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The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet acclaimed conductor and Music Director of the English National Opera, Martyn Brabbins, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“In my understanding of the world of music, the composer is at the top of the food chain. Without composers…..well, it is pretty obvious isn’t it! There would be no music. I spend my Conducting life supporting composers, both living and dead, thus to be honoured by BASCA is a huge privilege and something of a vindication of the musical priorities I espouse. I am delighted!”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“I guess had I not won the Leeds Conducting Competition in 1988, none of what I have done would have been possible.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Karen, my wife. We met at Goldsmiths in December 1977, and she has been the rock, the calm, the wisdom and the love in my life ever since.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“My young self made many mistakes, but the one I regret the most was refusing to take piano lessons from an early age. It didn’t seem relevant to a fairly high flying young brass player, but I now know what I missed!”

The conductor’s course you founded in 2013 has inspired a new generation of exciting directing talent. What attracted you to make a home for this course in Scotland?

“The Orkney Conductors’ Course was the brainchild of Glenys Hughes and myself. Glenys was the Festival Director of the St Magnus Festival and woman who understood so well the value of music in a community and could really make things happen. Of course, behind the St Magnus Festival was the amazing spirit and personality of Max – Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He had led a composers course for many years on the island of Hoy, and the precedent he set, led me to suggest to Glenys the establishment of a Conductors Course to run alongside the Festival. Around 100 aspiring Conductors are now OCC alumni, and it is wonderful for me to see so many of them active here and across the world stage. (I should mention my teacher, Ilya Musin, with whom I studied in Leningrad from 1986 to 1988. It was his extraordinary teaching that gave me the tools to teach myself!).

Having gained a wealth of experience in the recording studio working with several record companies, what’s your favourite aspect of the recording process?

“The constant striving for perfection and the energy generated in a recording situation, between all the performers, the engineers, the producer, are so stimulating. And then, one hopes, that a wonderful expression of musical creation is given to posterity!”

You have worked with several orchestral ensembles and opera companies in your career. Is there an ensemble or company that you haven’t worked with yet, but would like to and why?

“I am a strangely non-ambitious conductor….but am happy to work with anybody that would like to work with me. So I hope to make many new musical acquaintances in the future, as well as cementing existing relationships.”

As an award-winning interpreter of contemporary British classical music and supporter of creative performance and composition talent, what makes you positive about the future of contemporary classical music in the UK?

“The wealth of composing talent that the UK nurtures is extraordinary. All performing groups commission new work, the BBC support new talent to an unparalleled extent. The teaching of composition is stronger than ever. The only thing needed is an open minded public for all this incredible creativity. I am optimistic by nature, and given the quality of work that is produced by so many musical outfits in the UK, music will go on to provide levels of artistic excitement and stimulation that no other art form can reach.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA – cindy@basca.org.uk


The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet Grammy nominated and double Ivor Novello Award winning lyricist, Squeeze co-founder and solo artist Chris Difford, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“I feel deeply honoured and full of pride, to receive this award is something very special.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“Pivotal moments are like signposts, they point me in the right direction, there have been many. Possibly placing an add in a sweetshop window for a guitarist to join a band in 1973 would have been one of the most significant.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Elton John I first saw play at Wembley in 1974 supporting The Beach Boys, he played the whole of his new album to a hot and hungry crowd, which was brave. I admire his kindness and his giving back, his dedication to family and friends, his work ethic and his love. It’s inspiring.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“Speak up, be heard and be in the moment with everyone. Be the person you want to be and not the person others think you are.”

Your lyrical style has been described as ‘kitchen sink-drama’. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?

“I find inspiration in day dreaming, listening and being that guy who writes songs for a living, he is the most important person. I try to always find inspiration in my day, it was easier back in the day, when there seemed to be more time.”

Why did you set up your songwriting retreats and what have you learnt since their conception over 25 years ago?

“I first went to a songwriting retreat in France run by my manager at the time, on the drive home I thought I could do that but not make it so exclusive. I wanted to open it up for everyone who picks up a pen or a guitar, and that’s what I hope to do. There is after all a song in all of us.”

In 2010, you curated Songs in the Key of London, a celebration of music from, and about, the capital. What do you think about the current climate of British music?

