Mining for new music
Getting a slice of the pie
Members Music Magazine Issue 48 Members Music Magazine June 2013 Issue 45 September 2012
You’ve got a friend in me
Make the most of social media
new jazz generation
sly & robbie
What’s going on with modern British jazz?
Jamaica’s other golden duo
PLUS: JUSTIN HAYWARD
14 status update
Plug into social media
DAVID BLACK / PAMELA SPRINGSTEEN / MARCUS WAY / MICHELE SIEDNER / MARK ALLEN
MEMO Hello and welcome to the spring/summer edition of M magazine. As we go to press, it looks like the sun might be out to stay after months of rain. But here at M Towers we didn’t let the wet spring dampen our spirits. This issue we’re celebrating songwriting in its myriad forms. From our members’ outstanding achievements at The Ivors to the next generation of exciting British jazz musicians, we’ve cast our nets wide to bring you the latest developments and extraordinary stories from some of our finest creators. We learn about the art of songwriting and satire from the legendary Randy Newman and celebrate the enduring success of The Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward. Later, Ben Watt, songwriter, DJ and label boss, tells us about his musical inspiration while classical composer Orlando Gough reveals the songs that have soundtracked his life.
Also in this issue, you can read the lowdown on our London School of Economics event entitled Copyright in Crisis? and share our experiences from The Great Escape. You will also hear from our public affairs team who are campaigning on your behalf in Europe to promote the value of copyright. Finally, our social media feature examines the art of digital conversation and explains all you need to know to keep your online presence fresh and compelling. Check out our at-a-glance guide to Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and more to learn the best techniques to build your fanbase and network. And make sure you join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to join in the conversation!
18 head hunters
The other side of jazz
22 randy newman Songwriting and satire
26 justin hayward International hitmaker 22
REGULARS 4 members and music
8 money and business 12 comment and debate
31 i wrote that
34 picture this
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Members Music Magazine Issue 48 June 2013
Editor Paul Nichols
Production & Design Carl English
Staff Writer Jim Ottewill
Make the most of social media
new jazz generation
Business Editor Barney Hooper
What’s going on with modern British jazz?
PLUS: JUSTIN HAYWARD
Associate Editor Anita Awbi
You’ve got a friend in me
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Membership Adviser Myles Keller
CONTRIBUTORS Rosie Blanchard, Olivia Chapman, KaKei Cheng, Laura Driffield, Eileen Fitches, David Kim, Tania Pearson, Cerian Squire, Sarah Thirtle
PRS for Music, 29-33 Berners Street, London W1T 3AB T 020 7580 5544 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.prsformusic.com The printing of M Magazine is managed on behalf of PRS for Music by Cyan Group Ltd, Twickenham. www.cyan-group.com Advertising 020 3225 5200 ISSN 0309-0019© PRS for Music 2013. All rights reserved. The views expressed in M are not necessarily those of PRS for Music, nor of the editorial team. PRS for Music accepts no responsibility for the views expressed by contributors to M, nor for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations, nor for errors in contributed articles or advertisements. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. M is printed on paper manufactured using chlorine-free pulps and the raw materials are from fully managed and sustainable forests.
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think sync: writing for the silver screen Mobile phones, fast food, deodorant; adverts for hundreds of products grace our TV screens each day, and a lot of them boast music that’s been written to order. And, although the synchronisation market may be lucrative for songwriters and composers, it’s also renowned for being highly competitive and tricky to break into. Anita Awbi went along to a session hosted by the Music Publishers Association to get the inside track from a panel of experts. Learn from Danny Champion (peermusic), Jonathan Christiansen (Pusher) and Kully B (Kully B Productions) as they reveal their top tips for breaking into the industry.
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Is there a particular genre that does well in sync? Danny: It’s definitely led by trends. Everyone wants the big track that’s being played on radio — or songs that sounds like it. The main focus of the advert is to sell the product — simple as that. It’s not about the music. Advertisers are always thinking about the demographic of the product, so it’s worthwhile for the composer to do the same. Kully B: With adverts, music supervisors seem to want intimate music that reaches out to audiences and fits with close-up candid vocals. But with film trailers, execs are always asking for music to be ‘more cinematic’ and dramatic. Music can’t keep getting more bombastic but they ask for it so you have to find ways to deliver. Every month there are new musical gadgets and plug-ins that help you. If you’re just starting out, how can you improve your chances of breaking through? Kully B: We got involved with organisations like the BPI and went on their sync missions to LA and France. We also got in touch directly with music supervisors to find out exactly what they want. We realised early on that it’s a very steep learning curve and that curve doesn’t stop. You’re constantly learning and trying new things. When people see you making that much effort they start passing briefs your way. Don’t just expect to walk in and get commissions. Danny: It’s also worth remembering that TV advertising and blockbuster movies aren’t the only areas you can get into. People working in the online world or in the app business often don’t know anything about the music industry so that’s where you can develop long-lasting relationships. Jonathan: My advice is to establish your own brand, find out what you’re good at and infiltrate one area. Don’t try to go after everything. If you’re starting out, have a goal and stick to it.
