctive reaction to the human voice. Hence, using the voice as your sound source connects very immediately with audiences. A complicated multiphonic on a clarinet might be interesting to a small group of music specialists, but a complicated multiphonic in the voice connects emotionally with anyone (even if they’re just terrified!!).

More generally, the voice is a very special sound source. Unlike other musical instruments, you can change the spectrum (the sound colour) of the voice from moment to moment. In fact, that’s what happens as we speak. This makes it a particularly exciting (and difficult) source to work with in the computer studio.”

As a key creative programmer for the Composers Desktop Project, what drove you to develop the community?

“The Composers Desktop Project has always been a cooperative venture. It grew out of a group of composers, all pupils or associates of Richard Orton at the University of York. Its chief inspiration was poverty. At the time it originated, computer music could only be made on mainframe computers and, for various technical reasons, in only 4 places in the world, the only place in Europe being IRCAM in Paris. Not even the University of York could afford such a computer, never mind us composers. But we realised that the computer programs would run on one of the new desktop computers then emerging, and decided to port lots of the software to machines we could all afford and use at home.

I’ve always been committed to freely (or very cheaply) available software, as you can only develop a music-making community if you share the tools with other people, just as traditional composers share conventional instruments as their common sound sources.”

In your opinion what are the most exciting advances in music making right now?

“The ability to animate and control a multidimensional space of sounds originating from anywhere at all, from conventional musical or dramatic performance, events in the real world, and purely synthetic sounds, and to move seamlessly between all of these.”

What advice would you give an aspiring composer and sound designer starting out today?

“Stick to your artistic goals. Don’t be distracted by the lure of fame or fortune. Learn to use as many sound musical tools as you can, then stick with them, master them. Get your work performed abroad. Support for experimental work is uncommon, but at any particular time, there is usually some country or region which has decided to support new work. You need to be able to move from place to place where support is forthcoming.”

Where do you personally find creative inspiration?

“From many, many sources, but particularly from events in the real world and from pure mathematics.”

A BBC Radio 3 exclusive broadcast of The British Composer Awards 2018 is available to listen to on BBC Sounds here.

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”


As part of this year’s British Composer Awards, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, we were delighted to present two composers with Gift of BASCA Awards. These were given in recognition of contributions to new music throughout their careers.

Sally Beamish was presented with the British Composer Award for Inspiration, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association, in recognition of her long and distinguished career as a composer, violist and pianist. Sally is a multi-award-winning composer, who has composed a huge volume of music throughout her career, including for orchestra, chamber, film, theatre, ballet, and compositions for amateurs. She is currently composer-in-residence at the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and co-directs the St. Magnus Composers’ Course in Orkney, where her wisdom and experience as a mentor has supported dozens of composers.

Ahead of the ceremony, we had a chat with Sally to find out about her career to date and what advice she can offer to composers.

How do you feel about receiving the British Composer Award for Inspiration from the composer community?

“This means so much to me – I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be considered an inspiration – having gained so much from the composers who generously gave me their time, support and advice when I was starting out. I’d like to mention in particular Martin Dalby, Oliver Knussen and Peter Maxwell-Davies, who have all recently died, and who were hugely important and inspirational to me.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career to date?

“Moving to Scotland. Being in a smaller, but vibrant, cultural scene opened up many possibilities in terms of collaborations and projects. And above all, the music and landscape were a revelation.”

What sparked your decision to develop a career as a composer, in addition to your existing profession as a violist?

“I always considered myself a composer, but two things combined to galvanise me into composing full-time – the theft of my viola in a burglary in 1989, and the birth of my first child in the same year. Composing is the perfect career for a parent as it is flexible. An Arts Council Composers Bursary gave me that extra encouragement to start a new life as a composer in Scotland.”

You’ve said the concerto is a continuing inspiration, what is it about this form of composition that you find so fascinating?

“When I was about 9, my mother, who taught me violin, gave me a Vivaldi concerto to learn and explained what a concerto was. I loved the idea of a soloist telling a story and interacting with orchestra and audience. I still do. The form has given me many opportunities to create work for specific performers, who often come with their own ideas for what kind of piece it might be.”

You have co-directed the annual St Magnus Composers’ Course in Orkney for a number of years. What drew you to be involved and why do you feel this setting in particular is so special?

“I have loved Orkney since I went there as Peter Maxwell Davies’ assistant for his courses on Hoy in the 90s. It became a special place for my family and hardly a year has gone by when I haven’t visited. The islands have a kind of magic which is hard to describe. When Alasdair Nicolson invited me to co-direct the composers’ course, I jumped at the chance – though with some trepidation, as I hadn’t done any regular teaching, and had never studied composition myself. But I have loved meeting the composers who come on the course – all ages and all backgrounds – and they always have something to give back.”

What advice would you give to an aspiring composer starting out today?

“Stick around performers – and perform yourself. If you don’t play an instrument, sing, or conduct your own work. I am learning a great deal about my own writing now I am playing again. And my commissions still often come via musicians I worked with when I was a full time viola player.”

Where do you personally find creative inspiration?

“From performers; and also from literature, art, theatre, and the natural world. Scottish traditional music has been very important in developing my voice, as has jazz. But sometimes, it just feels as if it’s the deadline (and fear!) that drives me on. Being creative doesn’t always feel creative – often it feels as if you’re just churning out notes – but afterwards you find that something else has been happening at a deeper level.”

A BBC Radio 3 exclusive broadcast of The British Composer Awards 2018 is available to listen to on BBC Sounds here.

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