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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.

The Music Modernization Act has been unanimously passed by the United States Senate, meaning an overhaul of music licensing legislation is soon to occur.

The Modernization act includes the CLASSICS Act, which guarantees artists and labels who recorded music before 1972 a federal right to be paid for those recordings when played by digital radio outlets.

Mitch Glazier, President, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said: “As legendary band the Grateful Dead once said in an iconic pre-1972 song, ‘what a long strange trip it’s been.’ It’s been an epic odyssey, and we’re thrilled to almost be at our destination.

“For the modern U.S. Senate to unanimously pass a 185-page bill is a herculean feat, only achievable because of the grit, determination and mobilization of thousands of music creators across the nation.

“The result is a bill that moves us toward a modern music licensing landscape better founded on fair market rates and fair pay for all. At long last, a brighter tomorrow for both past and future generations of music creators is nearly upon us. We are indebted to the leadership of Senators Hatch, Grassley, Feinstein, Alexander, Coons, Kennedy and Whitehouse for helping get us there.”

Click here for some further reading.

Whilst commending yesterdays EU Copyright Directive vote result, The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) launches today comprising of BASCA, the Featured Artist Coalition, the Music Managers Forum, the Music Producers Guild and the Musician’s Union.

The CMM campaigns for a better future for music makers, to ensure that they can thrive in the digital age. The CMM’s mission is to fight for the rights of songwriters, musicians, music producers, music managers, and performing recorded artists that contribute to the music industry’s £4.4bn GVA contribution to the UK economy.

Following the result of the EU Copyright Directive vote, (announced September 12th), the CMM says: “The CMM commends the positive progress made with the vote result. We have supported the 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 music fans engage with music. 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 will support our community, help modernise the industry, encourage a healthier market with fairness and transparency and promote a sustainable, innovative music business with music makers at its heart. This is vital in ensuring music makers are clearly and adequately remunerated for their work.”

To mark its launch, the CMM teamed up with creative and executive talent at London’s Strongrooms.

Pictured left to right: Top row – Keith Ames (MU), Graham Davies (BASCA), Crispin Hunt (Music maker/BASCA), Fiona McGugan (MMF), Cameron Craig (Producer/Engineer/Mixer/MPG), Frank Carter (Artist), Matt Greer (ATC Management) and Dean Richardson (Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes). Middle row – Andrew Hunt (Record Producer/MPG), Annabella Coldrick (MMF), Jess Iszatt (BBC), Kevin Brennan MP, Dave Rowntree (Musician/FAC), Olga Fitzroy (Recording and Mixing Engineer), Richard Lightman (Producer/Composer/Sound Designer/MPG). Bottom row – Jill Hollywood (Producer manager, Echo Beach Management), Jack Savoretti (Artist), Helienne Lindvall (Songwriter/Musician/BASCA), Ninja (Artist), Issie Barratt (BASCA), Naomi Pohl (MU), Ric Salmon (ATC Management/MMF), Cam Blackwood (Record Producer/MPG). Photo credit: Joanna Dudderidge

As the business of being a music maker continues to evolve, the CMM will continue to campaign for a music ecosystem that is fully fair and fit for purpose – post-Brexit this will be at UK level with government and the IPO, for modernisation of the legal framework.

The CMM is keen to engage partners to collaboratively aid its mission. It calls for government to convene representatives of the rights holders and creators in the music industry, to instigate a thorough discussion on transparency, updating pre-digital era contracts, ensuring contracts are fair, addressing value gaps and inequalities and reviewing revenue flows. The CMM reminds government of its manifesto pledge of; “We will ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online.”

Without music and someone to perform it, there is no music business.

BASCA Chair, Crispin Hunt says “As CMM, Music Makers provide the UK with a ‘one stop shop’ forum allowing labels, publishers, innovators,  platforms, politicians or lobbies of any kind to commence constructive dialogue towards the fairer , more accurate, more transparent , more progressive, more innovative , more competitive music marketplace we all seek and the future demands. We look forward to that journey’.  Crispin Hunt Chair BASCA. 

Music Maker / FAC / MyCelia, Imogen Heap, says  “As a Music Maker in the digital era, and as part of CMM, I want to ensure the future is positive, progressive, and flourishing for creators in their development and beyond. The current climate around the economics of streaming and the digital transition of the music business has been hampered by outdated laws and outmoded contracts which can be convoluted, confusing and unfair – particularly for those music makers without the resources to fully understand or challenge them. With collective voice and clout as the CMM, we pledge to take action on such issues with government, working with the IPO and others, to create an economy in which music makers can progress and thrive alongside innovations in technology.”

Record Producer / MPG, Cam Blackwood,  adds: “Music makers are the foundation and the future of the music business. The CMM wants to change the broken economics creatives face. The current model is failing future talent while it is based on the past. The CMM is here to make sure it’s sustainable.”

 

CMM launch – Imogen Heap Message from CouncilofMusicMakers on Vimeo.

Hit songwriters, artists, musicians, MPs and UK music organisations turned out in force today (Thursday 6th Sept) to support the industry’s #LoveMusic campaign.

The event took place ahead of the crucial EU vote on Copyright Directive next week (Wednesday 12th Sept), which aims to secure fair pay for artists and creators.

Music stars who performed as part of the busk included Suede frontman Brett Anderson, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, Victoria Horn, Emily Phillips, Newton Faulkner and Ed Harcourt. The group performed Arcade Fire’s song Wake Up, which was arranged by BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt, as part of the campaign to call for a fair deal from online content platforms like Google-owned YouTube. Songwriter & activist Madeleina Kay performed her song Stand Up For Your (Copy)Rights in support of the upcoming vote.