This is an excerpt from an M online ‘Make it Happen’ careers feature. Each week we bring you advice from leading lights in the industry, covering songwriting, recording, social media, funding and more.
m-magazine.co.uk 4_june 2013_m48
tune in We took this pic at a recent live session we recorded with upcoming electronica duo Cloud Boat. They played a couple of songs for us on the Thames beach by St Gabriel’s Wharf, London, on a lovely sunny afternoon in May. Tune in online now to watch the videos. Also in our Sessions section are videos with Tropics, Nadine Shah, John Bramwell (I Am Kloot), Jim Jones Revue, Brand New Heavies, WALL and more.
interview: bibio Warp Records experimental artist Bibio, aka Stephen Wilkinson, makes music which conjures of images of children’s TV and warm sunny days. This sort of hazy, musical nostalgia may have been perfected by his label mates Boards of Canada (who return this year with a much hyped new album) but his latest record – Silver Wilkinson – almost out does them with its mixture of folk, electronic and hip-hop textures. Jim Ottewill interviewed Stephen to hear how he made the new record and first learnt about melody using a Bontempi organ in the back of his parents’ car. To read more, visit m-magazine.co.uk and click on the Interviews tab. You’ll also find features with Bat for Lashes, Jason Yarde, alt-J, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Nadine Shah, Brand New Heavies, BASCA’s Simon Darlow and many other PRS for Music songwriters and composers.
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steve angello America’s love affair with electronic dance music has become increasingly fevered over the last 18 months. Steve Angello, acclaimed producer, DJ and previously one third of Swedish House Mafia, is one of the main reasons why the country’s ravers are getting so hot under the collar. Cutting his teeth on the underground raves of his native Stockholm, Steve rose through the ranks of dance music’s elite both in terms of music making and roof raising. An inspired reworking of the Eurthymics’ Sweet Dreams back in 2004 kickstarted his career as an in-demand producer. Key records such as Knas, Rave N Roll and Yeah have all done serious damage to soundsystems from Ibiza to Las Vegas while he’s worked with some of electronic music’s most successful artists, not least Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, his musical collaborators in electronic supergroup Swedish House Mafia. As part of the infamous trio, whose tour shenanigans are caught on the Spinal Tap-esque tour movie, Take One, Steve has traversed the globe playing to huge crowds. Their massive hits Save the World, Antidote, Greyhound, One and Don't You Worry Child have ensured their impact as a musical force has been felt in the charts as well as the clubs where they forged their reputations. One Last Tour marked the end of their career together seeing the trio perform more than 50 gigs which climaxed with a final show at Ultra Festival in Miami.
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Since the end of Swedish House Mafia, Steve has been busier than ever. He has recently joined forces with Jacques Lu Cont to remix Soothe My Soul, the lead track from Depeche Mode’s new album. His own label, Size Records, is gearing up more releases this summer having successfully delivered huge tracks from the likes of Junior Sanchez. Meanwhile, Steve’s own debut solo album Wild Youth is expected to drop later this year. He will be touring Europe throughout June and will hit the UK in August for Creamfields Festival and Belfast Belsonic. steveangello.com
kohhei matsuda spring offensive Oxford five-piece Spring Offensive (above) are a relentlessly inventive guitar band complete with rich harmonies, driving rhythms and heartfelt lyrics. Drawing on classic guitar sounds, they bring a strong sense of melody to the indie template. Since releasing their debut EP Pull Us Apart in 2010, they’ve become one of the most hopeful bands in Oxford’s legendary scene. They are heading out for some European dates over the summer. springoffensive.co.uk
Songwriter and guitarist Kohhei Matsuda is one quarter of visceral psychedelic rock band Bo Ningen (right). He’s also a soloist, whose live shows create a brain-crushing wall of noise, and one part of the F.E.E.P. Trio. Together with Bo Ningen, Japanese-born Kohhei is now based in London full time, earning a reputation around the Capital for his must-see performances. His gusto for hectic tempo changes echoes the music of Japanese freak-out bands like Boredoms, Acid Mothers Temple and Melt Banana, while the surrealist undertones of the full band veer from Steppenwolf to King Crimson to Frank Zappa in the blink of an eye. Mind-melting stuff. boningen.info m48_june 2013_5
members & music songwriting celebration
Check out interviews and videos from The Ivors
The Ivor Novello Awards are always a highlight in the songwriting calendar and this year was no exception. In May the cream of Britain’s musical talent flocked to London’s Grosvenor House Hotel amid much media fanfare, taking to the main ballroom to await broadcaster Paul Gambaccini’s opening words.
Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé was the big winner at the ceremony, scooping two awards for her hit Next to Me. The song received the PRS for Music Most Performed Work and Best Song Musically and Lyrically accolades. However, Emeli was not present to pick up her statuettes due to performance commitments in the US, including a show at the White House. Other winners included dance music producer and DJ Calvin Harris who took the prize for Songwriter of the Year. BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong presented the prize to him, saying: ‘The fact is, DJs and the writers of dance and electronic music never truly believed they belonged in this room. I’m happy to say that is changing. We’ve got a role model now.’ Calvin added: ‘Like my lyrics, I’ll keep this 6_june 2013_m48
[speech] brief and repetitive. I can’t believe I’ve even been let through the door of this ceremony. This is easily the greatest achievement of my life.’ The Ivors also rewarded some of the best British songwriters with awards in recognition of their achievements. Marc Almond, Noel Gallagher and Gavin Rossdale all received gongs while Randy Newman was honoured with the PRS for Music Special International Award. His songwriting catalogue includes film scores for the likes of Toy Story and Monsters, Inc, while he has written a string of hit songs and albums for himself and other performers. Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues collected the PRS for Music Award for Outstanding Achievement. (See interview p.26). The Best Contemporary Song gong went to Pelican by The Maccabees and Mercury Prize winners alt-J took the award for Best Album with An Awesome Wave. For a full list of winners and to watch exclusive video interviews with nominees, winners and guests including Peter Gabriel, Noel Gallagher, Bat For Lashes, Nitin Sawhney, Lianne La Havas and Randy Newman, visit m-magazine.co.uk.
Clockwise from top left: Noel Gallagher (Outstanding Song Collection); Errollyn Wallen (Classical Award); Calvin Harris: Marc Almond (Inspiration Award); and Gavin Rossdale (International Award) with Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
biennial commissions revealed
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brighton rocks This year’s seaside extravaganza The Great Escape made a huge splash on Brighton’s live music circuit with more than 350 UK and international acts descending on the city for three days of musical mayhem. The sell-out festival celebrated the very best in new music, with The Wytches, John Newman, King Krule, Filthy Boy and Findlay all causing a big stir. PRS for Music was on hand to host digitalthemed panels and debates with upcoming bands and industry leaders. The events were aimed at equipping songwriters, publishers, labels and artist managers with the tools they need to capitalise on new digital promotion platforms and technologies. For more on this, see p.8.
Singing skateboarders, musical ferries, steel pans and clog dancers were among the entries singer-songwriter and broadcaster Cerys Matthews had to consider when judging the UK’s first ever New Music Biennial in April. Along with a panel including renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, composer Max Richter and composer/saxophonist Jason Yarde, Cerys whittled down an eclectic list of 130 composers and commissioning organisations to just 20.
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The composers will showcase the diverse range of musical talent at work in the UK through performances that will run across the whole country during 2014. Matthew Herbert will use the sounds of 20 pianos from around the world in his composition while Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes (pictured above) will collaborate on a new piece with The Invisible’s David Okumu. Other commissions include a folk piece led by composer and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy, which will consist of songs created on ferry crossings in the Scottish Highlands, to be performed in Inverness and on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. All 20 works will be featured at two weekend showcases hosted by London’s Southbank Centre (4-6 July 2014) and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music (2-3 Aug 2014). NMC Recordings will release each piece of new music as digital downloads. For a full list of commissioned composers and to hear from the judges, visit m-magazine.co.uk. To hear more from Cerys, read her comment on p13.
Elsewhere, PRS for Music Foundation hosted some of the best new music at an afternoon showcase with Luke Sital-Singh, WALL, Mary Epworth (above) and Dan Croll. Visit m-magazine.co.uk for more.
new music 20x12 £500k talent fund open wins award The PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England (ACE) Momentum music fund is now live, with the first entry deadline of 28 June. The programme is open to those creating new and contemporary music across all genres, providing they are at the right stage of their career and can provide a clear business case for support.
PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20×12 initiative has received a gong at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards. The foundation picked up the award in the Concert Series and Festivals category at a ceremony in May. The initiative put new music centre stage of the Cultural Olympiad last year, bringing together 20 UK arts organisations with composers to create works that were performed at 75 different venues across the UK. Pieces ranged from Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Beyond This with Music in Prisons and inmates at HMP Lowden Grange, to Emily Howard’s opera Zatopek! with Royal Philharmonic and Ensemble 10:10. PRS for Music Foundation’s Executive Director Vanessa Reed and New Music 20×12 founder Jillian Barker accepted the award on behalf of all the commissioning organisations, composers and partner organisations, including London 2012, BBC Radio 3, NMC Recordings and Southbank Centre.
Momentum will offer grants of £5,000-£15,000 to between 50 and 75 acts over the next two years. It is being managed by PRS for Music Foundation and will harness the reach of BBC Radio to promote funding deadlines and successful applicants. The first wave of successful applicants will be announced in early August, with later awards scheduled for October and January 2014. Meanwhile, the second application deadline, for those who miss the 28 June cut-off, is 30 August. Visit prsformusicfoundation.com for more information. ACE chief executive Alan Davey used his keynote speech at The Great Escape to officially launch the fund, saying: ‘It is vital that talented musicians and bands have opportunities to access the kind of support that ensures their talent can find its way and flourish. As well as supporting some great artists over the next two years I hope that our experience of this fund will provide us with a clearer understanding of how we can best support artists in this area to fulfil their potential and reach the audiences they deserve.’ m48_june 2013_7
money & business in focus: the great escape
copyright in crisis?
Songwriters, publishers and labels should view streaming services as both a means to distribute music and as a valuable marketing tool, an industry panel has urged at The Great Escape. Talking at the PRS for Music session entitled Marketing Value of Digital Services, moderator Jemima Kiss said that streaming platforms such as Spotify and Deezer could become a hybrid between online promotional tools and traditional music distribution channels if used correctly.
The panel later agreed that platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube could provide invaluable promotion channels, but only if used correctly. Patrick Walker, Senior Director at YouTube Music Europe, explained that artists using his platform could successfully create as much hype as artists using more traditional (and expensive) marketing tools such as television and print media, citing successful DIY singersongwriter Alex Day as an example.
London School of Economics (LSE) and PRS for Music have hosted a public panel to discuss the future of music copyright. The event, entitled The Theft of Creative Content: Copyright in Crisis, was moderated by Professor Andrew Murray, a specialist in copyright law and digital media (see his comment, p.12). Its purpose was to analyse the current role of copyright and its ongoing effectiveness in the evolving digital creative industries.
‘Real fans’ trump ‘likes’ Elsewhere at The Great Escape, a panel featuring representatives from Last FM, Shazam and Vevo asserted that the value of social media for emerging acts lies in fan engagement rather than just ‘likes’. In the How to Use Data panel, Fred Bolza from Sony Music said that it’s important for brands — whether they be record labels, publishers or artists — to distinguish between these ‘likes’ and audience connections which can bring genuine value.
Murray was joined by a five-strong panel including: Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music; Amelia Andersdotter, Pirate Party MEP; Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, music critic, Financial Times; Eg White, songwriter and producer (Adele, James Morrison, Duffy); Dr Luke McDonagh, Fellow in the Department of Law at LSE.
He said: ‘You want people to do something with your post. Retweet or listen. But putting out really good music means the most and the rest should take care of itself. The Daft Punk marketing campaign is a case in point. Nothing exists online if it doesn’t exist offline.’
The Guardian technology journalist went on to suggest that, as streaming royalties were still relatively low, perhaps these platforms should be prized more for their marketing function than their revenue-generating potential. To which Deezer UK’s Managing Director Mark Foster replied: ‘Five years ago streaming services didn’t really exist so this is a brand new revenue stream that artists and record companies didn’t have before. We’re pulling back a whole generation of people from piracy to give them a better experience — a legitimate experience — and ensuring artists and songwriters get paid. ‘Services like ours have to give users a great experience, great interface, great editorial, great recommendations, an easy way to discover new music and they should encourage artists to engage with fans not just once on release date but on a regular basis. That prolongs the life of the record and the project,’ he said. Spotify’s Director of Artist Services Mark Williamson added that his company had already paid out $500m to rightsholders since its inception in 2009 and would pay $500m in royalties this year alone. Both Deezer and Spotify have recently launched new tools aimed at promoting artists and capturing streaming data to help musicians better target their marketing. 8_june 2013_m48
The evening saw prepared speeches from Ashcroft, Andersdotter and McDonagh, followed by an interview with Eg White and questions from the audience. Ashcroft used his address to explain that, although copyright could at times be complex, its importance to a successful and growing digital creative economy could not be overstated.
