"Keep Music Live!" The bumper sticker of the UK Musicians Union.
From 1946 to 1988, the special interest hierarchy of the UK Musicians' Union neglected to inform its general membership and other creators that recording musicians had a right to recording royalties. 57years later?
The Pamra Winter Newsletter December 2003
"From this, one would never get an inkling that anyone might get excluded, short-changed or disenfranchised. It all reads like a happy little band of gnomes beavering away on behalf of UK music makers." Quote Pamra member RC.
""What really concerns me is the utter waste of monies since the conception of this organisation not only in administration but in infrastructure. Look at the costs and work out what members have had to pay to keep this ship afloat and ask yourself the question why didn't PPL run the collection in the first place." Pamra member CP
Sharp practises in the music industry, by whom? For a start, UK radio stations that do not revenue over £2.600,000 are exempt from telling anyone that they played your music? How does that grab you?
If one didnít know what was behind the gloss and the public relations of the Pamra Winter Newsletter, one would think that all performers in the UK would be having a merry festive season, instead of being fooled yet again? It might seem wonderful that "Pamra will push harder in foreign territories" but when the money gets to the UK, what happens to it? Maybe it pays for all the pretty pictures in the Pamra newsletters and for an AGM wherein the most vulnerable of the industry are "stitched up" by "corporate legalities" that continue to stress, " If you blow the whistle on the board, we will get you."-
The Winter edition of the Pamra organ more than suggests that all is going well as to recovering ones rewards via a cleaner than clean constitution, but this is not so. Behind the veil stands a number of quasi-criminal actions that more than only reflect the quasi-legalities of the Copyright Council. Those nice people responsible for allowing Phonographic Performance Ltd and Pamra, not to pay minority music for its part in the Great Explosion of the music industry 1958 Ė 1985.
For me the New Age Farce (NAF) began in 2002, when Peter Filliel Pamra vice-chair, and producer, "dropped by" to insist that, as a director of the Music Industry Human Rights Association, one could never be a successful director of Pamra, not the way he was intending taking it. Along with orchestral player Ashley Mason, termed by at least one director (other than myself) as a "total waste of space". Filliel was the director member most responsible for Pamra negotiations with the other orgs involved with the so called Joint Performers Forum, the secretive behind closed negotiations with the Musicians Union, Equity, Aura, the Music Producers Guild, of which he is also a member, and PPLtd itself. Thus, realising he is in an industrially and legally indelicate position, once he was sure a suitable (to him) replacement had been arranged, Filliel "made way" for a supposedly "true representative" of non-featured artists.
Thus, in an audacious move against many of those who are supposedly guaranteed their dues. And at a cost of £27,000 of memberís monies, in a newsletter that did not qualify any case other than that of the orchestral, producer, union official dominated boardroom. And after a dubiously arranged AGM where a quorum was only completed by ex Chair Benny Gallagher bringing along a supposed 50 - a neat figure Ė proxy votes. The only independent representative of non-orchestral, non-producer, non-featured non-union artist was "relieved of his post". Only to be replaced by someone incapable of even suggesting that the constitution of Pamra should be changed to suit those who have but little or no proof as to their studio work from pre 1988 days.
Enter John Patrick - "Non-featured" Director John Patrick has but little value to the majority of the Pamra membership, in fact John Patrick is only a plant from a historically disgraced union, because John Patrick, who from nowhere, immediately assumed the Vice Chairmanship. Mostly represents his friends and the special interests of the 1st caller brigade, those few who monopolised the main studios. And thus, for the most vulnerable of the industry, the pages of self-congratulation in the Newsletter is, disappointingly, about all one can find.
As to what little information is available, the future "single service pipeline" (supposed cost saving) being referred to, may not be all it seems? Who runs it and who (behind corporate and union closed doors) makes the rules, seems to be forgotten? "This is above our members heads" Someone whispers. "Better not talk to them about such things." Is the official reply, in even softer tones. No "new rules" have ever been published.
Pamraís "goodwill gesture"? Having to "lower its payment threshold" is being published as a positive move instead of frivolous £5.00 a time, industrial tokenism. But with "£6,300,000" in pay-outs in the offing, plus £2.400,000, in foreign earnings, a paltry figure considering how much unmonitored, non collated nor rewarded, UK 60s and 70s music is being continually played in such as Spain. (And, in terms of massive Pamra staffing and expenses costs since its inauguration.) One finally sees a ray of hope? No, because Japan has no records of their own air play figures, and it seems that, without consultation outside the Pamra boardroom, Japanese revenues, a mere £200,000, are being paid out on an Ad Hoc basis of British chart figures. Otherwise, Pamra will have to pay Japanese researchers for translations.
