More Money for Welsh Music?
If you are a Welsh songwriter, composer or publisher you may be interested to hear about a new report released by Bangor University.
The ‘Building New Music Strategies for the Music Industry in Wales’ report looks at how little royalties are paid to Welsh artists when their songs are played publicly and suggests that a new Welsh licensing agency is the way forward.
In the Welsh language music industry not much money is made from CD sales as the market is much smaller and so artists rely on royalties which is paid each time their song is played on the radio, on television, online at venues and so on.
Music writers, composers and publishers join the Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music and they collect and pay royalties to their members when their music is made public. They are a non-profit organisation that takes a small cut to cover costs.
This new report states that the PRS is not working well enough for the members in Wales as the industry is so different to the industry in the UK. They state that the music industry in Wales is under threat because there have been massive cuts to the amount of royalty copyright paid recently.
In 2007 the way the PRS calculated the royalties rates changed and the report gives some shocking figures, with reductions likely to be as much as 84%. If a composer was earning £25,000 in 2006 by 2010 this would come down to £4,250. If a composer was earning £5,000 then this would reduce to £850.
If we take these figures and apply them to publishers/recording companies in Wales then royalties of £400,000 in 2007 could fall to £64,000 in 2010. Or a company with royalties of £40,000 could end up with just £6,400. They say that cuts like this is certain to lead to job losses and even with some companies not being able to survive.
The rates-per-minute that Radio Cymru pay has also fallen when the PRS decided to revise the payments, from 89p in December 2006 to 66p in June 2009, by 2010 it will have fallen to 49p. Despite the changes some radio stations such as BBC Asian Network actually rose from 74p to £2. This is because they are on Digital Audio Band (DAB) and Radio Wales and Radio Cymru are not. If they joined the DAB then this could go up to £4.71 as it can reach far more people. The report says that pressure needs to come from politicians in the Welsh Assembly to make this change.
Part of the research was an online questionnaire gaining feedback from people involved with the Welsh music industry. The results showed that 86% were interested in joining a separate collection service.
The report recommends that there should be government financial support to look into whether an independent Welsh Music Royalties Society would work. They say that the Welsh music industry has never had financial support like other Welsh language and culture like literature and poetry has. They also say that more should be done to promote Welsh music so that it can be heard in places like shops, supermarkets, cafés, restaurants, sporting events, tourism, art centres, literary festivals, cultural events, schools, colleges and Universities.
They also suggested that music organisations should meet up to establish a Live Music Network in Wales. This would be a list of performance venues and a calendar of events so that audiences could see exactly what live gigs were going on in a specific area.
If you would like to see a copy of the full report then you can find this on their website.