Web adds creative boost Chris Cooke, Business Editor of CMU, used his keynote speech at the convention to assert that there has never been a better time for creative, entrepreneurial individuals in the music industry. Kicking off the second day of panels in Brighton, Cooke said he believed no one really knew exactly what they were doing in the postweb world and that it had been fascinating to watch companies explore new ways of working. Although the pre-web music industry was a powerful, revenue-generating machine, Cooke pointed to flaws which had not been carried over to the digital age. ‘When it worked, the old system could really work and there are many millionaires that can testify to that, both in the ageing artist community and among record company executives,’ he told delegates. ‘But we all know it often didn’t work. For every artist that succeeded, many more artists failed. Some of them did because their music was no good, some of them failed because they didn’t work hard enough. But a lot of them failed because that one model that the record industry used to pursue just didn’t work for them. The really exciting thing that’s happening now is that artists and managers are starting to realise there are opportunities and are changing the game.’
He told delegates that current copyright law underpinned the whole industry, adding that PRS for Music collected revenues of £642m for its 95,000-plus members last year. ‘Our role is to ensure that those who want to use music can do so both easily and cost effectively, while ensuring that those who created it are able to earn a fair return on their efforts… This is why I find it puzzling when I hear the rhetoric that says that collecting societies are a barrier in the way of new music services,’ he said.
For in-depth coverage from The Great Escape, visit m-magazine.co.uk
Stream the complete audio from the event on m-magazine.co.uk
prs for music - in europe This spring, PRS for Music has been monitoring and contributing to the development of the EU Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive. The CRM Directive is legislation – currently in draft – that is intended to provide a framework to ensure all collective management organisations operating in Europe, including PRS for Music, provide good multi-territory licensing solutions and meet minimum standards of service, transparency and governance. A number of European parliamentary committees are involved in the legislative journey of the directive, all of which have submitted their amendments to the Commission’s initial draft. At the same time, the Presidency of the Council of the EU has tabled its proposed amendments to the directive. Throughout the summer, the committees will be voting through their amendments and the process will culminate in a plenary vote, slated for November. PRS for Music’s legal and public affairs teams have been reviewing the proposed amendments, analysing their potential impact both on the society’s members and collective rights management across Europe. They have conducted a series of meetings at the EU parliament to offer feedback, and will continue to do so over the coming months. On the whole, PRS for Music is very supportive of the original draft directive and believes the underlying principle is very strong. For example,
the directive will require collective management organisations to produce an annual transparency report, detailing revenues, management costs and distributions. PRS for Music strongly supports this move towards transparency and has recommended making this report more comprehensive. However, some of the proposed amendments – while having very good intentions – could have unintended consequences that may have the potential to undermine the original intent of the directive. Key issues that have come to the fore in this debate include the criteria for tariff setting, proposed cultural services amendments and work-by-work withdrawal of rights. PRS for Music is looking to ensure that licence fees represent a fair deal for composers and songwriters, with composer and licensee interests properly balanced. PRS for Music has also questioned the proposed social, cultural and educational service amendments, which state that collecting societies should provide cultural support in their country of origin. Although PRS for Music does finance the PRS for Music Foundation, the society believes this practice should not be made compulsory at EU level. It also believes that undistributed royalties should not go into funds for cultural services, as has also been proposed. Instead, it believes societies should ensure this pot is as small as possible so money flows back to the creators that produced the works.
For more on what’s happening in Europe:
There has been debate over a proposal to encourage work-by-work withdrawal of rights. Writer organisations have expressed strong concerns against this, saying it would be of detriment to the collective.
mcps changes announced The joint boards of PRS and MCPS have agreed a plan to restructure the partnership company known as PRS for Music. The move will enable significant cost saving within MCPS, the society that represents mechanical rights, while continuing licensing administration, royalty processing and account management for members.
a vital source of members’ income. From July 2013 there will be a change in the ownership of the operating company known as PRS for Music with MCPS agreeing to sell its shares in the joint venture to PRS. Royalty processing services will be delivered to MCPS by PRS for Music (fully owned by PRS) under a service level agreement. Both societies have also agreed to further reduce costs, enabling more efficient operations.
In 2012 it was announced that MCPS faced significant market pressures as the music market moved from CDs and DVDs to downloads and streaming. The shift away from physical products continues, resulting in a loss-making situation at MCPS which would be unsustainable over a long period.
Commenting on the agreement PRS Chair Guy Fletcher said: ‘With this deal we will continue to act in the interests of all of our members, ensuring the business manages its costs appropriately and delivers stability of royalty income in an ever changing world.’