YouTube pays creators a tiny £0.00054p per stream of music, with 1 million streams on YouTube generating as little as £540 for the artist. To learn more about this campaign and to sign the petition please visit http://love-music.co/

Two years ago, the European Commission prepared a draft directive “on copyright in the single European market”. This legislation aims to reconcile digital copyright laws throughout the European Union. Under this Directive, creative content on the Internet could flourish and while those who create it could be fairly compensated. Read about the campaign launched by Europe For Creators

 

We need you to Sign the Petition ahead of the EU vote on September 12th
to make the internet fair for creators.

 

We also urge you to take a few minutes to contact your local MEP and…

  1. Introduce who you are and ask for them to approve the Copyright Directive and fix the value gap using Articles 11 and 13.
  2. Explain that some of the global tech giants are laying waste to our creative world, threatening music’s vibrancy and diversity by not fairly compensating creators for the use of their work and that creators need protection, or the world of music will suffer.
  3. Say that you are one of over 37,000 creators from across Europe who have already signed the petition calling on their elected officials to do the right thing.

 

MEPs voted on the Copyright Directive in Strasbourg today and failed by a small majority (318 votes to 278, with 31 abstentions) to authorise the process whereby the European Union Council, Commission and Parliament negotiate a final text for passage into law.

Under the new Directive of Copyright which contained the key element Article 13, it would have required online content platforms like YouTube and Facebook to use filtering systems that block content — such as images and videos — that infringes the rights-holder’s copyright.

Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair said:
“While we are disappointed that the campaign of misinformation has undermined the vote on Article 13, we can be emboldened by the strength of voice and argument coming from across the creative community. Thousands of songwriters, authors and composers, large and small are standing united to fight for fair compensation for the use of their copyright on the internet. This issue will not go away and the fight will continue. We call on all music creators to join us as we campaign ahead of the next debate in September.” 

Michael Dugher UK Music CEO said: “This is a sad day for everyone involved in the creativity that is behind Britain’s world-leading music. It is desperately disappointing that a small majority of MEPs have backed Google’s shabby multi-million euro campaign of fake news and misinformation against creators. Frankly, in some cases MEPs were naive. In others cases, they have chosen to wilfully disregard the plight of creators. These proposals would make a real difference to our creators, to those that invest in them and to all of us who value our culture. Google’s YouTube is the world’s most popular music platform, yet it deliberately chooses to return a pittance to those whose creativity it has built its multi-billion pound business model on. Google remain the vultures that feed off music creators. The fact remains that this must end. We sincerely thank the 278 MEPs who backed reform and look forward to engaging positively with all MEPs on the opportunities to develop the Directive further. We may have lost this particular round, but the fight to ensure fairness for music creators goes on.”

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising considering the unprecedented level of lobbying and the comprehensive campaign of misinformation which has accompanied this vote that MEPs want more time to consider the proposals. The vote showed that many MEPs across the various European political parties understand the importance of fixing the transfer of value and of a well-functioning market for copyright. We appreciate their support and hope that as we move forward to the Plenary debate in September, more MEPs will recognise the unique opportunity to secure the EU’s creative industries. From the outset our primary focus of this legislation has been concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace – and currently, for artists and authors, it doesn’t. They want their creative works to be heard, they embrace technology, but they want to be paid fairly. We will continue to fight for what we believe is their freedom and a fair use of their creative works.”

 

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA) has unveiled a new campaign #soldforasong

BASCA applauds the recent commitments by major labels to share in any financial benefits from Spotify’s forthcoming direct listing with their artists and associated indie labels,  and calls for similar commitments from music publishers that any such benefits, direct or indirect, received by them from the pending Spotify direct listing or Facebook licence advances will be shared transparently and fairly with the writers they represent.

A decade after its launch Facebook has recently concluded licensing agreements with the major music publishing companies and BASCA understand that those deals involve lump sum advance payments worth many millions of pounds.

There are concerns however that no pledge has been made by music publishers to equitably share any financial benefit derived from such licenses with songwriters and composers.

BASCA welcomes the news that going forward Facebook is seeking to put in place music recognition technologies to ensure that future usage data is correctly reported to ensure songwriters and composers will be accurately remunerated.

An ongoing issue, however, is that Facebook currently has no systems in place to identify the music used on their platform retrospectively.  BASCA is therefore seeking assurances from those music publishers that have concluded deals with Facebook that any so-called ‘unattributable’ income derived from these deals is distributed equitably and transparently with songwriters and composers.

In addition, they are demanding that sufficient efforts are made to establish correct usage and not just to distribute monies via an ‘assumed’ market share analogy.

BASCA also calls for any financial windfall received by the music publishing community from Spotify’s upcoming direct listing on the New York Stock exchange, which commentators suggest might value the company in excess of $19bn, to be shared honourably, fairly and transparently with those that composed the catalogues being exploited.

Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chair says: “The so-called ‘evergreen’ catalogue is arguably only so verdant because it has been historically over-watered in lieu of correct data.  With the potential of today’s technology for granular digital data such anachronistic inaccuracy is no longer excusable in music – the right music must receive the right monies. If it’s played it should be paid.”

 

Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA said, “Facebook and other user generated content platforms, as well as digital services such as Spotify have benefited incalculably from exploiting our members work and indeed this has allowed them to become among the world’s wealthiest corporations. They, and the publishers who license music to them, have an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry and to ensure that songwriters and composers are given their fair due of these potential riches.”

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