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CREATIVE MUSICIANS AND THE SYSTEM

 

           "Even the Americans passed laws against payola. " 

            Around 1958. The guitar exploded.

"It was not the French, Dutch, Germans, nor even the Spanish who exploded the guitar and the industry. Before 1972 when Britain signed up to the Common Market Agreement, this was solely the work of the British in Europe."

Carefully watched by the Music Publishers Association in case it lost the chance of building a number of covert monopolies - Lacking in both interest and ethic, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the Office of Fair Trading idled while. With the aid of the real villain of the piece, the UK Copyright Council - Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) set up a unilateral deal on air play rewards.

Thus - If a UK radio station does not revenue more than £2.600,000 a year. - ($3,900,000) It does not have to declare whose music it plays for its commercial work.  Thus, after decades of suffering by minority music and musicians, systematic corruption is as rife as ever. Since 1996 there is a law, but isn't it a meaningless law?  Track monitoring is ad hoc at the best of times, and who can tell how honest is a person or office which fills in air play figures? 

Due to the fact the recording / publishing cartel also owns all the papers and magazines which deal with the econ-system of the industry. And that the monitoring and reward conduits economical with the truth. In the main, musicians at the roots of the industry are disorganised and blissfully unaware of many of the creative accounting practices being carried out in their name and in the name of "industrial fair play".--- In 1972, himself somewhat of an "orchestral musician"- Conservative PM Edward Heath trashed the exclusive arrangement between the USA and the UK, the two nations which "exploded" both the guitar and the industry itself. And, from 1972 until 1996, it only took 24 years to bring forth protection legislation - Is there not a desperate need for a Department of Culture Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the darker side of the econ-system of an over-secretive UK music industry? 

 

The new so-called Joint Performers Org (PPL, Musicians Union, actors union Equity, Music Producers Guild, Aura and Pamra) is not reflective of the industry's human resources, and the union has not got a history of doing the right thing for its membership over Phonographic Performance Ltd Air Play royalties. Royalties which will increase to billions of Euros as nations "come on line". But not to the advantage of the majority of the creators who were not aligned to the (illegal) manipulation of the charts and air play figures themselves. Nor to the advantage of the Studio 60s / 70s  "Accidental Monopolists" who claim to hold the (predominant) right to vast sums of air play royalties. 

Isn't the track-by-track payment system only the ploy of a payola driven cartel to further rip off the creative musicians from the past?.   Isn't it a fact that to bring a more profound industrial justice, the Cartel's "track-by-track" Air Play reward system has to go?

For over 40 years, the special interest hierarchies of the UK Musicians' Union neglected to inform its general membership and other creators - that recording musicians had a right to recording royalties. The union, main protector of creative rights since its foundation, used up a reported £63,000,000 ($94,000,000) earned by both union and non union musicians between the years 1946 and 1988, on its ironically titled, "Keep Music Live" campaigns. Spending vast sums of air play and other finance that should have been passed to the eras which had earned them

By the time the news filtered through via protests from a single "Accidental monopoly" - the non orchestral special interest group. That session work was more than only a cash in hand experience. For hundreds if not thousands of capable musicians who had not wished to spend their creative lives in Abbey Road, it was half a century too late.  

Significant numbers of musicians who created UK music of the 60s and 70s are dieing in circumstances unbefitting and in poverty. This is the scenario within which our most vulnerable musicians are still forced to operate, and which produces an on-going question.  "Surely musicians have both industrial and human rights?"

The main featured artists, with massive access to the media, - without  exception - chose to do nothing about the corrupt systems from which many of them, some honoured by the British state, continue to gain

The Performing Arts Media Rights Association - PAMRA

Orchestral musicians had little to do with the great explosion of the music industry, neither -after 1985 - did producers. Certainly very few actors (Equity) made much of a contribution. And, for the life of me, I never saw a single administration person aboard a Ford transit, halfway down the M1 during a cold December tour, did you?

In the largest air play reward organisation in the UK, only 200 out of over 16,000 members will be rewarded to any worthwhile degree.  As a director in absentia of Pamra, the Performing Artists Media Rights Association. I can confirm the monopoly from which the nations musicians were never protected by their union, are : Pamra has 16,000 members, and will deal in large sums of air play monies, from which very few musicians collect comparative fortunes. These few will pick-up far more in PPL collated air play royalties than the rest of the membership combined. Although this is not exclusive to the workings of the Pamra. It is obvious that 16,000 Pamra members are not receiving the 100% truth from out of its boardroom. If not, far more than ONLY 10 ordinary members would attend its AGM.