“The pond we look into as writers and singers is always welcoming another reflection, there are no boundaries and I think that’s great. The industry has changed so much since I began and I have no clue what the climate really is today. I think it’s always just about right, but we could do with a little more lyric.”

Your songwriting partnership with Glenn Tilbrook is one that’s definitely stood the test of time. What, in your opinion, is the key to a successful collaborative songwriting relationship?

“Good writing relationships I think depend on listening and learning, being open to change and being wrong. Knowing your boundaries strengths and weaknesses is essential. More than any of that you need a sharp pencil and a good sense of humour.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA cindy@basca.org.uk


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.

BASCA is delighted to announce 11 exceptional individuals who will collect a Gold Badge Award this October in recognition of their unique contribution to the creator community.

Presented by the songwriting and composing community, the Awards celebrate exceptional talent in the UK music industry; individuals who inspire or support creativity and the professional lives of BASCA members.

Now in its 45th year, more than 500 awards have been presented by BASCA to acknowledge the diversity of contribution, dedication and talent that exists within the music industry, recognised from the worlds of jazz and classical, film, television and theatre music, and songwriting. BASCA is also delighted to announce the award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster (and previous Gold Badge Award recipient) Janice Long.

The 2018 Gold Badge Awards will be presented to:

Annette Barrett, highly respected music publisher and Managing Director of Reservoir/Reverb Music.

Martyn Brabbins, acclaimed conductor and Music Director of the English National Opera.

Jackie Davidson, multi-faceted, award-winning music entrepreneur and manager. This award is presented in association with PRS for Music.

Chris Difford, Grammy nominated and double Ivor Novello Award winning lyricist, Squeeze co-founder and solo artist.

Guy Fletcher OBE, Ivor Novello Award winning songwriter and former Chairman of BASCA and PRS.

Guy Garvey, lead singer and lyricist of elbow, renowned DJ for 6 Music and solo artist. This award is presented in association with PPL.

Claire Martin OBE, critically acclaimed jazz singer and broadcaster.

Sarah Rodgers, composer who has dedicated herself to championing music creators.

Matthew Scott, composer, arranger, producer and former Head of Music at the National Theatre.

Scott Stroman, inspirational conductor, composer, trombonist and singer in a uniquely broad range of musical styles.

Nick Wollage, respected and sought after engineer working across a diverse collection of projects from major Hollywood film scores to individual artists.

Commenting on the announcement, Crispin Hunt, Chair of BASCA has said:

“The Gold Badge Awards always provide a fantastic opportunity and platform to recognise those who have achieved excellence in their chosen fields whilst contributing to the betterment of the wider musical community. This year’s list of recipients is full of inspiring individuals who we are honoured to celebrate.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music. They take place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and tickets are currently on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA (cindy@basca.org.uk).


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.


The European Parliament has voted to support the Copyright Directive, with a landslide victory of 438 votes in favour, 226 against and 39 abstentions. BASCA has been instrumental in making this happen. We have campaigned to bring about a fair copyright environment that stops big tech hiding behind ‘safe harbours’ to avoid taking out a licence and ensure that creators get more transparent and equitable payments.

Ahead of the vote, BASCA and the UK music industry launched major campaign ‘#LoveMusic’ to help fight for the best possible future for everyone who works in the industry and who relies on music to make a living.

Commenting on the success, Chair of BASCA Crispin Hunt said:

“This is a significant victory for music, for journalism, for photography; indeed for art of any kind. The Directive will help re-balance the digital market for music, providing an online framework to ensure the internet once again runs on competition as opposed to oligopoly.

Active platforms like YouTube are now obliged to properly license our work and at a competitive, negotiable, market rate. YouTube is the biggest and arguably the best streaming service on the planet, now it should have to pay like one.

The fight is not over by a long shot, but this victory is a milestone in our movement’s goals. BASCA led the way in this endeavour and was hugely instrumental in the global campaign to re-assert creativity’s sovereignty over those platforms that exploit our work without paying creators fairly. This is a demonstration of the power of our collective voice – join us to strengthen our voice. Congratulations one and all.”

