PRS For Music election results ‘disappointing’, says MMF

26 May 2022

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has criticised the results of PRS for Music’s latest council election over a lack of diversity.

Seven of the eight appointees are men, and all are white, leading to a joint statement from MMF Chair Paul Craig, Vice Chair Kwame Kwaten and Chief Executive Annabella Coldrick calling the result “disappointing”.

They say the result is down to an “outmoded and outdated system of governance at PRS, which is in clear need of root and branch reform” and are calling for more to be done to “ensure the value of People of Colour to songwriting and publishing is not just acknowledged but properly represented”.

The council members were voted in through a ballot completed by PRS members. Three members – Tom Gray, Crispin Hunt and Philip Pope – were all re-elected, while Hannah Peel, Nigel Gilroy, Daniel Lang, John Minch and Richard Paine join the council for the first time.

The results were announced at PRS for Music’s annual general meeting. CEO Andrea Martin said the council members bring a “breadth of vision, diversity of skill sets and an understanding of the digital eco-system from which the organisation and the members will greatly benefit”.

Only 13% of UK festival headliners are female

24 May 2022

Only around one in 10 headline acts at the leading UK music festivals taking place this summer will be women, a study has found.

A BBC study focusing on 50 of the biggest UK festivals found that out of 200 headline acts only 26 (13%) were an all-female band or solo artist whereas 149 (74.5%) were either an all-male band or solo artist.

Meanwhile 24 acts (12%) had a mixed line-up of male and female performers, and one (0.05%) artist identified as non-binary.

This is despite many events previously promising to achieve a 50/50 gender balance across their line-ups by 2022.

Maggie Rogers, a singer/songwriter who will be performing at Latitude Festival this summer, said: "What I come to music for - as a fan and artist - is community and to feel part of something, and I think community functions at its best when it feels inclusive.

"When that doesn't happen - when the line-ups reiterate imbalances that exist in gender and race and class - it's not surprising, but it's certainly not ideal."



ISM survey to assess music sector discrimination

19 May 2022

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is calling on people working in the music industry to complete a short survey on discrimination in the music sector.

The survey aims to find whether there has there been any cultural change in the sector since the ISM’s last report, or if those working in music, including education, are still subject to inappropriate behaviours and discrimination.

It covers all protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 and will inform the body's future reports and campaigning work, including formulating meaningful solutions that will affect culture.

“We need a music sector that is as open, inclusive, and safe as possible.” ISM President Vick Bain said.

“I understand that we are asking people to tell us about extremely difficult times in their lives, every response is anonymous and will be treated with respect. There is help and support out there, and more details can be found on the ISM website.”

Lottery supporting artists and live music launches

18 May 2022

A lottery designed to support independent artists within the music industry has launched.

Established by artist management company Orean, Music Lotto distributes at least 50p from every £1 ticket to support the future of the music industry and help the next generation of artists.

Orean CEO Adrian Norman described it as a project “born out of passion”. 

“Grants can be applied for if an artist needs a new instrument, some studio time or budget for a music video,” he said. 

“Our team of experts will review applications and give grants away after each draw. The more tickets bought, the more we can support talent.”



Performance royalties lag amid music sector recovery

17 May 2022

While broadcast and online revenues reached record levels in 2021, royalties from public usage and resultant income for artists have yet to recover from the pandemic.

Wales’ national music plan gets green light

group of schoolchildren play musical instruments
17 May 2022

Wales’ first National Plan for Music Education sees funding for music provision trebled, to ensure all children get the opportunity to learn.

Music festivals pledge to tackle sexual violence

16 May 2022

More than 100 UK music festivals have made a pledge to tackle sexual violence by creating a safe environment for audiences, performers, and staff.

Parklife, Latitude and Boardmasters are among the festivals to sign an updated charter, initially launched by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in 2017.

In total, 103 festivals have signed up to the Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign, which states that all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated. 

This is supplemented by a commitment to clear, robust reporting and disclosure procedures, including how to report incidents onsite and post event. 

Charities such as Rape Crisis England and Wales, Good Night Out and Safe Gigs for Women will provide festivals with input and guidance in shaping their policies, procedures and training.

AIF Membership & Operations Coordinator Phoebe Rodwell said: “The original Safer Spaces campaign has had a positive impact across festivals for music fans and festival staff alike. 

"Festivals are microcosms of society and sexual violence is a problem that persists in our society. Our understanding and approaches to tackling the issue are evolving all the time. 

"That’s why it’s important that we renew the Safer Spaces campaign in 2022 with up-to-date messaging, resources and practices, to prevent sexual violence and promote a survivor-led approach, helping festival organisers to fulfil their duty of care at events.”


Orchestras fear updated touring provisions unworkable

a woman plays in an orchestra
10 May 2022

Dual registration for hauliers will offer visa-free touring for some, but problems persist for smaller-scale tours and orchestras with specialist equipment.

Mental health platform for musicians goes live

09 May 2022

A new digital mental health platform for musicians launches today (9 May) to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

Music Minds Matter Explore, created by charity Help Musicians, offers mental health help and guidance and signposting to local and national support.