With a boardroom dominated by union officials and those who pick up expenses from the union, members of the Music Producer Guild, and orchestral musicians. It's not surprising that neither a truth manipulated newsletter nor an AGM, entices a desire for a higher level of industrial knowledge from non-union non-orchestral Pamra freelancers. 

In August 2003 the board had yet another opportunity to force through changes in its Constitution to gag "Whistleblowers" - Those who spoke the industrial reward truth?  

After spending £15,000 on a Pamra newsletter supposedly to " render the facts". Pamra, a "not for profit" reward organisation held its Annual General Meeting at the cost of over £2,620 ($3,300) for each of the ( 10) real live "ordinary" members attending a meeting at which a basic quorum was only achieved by an ex Pamra Chairman pop composer Benny Gallagher producing 50 (unverified) proxy votes from out of his pocket! 

With Fran Nevrkla - Head Executive of PPLand MU General Secretary John Smith coming from an orchestral background, furthering valid concerns that the UK "orchestrals" have always been pampered by the union and are "A law unto themselves" Playing the role of an unbalance dame in the boardrooms of the industry, along with producer over-representation,  and union officials dominant on the board of Pamra. In terms of justice and this industry, unless one is a modern day fixer musician, what chance doth one get of any worthwhile reward?

And let's face it, the Performing Rights Society (PRS) is also a club for the upper echelon of publisher / author earners only. Wherein 49% of its lower earning membership are currently  disenfranchised and no longer allowed to attend PRS AGMs nor vote.

So how does one decide to whom one should talk? Enquiries@culture.gov.uk   

To quote - "The Department of Culture Media and Sport works closely with leading players and trade associations through the Secretary of State's Music Industry Forum to identify what the Government and industry can do to improve its economic performance. ""

 "Leading players and leading trade associations"? Who are the Guitarist of Number 10 and his ministerial and civil service minions trying to kid? Is the continuation of such disgraceful excuses all the marginalised creative roots of our industry are ever likely to get from this government, its lacklustre DCMS and a highly suspect Copyright Tribunal?

    The uselessness of Brussels - Music -"single nation issue"? 

Again - It was not the French, Dutch, Germans, nor even the Spanish who exploded the guitar and the industry. Before 1972 when Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath signed Britain up to the Common Market Agreement, (Thus trashing the exclusive arrangement between the UK and the USA)- This was solely the work of the British in Europe.

Under Article 19 and 27 of the Human Rights Act, a "public authority" (Pre 1996, the Dept of Trade and Industry  – the laxity of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission / Office of Fair Trading - the Copyright Tribunal). Could be challenged (Strasbourg / Brussels) for being in breach this Act, and for not successfully protecting the rights of creators from an apartheid-like monopoly of a perfectly orchestrated industrial oligarchy. 

October 2003, working with a combination of inside the so called single voiced "Performers Forum." from which ordinary members are banned.  Phonographic Performance Ltd still retains payments, and many millions have been undelivered, in effect "confiscated" from those who forced to await changes in PPL - so called - Joint Performers Forum payment rules.  

As to the lack of inter-communication at the roots of the music industry? UK cartel ownership of all trade publications and TV channels, and the ease wherein a spare digit can hit  a key on a computer and sound like the London Philharmonic. Has provided (Brussels and the reward corporations) with an official econ-pit from which many of our oldest and finest musicians may never return.  

With Brussels refusing to aid those Europeans who were robbed of their rights of reward and freedom of expression, and with New Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair so closely associated with the guitar.  Could not the current government "do better" than only give out honours and watch its leader hang out with his fave featured artists during election times

Enquiries@culture.gov.uk  To whom you can write. In Europe, German musicians get extra pensions. Every musician touring or recording in Germany now contributes towards this fund. However, in the UK, out of a population of 60,000,000 only 3,000 musicians can afford to pay National Insurance and for the rest there are no state pensions and no extras. Yet, even after joining the European Community in 1972, UK cartel musicians contributed more towards its country's foreign earnings than the rest of Europe put together.

The UK Government also taxes foreign artists at around 20% but it doesn’t filter this revenue to where it rightfully belongs, to those whose employment by the industrial  93.8 per cent cartel monopoly is non existent.  Enquiries@culture.gov.uk  To whom you can write.white.gif


November 2003 - Jagger broke the boycott of Burma - If you see someone about to buy Stones, do remind them of what a superb example of an English dickhead old Mick has become during his sexual tourist retirement?  

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