Graham Davies, Interim CEO of BASCA, has commented:

“Creators are powerful when they come together. BASCA mobilised the music creative community and their voice has been listened to. Working with our industry partners we have brought about significant victory. This is the start. We ask more creators to join our movement and strengthen our voice asking for positive change.” 

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.


Last night over 300 guests including BASCA members and music industry professionals enjoyed the summer sunshine as BASCA hosted it’s annual summer party at Camden Fest in north London.

David Manders, Jonathan Morrish, Paul Brindley, Michael Stack

Helienne Lindvall, Fiona Bevan, Fay Hine, Orphy Robinson

Entertainment on the night came from 3 finalists competing to secure this years BASCA ACM Scholarship place. Samuel Deed, Elsa Thurley and Leoni Kennedy all performed for guests but it was Elsa that the judging team chose as the winner of a scholarship place at the Academy of Contemporary Music to study Creative Songwriting and will now have her entire course fees funded.

3 finalists, Samuel Deed, Elsa Thurley andLeoni Kennedy

Crispin Hunt (BASCA Chair) with scholarship winner Elsa Thurley










ACM first offered the BASCA Scholarship in 2015 when Ivan Proctor was chosen as the first ever recipient. Other winners are Tom Gortler (2016) and Nathan Morgan (2017)


Submit an existing work for ensemble and electronics for a chance to have it performed at the ECSA General Assembly in Brussels

Closing date extended to Wednesday 10 October 2018 at 12 noon

Performance date: 19 February 2019

About ECCO

ECCO (European Contemporary Composers Orchestra) is the name for the bi-annual concerts presented by ECSA (European Composer and Songwriter Alliance) to coincide with its General Assembly and Creators Conference each year. The programme for ECCO concerts is drawn from a competitive Europe-wide call. This will be the tenth European Contemporary Composers Orchestra (ECCO) Concert. Selected works will be performed by the Hopper ensemble and Centre Henri Pousseur on 19 February 2019 in Espace Senghor, Brussels. The ECSA General Assembly is a high-profile meeting of composer organisations from all over Europe and we encourage all Standard and Professional members to submit works for this call.

Previous performances include:

  • The Stargazer by Lynne Plowman performed by Ensemble Sturm und Klang at the ECSA Creators Conference in Brussels, February 2015
  • Standing as I do before God by Cecilia McDowall and It Sounded as if the Streets were Running by Jonathan Dove performed by the BBC Singers in London as part of the ECSA General Assembly hosted by BASCA, November 2015
  • Musical Chairs by Michael Berkeley and Strike Opponent’s Ears With Both Fists by Julian Grant performed by Ensemble Sturm und Klang at the Creators Conference in Brussels, February 2016
  • Concerto for Orchestra 1st & 4th movements by John Casken performed by RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra in Ljubljana, September 2016
  • Plainsong for Strings by Jennifer Fowler performed by Wiener Concert-Verein in Vienna, October 2017


Specification the Brussels 2019 call

Only pieces of mixed music (acoustic instruments and electronics) are eligible for this call.

Live instruments available:

  • Piano
  • (Electric) Guitar
  • Clarinet
  • German Flute/Transverse Flute
  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello

Plus electronics, which may be either:

  • Pre-recorded sound files (“tapes”). The use of a click track or a visual time code is possible
  • Live effects on instruments via cycling 74’s Max software (cycling74.com/products/max) and/or ableton live (https://www.ableton.com/en/live/)
  • The electronics can be stereo or multi-channels (up to 6 channels)

Other requirements:

  • We encourage pieces of all lengths but ask that the piece does not exceed 15 minutes
  • Works composed in movements cannot exceed 15 minutes in total. Separate movements will not be accepted
  • Works must have been written within the last twenty years and have already received a performance

Application and selection

This call is open to Standard and Professional members of BASCA. Please apply online via the link below. BASCA will judge entries anonymously, so please remove your name and any publisher details from the score, recording and file metadata.

BASCA will select up to three works from those it receives to submit to ECSA. The ECCO Artistic Committee will then select the concert programme. We will inform all composers whether or not their work is one of three submitted by BASCA to ECSA and, if so, whether it has been selected for the concert.

Apply online for the ECCO call for works


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