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ISM MUSIC JOURNAL SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Current and future income

This table shows current and expected sources of income by percentage of respondents

If you are a composer, what do you consider to be your most important source of income? Royalties

18.7

Commissions

If you are a composer, which of these sources of income do you think will increase in significance over the next few years? Royalties

22.0

40.2

Commissions

34.0

Arrangements

8.4

Arrangements

14.0

Other

32.7

Other

30.0

However, within the context of commissioning more specifically Sound And Music there were clearly some mixed concerns about whether It is clear, following the many letters by composers both commissions are worth it in the long term with opinion defending and criticising the policy direction of SAM that not divided over commissioners asking for publishing rights to all composers are supportive of the current direction of the commissions. ACE funded organisation of composers. This was echoed in responses to our survey: ‘I’m often put off entering competitions when the completed piece essentially belongs to the commissioning body rather than the ‘My contacts with ACE have been reasonably positive. SAM needs composer.’ to re-establish the strong participatory membership base that was lost when SPNM was merged with other organisations and urgent action ‘If [the commissioner is] paying for me to write it then I’m ok with also needs to be taken to re-establish the important archival service them also publishing it.’ of the BMIC. The UK must be the only major country that does not With regards to publishers specifically, opinions were mixed have a Music Information Centre.’ with some regarding their publishers as ‘excellent’ and others ‘SAM should have more composer involvement in its policy making concerned that payments from publishers are low, whilst recognising the difficulties faced by publishers. The ISM will be exercise, keep its doors open to new music creators and its performers when it comes to making decisions.’ looking at these issues in greater detail.

Intellectual Property A clear majority (61%) of composers were concerned about the increase in intellectual property infringement and piracy and many were concerned that they were not receiving sufficient remuneration for the use of their work.

‘Be much broader in their approach. They have concentrated too much on a very narrow type of new ‘contemporary’ music and this has a very small audience I feel. They don’t represent jazz or other popular forms very well.’

The two particular points coming forward from the comments in the survey were a call for greater engagement with the composing community and ‘action to re-establish the important Significant numbers of composers were concerned about the archival service of the BMIC.’ The new Chief Executive of accuracy of reporting of performances and payments for use of their music. This was an ongoing theme and there is clearly more SAM (formerly of ACE), Susanna Eastburn, will be joining in September and we will ensure that concerns raised over the work to be done here to ensure that performances and concerts merger are heard. are not missed. One composer suggested that a better culture of reporting performances to collecting societies to ensure that composers get paid was needed. Conclusion However, in amongst proposals for tougher laws, more relaxed regulations and the enforcement of existing laws (such as the Digital Economy Act), it was felt by many composers that the most effective way to tackle infringement was a greater use of education: ‘Better education at an early age - children need to understand how copyright works, particularly in the digital age.’ ‘I’m not sure it needs ‘protecting’ - opportunities for it to generate more income would be more useful.’ ‘By strengthening rights of ownership and usage in favour of the composer.’

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The results of the survey will feed in to a composers’ roundtable discussion, chaired by composer and Past President of the ISM, Professor Paul Max Edlin, planned for October 2012. This will help us develop specific proposals to promote composers’ interests. If you have a particular issue you would like to be raised at the roundtable discussion then please contact Henry Vann on 020 7079 1207, henry@ism.org, by 30 September 2012. Henry Vann, Public Affairs & Policy Officer, ISM

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Music Journal September-October 2012  

magazine of the Incorporated Society of Musicians

Music Journal September-October 2012  

magazine of the Incorporated Society of Musicians