The plan will allow the business to operate more efficiently and maintains PRS for Music’s ability to license and administer mechanical rights, still
Peter Cornish, Chair of MCPS, added: ‘Despite collecting mechanical royalties of almost £176m for MCPS in 2012, we have been unable to reduce
costs as quickly as we’d like with our current structure. Contracting with PRS will allow us to become more efficient and continue to serve the needs of members.’ All PRS for Music members were notified in 2012 of changes to administration and commission rates in order to allow the business time to agree a restructuring and recovery plan. m48_june 2013_9
Working together to Amplify electronic music Amplify is a new initiative from PRS for Music to help dance music writers make the most of their work. We are teaming up with DJ and data technology specialists to find ways to report set lists automatically from clubs, festivals and live performances. We are also collaborating with music rights societies from around the world to ensure royalties are efficiently collected and distributed. Help us get the royalties back to you by checking your works are registered correctly with us. Start earning from your music: visit www.prsformusic.com/amplify
money & business ads net £10m for uk songwriters
news in brief going for growth in 2013
A record £641.8m collected in 2012: In April PRS for Music announced collections of £641.8m with royalties from online services topping £51m for the first time. The total was an increase of 1.7 percent on 2011 and, combined with a reduction in overall costs, meant more money than ever was paid to songwriters, composers and music publishers. The largest income source for UK creators remains international with over £180m collected during the year.
George M Cohan’s Over There, the infamous song used in the Go Compare advert, was the most played ad track in 2012, new statistics from PRS for Music reveal. Data which compiled the most played songs in advertising across both TV and radio from last year showed this revenue can be a vital source of income for songwriters. Radio advertising accounted for £1.9m while television commercials netted £8m for PRS for Music members in broadcast royalties. The Go Compare ad was the most played with the Village People’s YMCA taking second place as part of a Confused.com campaign. Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle (below) co-wrote Spinnin’, the music used in the Sky commercial which was the fourth most performed ad in 2012.
For a full breakdown of the 2012 financial results visit prsformusic.com/aboutus Despite a four percent dip in international royalties last year, revenues from overseas music usage are expected to return to growth in 2013 PRS for Music has said. This area has yielded one of the fastest growing sources of income for members over the last decade and is now the largest royalty stream for UK creators. During 2013 PRS for Music is working to improve data, share best practice and support the defence of copyright globally. Already, members are benefiting from the growing legal online market, as services such as iTunes and Spotify launch in new territories including the Caribbean and Far East. Similarly, the improving efficiency of collecting societies around the world has buoyed royalty payments flowing back to the UK.
Dan Neale, Head of Music at advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R said: ‘Music’s role in TV adverts has always been significant, and underrated, but it’s never been more beneficial for songwriters to land that deal. The exposure and reach they can gain by getting a song in a commercial is a huge benefit to the artist, as it allows them to cut through the many thousands of acts that the modern audience has access to.’ See the Top 20 most played TV and radio commercials of 2012 at m-magazine.co.uk
your next paydays Performing (PRS):
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At a recent presentation focusing on the opportunities and challenges in 2013, PRS for Music International Director Karen Buse said: ‘The economic climate for many European countries remains difficult and that will undoubtedly affect royalties collected. However, improvements in tracking, data, copyright enforcement in developing countries and the management of societies globally will bring benefits to our members. Our focus remains one of partnership with societies supporting best practice, sharing knowledge and improving collective management.’ Success has recently been achieved in the Italian market where national collecting society SIAE has agreed to remove a four percent deduction on UK music royalties. The charge had previously been used to fund cultural and social activities in Italy. Members whose music is used in Italy will notice the change from October 2013. Over the next five years the international team has an ambitious target to grow royalty revenue, with TV and live receipts providing the majority share of additional income. Work is already underway to deliver these targets from established markets such as Europe, the US and new territories.
PRS AGM: The PRS AGM took place on 13 June as M magazine went to print. For a full update of proceedings and to learn which publisher directors have been elected to the PRS board please visit m-magazine.co.uk Young Musician 2014: The BBC has launched its annual talent search with previous winner Nicola Benedetti as ambassador. There will be five classical categories for brass, keyboards, percussion, strings and woodwind, with finalists from these categories going on to perform with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The 2014 competition should also see the introduction of the first jazz award, which will consist of two audition stages followed by a final on 8 March 2014. Independents ahead of the digital curve: Independent record labels and artists are keener to embrace digital than their major label counterparts, Charles Caldas, the Chief Executive of rights agency Merlin has asserted. Talking at The Great Escape in Brighton, he said: ‘The independents have been much more engaged in the digital space. A key distinction from the majors is that they’re not trying to protect something which has gone, but participate in something which is coming.’ He cited Domino Records as a label which embraced Spotify when it launched, putting together playlists and encouraging fans to use the platform. YouTube and Spotify in numbers: Patrick Walker, Senior Director, YouTube Music Europe, said that his platform has hit a four billion views-per-day watershed. The website now has a billion unique visitors every month, with 50 percent of all traffic coming from tablets and mobile devices.
