CREATIVE MUSICIANS AND THE SYSTEM
the Americans passed laws against payola.
Around 1958. The guitar
"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
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,
Department of Culture, Media and Sport,
and the Office of Fair Trading
With the aid of the
real villain of the piece, the
UK Copyright Council - Phonographic
Performance Ltd (PPL) set
up a unilateral
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.
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?
over 40 years, the
special interest hierarchies of the UK Musicians' Union
to inform its general membership and other creators - that recording
musicians had a right to recording royalties.
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?"
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
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?
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
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
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?
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
meeting at which a basic quorum was only achieved by an ex Pamra Chairman
Gallagher producing 50 (unverified) proxy votes
from out of his pocket!
Fran Nevrkla - Head Executive of PPL,
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?
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
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
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
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?
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.