All that glitters ain’t paid much gold anymore
Charlotte Browne
BASCA
20th February 2015
All that glitters ain’t paid much gold anymore

The music industry has always been synonymous with glitz and glamour. It’s this image that continues to pervade so strongly in the public’s mind, as strongly as the legacy of pictures we associate with the rock n roll lifestyle – stars stumbling out of limos with one arm draped around a supermodel, the other about to fritter away a never-ending stash of cash.

But these images are as outdated as the collection of CDs you’ve got collecting dust on your bookshelves, and certainly belie the reality of what’s facing the vast majority of musicians, songwriters and composers today.

If we want British music to continue to be the hub of individual creativity that it’s known and loved for across the world, we need to help update these common misconceptions of the music industry. In order for musicians, songwriters, composers to thrive, they actually need our help. The people behind creating the music we love to listen to are under dire threat from having their livelihoods destroyed.

In a decade, record and CD sales have plummeted by over 50% as we’ve all moved online. In the process of embracing a brave new digital universe, the creators at the roots of it all have been forgotten. The economic model now supporting the digital music industry does not pay enough for music writers to earn anywhere near a living wage, let alone buy a case of wine to obliterate in one night. The vast majority of artists in the top 40 don’t write their own material, they perform the songs professional writers write. The ability to write as a full-time career is now in danger of becoming a thing of the past and the greatness of British songwriting is in peril. 

This is why BASCA has launched its new campaign ‘The Day The Music Died’. It aims to increase awareness of the contribution of music writers to the wider UK music industry, and to demand a more equitable share of income generated via digital exploitation.

The organisation has put forward a number of demands – among them, a 50/50 split of gross royalty income for writers, from digital services. Currently, deals tend to be around 10-12% to mirror the traditional CD sale format, yet these are totally inappropriate in the digital age. Streaming services also pay an unacceptably small income to creators (if the service pays an average of 0.5p per stream, the artists make no more than 0.05p from it- click here to read more about this) and must be increased to reflect the substantial advertising revenues achieved.

It’s important that we are all reminded songwriters and composers are the heartbeat of the music industry – depriving them of a fair share of the digital income they help generate is shortsighted and foolish in the extreme. They need better protection and remuneration and action needs to happen swiftly.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved please visit http://basca.org.uk/public-affairs/thedaythemusicdied

To find out more about joining BASCA (memberships start from £20 a year) visit http://basca.org.uk/join

Back