comment & debate
curbing copyright erosion Andrew Murray, London School of Economics We all understand that the public perception of music has completely changed over the last decade. Music is not viewed as a possession anymore. It’s out there in the atmosphere, it’s in the cloud, it’s on Apple and Amazon servers, and although we still have a large amount of physical music available to us, people under 30 don’t think of music as a product to own and hold. Casual consumers download it for free and they don’t face any moral dilemma in doing so. Quite simply, people have lost connection with copyright law in music. What can the industry do about this? Obviously, copyright is still extremely important because it’s the legal structure that allows intermediary record companies and publishers to invest in the acts on their roster, and it allows songwriters to earn a living from their work. The main problem is that copyright is viewed as an anachronistic law which is irrelevant now music can be distributed so cheaply outside the traditional supply chains. Why should I pay more than a few pence for an mp3 file that is, in essence, of poorer sound quality than a CD? If copyright law pushes up the cost from just a few pence to 59p or 99p, then it must be bad, right? Users fail to grasp that a portion of the download price of 59p or 99p per track is going back into the music industry; they presume it is only going to shareholders and boosting profit margins. Unfortunately, much of the erosion we have seen in respect for copyright is permanent. We can’t un-invent the technology, but the first thing the industry needs to do is accept this. And, although the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, there 12_june 2013_m48
are a few things that the music business can do to regain a bit of a foothold. All creative industries need to think about the proper application of copyright law. In the last five years there has been too much focus on restricting the end user. The UK’s Digital Economy Act springs to mind, and there are similar laws elsewhere. The problem with this type of legislation is that it’s very difficult to enforce. And, as they’ve found in France, it’s counter-productive both in terms of expenditure and efficiency. Any industry that threatens a legal response against its own customers is cutting its own throat. The music, film and TV industries have all made mistakes in the past by trying to sue individuals and this should stop. Although I can see a strategy in that approach – it creates headlines and it makes people think twice about illegal filesharing – the general response is overwhelmingly negative. The way forward is to attack the intermediaries. People mostly supported the litigation against Pirate Bay in Sweden. The hardcore filesharers didn’t, but the vast majority of people saw it as a positive thing. Similarly, action taken in the UK to block access to websites under what are known as ‘Section 97a’ orders have been quite effective. I think it’s a good strategy because you are cutting off the suppliers. If you compare it to the drugs trade, you’re not trying to put every user in prison, you’re going after the suppliers. Another action the music industry should take is to find a way of negotiating down the pricing of digital downloads. I recognise that it will be difficult for them because they are now restricted by the bargaining power of big tech firms like Apple and Amazon, but it’s a worthwhile endeavour. Music fans think that most digital music products are currently over-priced at 99p for a single download and £8 for an album. If a single track cost 29p or 39p people would rather obtain it legally than take the risk of going to a filesharing site and downloading something that may have a virus or that isn’t the correct file or that might lead to their
Economists will tell you that you can never compete with free, but that’s because they over-think rationality. IP address being captured for nefarious means. If you price singles between 29p and 49p and albums between £3.99 and £5.99 I believe people would naturally migrate to legal downloads. It’s about using the market: economists will tell you that you can never compete with free, but that’s because they over-think rationality. If I had the choice between a single that was 39p or free through a filesharing site, I would pay every time because I would know that it was a clean, legal file. The market definitely has a role to play in controlling the intermediaries, but I would strongly counsel against pursuing end users. The industry should take care not to alienate its customers and pick its battles wisely.
Professor Andrew Murray is a specialist in copyright law and the role of digital media in society at the London School of Economics Law Department. His principal research interests lie in online regulatory design, the protection of human rights within the digital environment and the promotion of online proprietary interests, encompassing both intellectual property rights and traditional property models. Andrew is a member of the Management Board of Creative Commons, England and Wales, and currently serves as Articles Editor of the Modern Law Review. He is also a member of the UNESCO Advisory Committee study on Freedom of Expression and Media Development relating to internet practices.
streaming services have really begun to take off in the last two years. Unlicensed online distribution remains a problem, though with court orders having being issued to internet service providers over the past twelve months, ordering them to block access to both Newzbin2 and The Pirate Bay, there are some indications that the tide is slowly beginning to turn in our favour.