These are the kinds of methods used by those who know the industry against those who do not.
Itís also good PR having a non-white upon the board. Director, American featured artist Sheila Ferguson is over featured in the Pamra Newsletter, yet there is a strong chance that over a year, she and a number of other featured-artist directors will only make say 2 meetings at best? This is not the way to run a boardroom, itís only the most infertile of public relations, and something in which Mss Ferguson, formerly of the 3%, specialises. Mss Ferguson and her kind also put decision-making processes back into the hands of those who support quasi-criminal, lacking in historical dimension, methodologies, and those who ran the AirPlay / PPL / Pamra show so badly in the past. Allowing awesome industrial power to remain in the hands of such as ex Chairman Gallagher, pop musician, with a pocket full of proxies from the 200 or less, 1st caller / featured artist brother-ship.
Page 2 A whole page devoted to? A longer look at the "new worthies" Rick Wakeman, the featured artist who suggests that he had "no choice other than to" throw the only rep of the non-orchestral, non-union freelance non-featured "off the board". - Iain Sutherland, featured artist, and yet another "orchestral", Stan Cullimore, a new generation featured artist and producer, who has plenty of post-1996 proof of every single penny of his earnings, except that which remains unmonitored is Spain etc. and a picture of a smiling well endowed Mss Ferguson. But this is also an introduction to what? Could one suggest sexed-up mayhem and divide and rule?
Page 3 and 4 Scripted by producer negotiator supremo Filliel, and those who design a cultural timetable that seems to have all the time in the world to complete its function. (So that those who have been cheated in the past can obtain some reward pre-1996.) That all will "come right in the end" Ė But this is not so, and I for one, have a number of good reasons not to believe in Mr Fillielís vision of the future. In fact, unless the composition of the board and the "Single Stream" for royalties changes to benefit all performers except the "chosen few, and while in directorial absentia. I will advise others to leave Pamra and join foreign collection societies. This move abroad will not disturb the board. For (behind closed doors) the current board is primarily interested in post 1996 high earners and those few, such as Patrick, Wakeman, Sutherland, Cullimore, Mason, Filliel, ex 1st caller / featured artist Director Ray Davies, and Peter Thoms, now with the union. Who already have the system working on their behalf. But it will show that at least one member has the intelligence to know the difference between ones cultural (non-legislated) rights and hole in the ground?
The back pages Ė The Pamra sports section. Are 16,000 Pamra members, most of whom have received almost nothing of any worth for a life spent inside the UK music industry, really interested in who does what to whom at Midem? In what goes on with Radio One in Brighton? And while there seems to be good news on Audio-visuals from BECS, a recently "joined force", (at least they are getting monies in from Spain?) However how much of that finance is related to the most vulnerable of the industry and 60s / 70s music is debatable. One guesses that such figures are to be kept secret, for in this game, unless someone blows a whistle, one is kept in the dark.
"Even the Americans gave us laws against payola Mr Blair. " The manipulation of the charts and airplay figures.
As reported in "The Times and Telegraph" in 1995. Between the years 1946 and 1988, when Brussels made a noise about royalty monies collected by Phonographic Performance Ltd. The Musicians Union, supposedly the main protector of creative rights misappropriated and used a reported £63,000,000 in it members and non members air play royalties for its "Keep Music Live" campaigns.
"It was not the Germans, the French, the Dutch, nor even the Spanish, who exploded the guitar and the industry. Until, 1972 when the UK signed up to the Common Market Agreement, these events were solely down to the Americans and the British, in Europe." Thus, would in not be fair to suggest that both the union and Brussels can kiss my ass?
There have been calls that, under Article 19 and 27 of the Human Rights Act, a "public authority" (Pre 1996, the DTI Ė the laxity of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission / Office of Fair Trading.) Should be sued for being in breach this Act, and for not successfully protecting the rights of the nations creators from an apartheid-like monopoly of a quasi-criminally industrial oligarchy.
That which follows is a documentation of union protest against the inclusion of an apartheid team from Burma in the Australian "Opium" Olympics. It may also be found at the Australian Olympic Museum. Burma delivers almost 90% of Australia's heroin