Help Musicians says the resource follows an increase in demand for mental health support from musicians in the wake of the pandemic. Calls to its Music Minds Matter phone service have increased by 34% since the start of the year.

“Sadly, two years of Covid have seriously disrupted careers and we would encourage anyone struggling to get in touch and find the support they need,” Head of Music Minds Matter Joe Hastings said.

Royal Academy of Music receives £6m donation

03 May 2022

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is gifting £6m to the Royal Academy of Music, the single biggest donation in the institution's 200-year history.

The money will fund the Gatbsy Chair of Musical Theatre, the first fully-funded endowed chair at any UK conservatoire.

Two further anonymous donations are funding the Dame Myra Hess Chair of Piano and the William Lawes Chair of Chamber Music.

The three endowed chairs boost the launch of the Academy’s bicentenary campaign, which aims to raise £60m to invest into facilities, staff retention and funding future musicians.

Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said the donations are “a truly wonderful start” to the bicentenary.

“The Academy’s bicentenary affords us the opportunity to future-proof the values which have defined our work since 1822 while offering a transformational set of opportunities for talent to thrive, regardless of background.”

Leadmill battle highlights leasehold woes

27 Apr 2022

An overwhelming lack of ownership among the UK’s independent music venues puts the future of the ecosystem at risk, advocates say. 

Full-scale BBC Proms programme returns

27 Apr 2022

BBC Proms will be restored to its full eight-week calendar this summer.

The 2022 programme features more performances than ever across the UK and the return of international orchestras for the first time since 2019.

The Proms is welcoming a newly-formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra which includes Ukrainian refugee musicians. A special exemption to allow military-age male members of the orchestra to participate has been granted by Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture.

Starting 15 July, all concerts will be available to listen to on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Sounds, with 22 scheduled to be streamed on TV and BBC iPlayer.

Controller Alan Davey called BBC Proms “one of the most inclusive musical experiences anywhere”.

“This year we want audiences everywhere to know that the joy and communion of live music-making is back.”

Women in music

women playing the violin
27 Apr 2022

Why are women so under-represented in certain areas of classical music? Katherine Cooper thinks enduring stereotypes about women’s soft skills are partly to blame.

Live music royalties yet to recover

a band plays to a live audience
27 Apr 2022

While concert revenues and artists payments decline, PRS for Music records substantial growth from online royalties. 

Jazz venues 'hanging by a thread'

a jazz band plays to an audience
21 Apr 2022

An absence of ringfenced funding for grassroots venues and promoters will likely lead to further closures, musicians say.

Strengthening music in society

cartoon drawing of people playing musical instruments
19 Apr 2022

It has never been more important to recognise the value of music-making and the UK music industry as a national asset. Helena Gaunt and John Sloboda report on a conference exploring these issues.

Music venues take cut of merch sales

19 Apr 2022

Academy Music Group (AMG) venues are taking a 25% cut from merchandise sales at live events, according to an investigation by The Guardian.

An undisclosed amount then goes to Universal Music Group (UMG), owners of the world’s three largest record labels, even if the artist in question is not signed to UMG.

In March, post-punk band Dry Cleaning hosted a pop-up merch store away from their gig at London’s O2 Forum, owned by AMG, to retain their profits.

“We probably sold the same number of units, but as we were able to retain 25% it worked out better for us financially,” Band Manager Helena Watmuff said.

Over 380 venues nationwide are included in the Featured Artists Coalition's (FAC) 100% Venues directory, a public database of venues that charge zero commission on artists' merchandise sales.

FAC CEO David Martin said these venues are making selling merchandise at gigs worthwile for artists: “[This creates] a fairer and more sustainable touring circuit, particularly for grassroots and emerging talent.”

Composer development scheme goes live

19 Apr 2022

A composer development initiative for PRS for Music members is now open.

Inspired by the work of American minimalist composer Philip Glass, the scheme is targeted at emerging composers in the early stage of their career.

Applicants are encouraged to respond to his body of work, and a theme of "refraction" by submitting two contrasting, original electronic compositions.

Four composers will be commissioned by Glass’ publisher, Dunvagen Music Publishers, to write an original composition using Philip Glass source material, to be released as a digital EP by Orange Mountain Music.

Entries must be submitted by May 13.

Performers need protections from AI abuse

19 Apr 2022

Performers are increasingly losing their jobs, faces and voices to artificial intelligence, a new report claims. What can be done about it?

Indie music labels increase market share

19 Apr 2022

Independent labels’ share of the UK music market grew to just under 27% in 2021.

Data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) indicates the single-percentage point increase on last year is bolstered by a sharp rise in indie labels' share of the UK’s vinyl market, which now accounts for four in every 10 vinyl sales.

Independent labels' album sales have grown by more than 10% in the past two years to account for 34% all album sales in 2021. 

The upward trend continues into 2022, with indie labels' overall market share increasing to 28.9%.

Last week's UK album charts saw indie labels represent the three highest selling records of the week for the first time in over a decade.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor attributes the rise to the streaming era and the enhanced choice indie labels offer to artists and fans.

“We’re delighted to see the indie sector going from strength to strength, contributing to the growth of the UK music industry as a whole.”


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