changing perspectives Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music Last month I was pleased to announce that online royalty revenues had grown by 32.2 percent in the last year to £51.7m. This growth supports the notion that a legal licensed market for online music is finally becoming properly established. Digital downloads have been with us now for a decade, while subscription
On the other hand, the idea that content should be freely available on the internet, fuelled by the lobbying effort of some technology companies, has caused copyright to be seen in political quarters as an obstacle to growth rather than the foundation on which this country’s successful creative industries have been built. Music, film, television and premier league football all depend on the protection of their intellectual property rights. All are large employers and successful exporters so, in fact, the reverse is true; copyright must continue to be protected in the very interest of employment and economic growth. I recently spoke at a debate at the London School of Economics, which they had dubbed Copyright in Crisis. I argued that copyright was not in crisis at all, but was entering its most dynamic and exciting chapter since the Statute of Anne came into effect in 1710. I believe our online royalty growth demonstrates this, as does the number of new digital licences we have issued. Even Google has launched a music subscription service, though so far only in the US. On the subject of Google, in May I visited Korea to meet our counterpart society, KOMCA, in the wake of the success of Gangnam Style. This, of course, is the internet
The commissioning of musicians and composers isn't a new concept. Indeed, subsidising large groups like orchestras is considered the norm due to the logistics involved. Where I have my concerns is mainly in the process of commissioning the composition of music. Music industry profits are down and piracy, with its spread through new technologies, takes the brunt of the blame. This has had obvious consequences on both the record labels and music creators themselves.
supporting new music Cerys Matthews, songwriter and broadcaster
While there is little sympathy out there for multinational record companies, the impact of piracy on the myriad of small record labels has been ignored. Some of these labels are founded by individual musicians themselves and, if they make it through the embryonic period of shifting the first few thousand copies, they can grow into breeding grounds for other new music-makers. Grant-giving and the subsidised commissioning of new music may seem like the obvious answer to help keep the music-making process healthy, but the real qualification of its success can only be measured by the effect it has on producing quality music. The way it is allocated is the first step by which funding can succeed or fail in this objective.
phenomenon that became the first YouTube video to reach a billion views. Here in the UK we watched Gangnam Style 7.3 million times in the fourth quarter of 2012 but to put this into perspective for a moment, this is an audience equivalent of a single radio play on BBC Radio 1. It was the fact that Gangnam Style made it onto radio and it became popular in nightclubs that made it an economic success. Despite the ubiquity of YouTube it still pales in significance when compared with traditional media such as TV and radio. I would like to reassure members that while we cannot control developments in digital distribution, we do track them closely, licensing new business models as they emerge and continually working to improve the climate for copyright on the internet. We are also deeply conscious that collecting licensing fees is only the first part of our job; the second is to match usage with ownership and distribute the royalties as efficiently as we can to rightsholders. This is why we are also working in partnership with other societies to ensure that we have the systems, the processes, the people and the technology to cope with the complexities of pan-territorial, split-copyright licensing that is set to generate literally hundreds of billions of music usages per annum in the years to come. We have always adapted to the way the industry has changed and we will continue to do so. I said it at our recent Annual General Meeting and repeat it here: I believe this is an exciting time to be in the music industry and I look forward to the work ahead.
The funding of individuals can be an insular formula if the money doesn’t bring the creation of something that feeds out to the wider community or economy. It can lead to one performance, n'er to be repeated, and the return on investment ends there. That's why my preference is for investment in theatres, festivals or groups that support local music-making. This type of funding supports creativity but also supports the necessary infrastructure that music-makers need; sound crews, aspiring lighting directors, small recording set-ups and more. The focus should be less on the performance and more towards actually delivering a ‘product’. If run with some responsibility, these investments create income that feeds back into the industry, supports creators and reaches out into communities. Cerys Matthews is a renowned singer, songwriter, author and broadcaster. She is best known for fronting nineties indie band Catatonia and more recently for her award-winning radio show on BBC 6 Music. To read Cerys’ full comment piece which looks at music funding holistically, from the provision of music education in primary schools right up to large scale commissioning initiatives, please visit m-magazine.co.uk. m48_june 2013_13
Main image: Daft Punk
FACEBOOK By simple dint of its scale — with over one billion active users globally and growing — Facebook is the most important social network for any musician to be on. Third-party services like BandPage allow musicians to re-skin and personalise their profile page while embeddable content — YouTube videos, SoundCloud tracks — can be accessed without having to leave the page. User analytics help target specific messages to fan segments, especially useful for fans in different time zones.
TWITTER Its strength is that it operates in real time and URL shorteners ensure links to other sites (hosting videos, pictures or news) don’t swallow up a tweet’s precious 140 characters. Plug-in tools mean you can closely monitor conversation threads and see what tweets are the most popular in terms of retweets and ‘favourites’. Artists, from the superstar users like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry all the way down to new acts, can control the conversation and even use it to run competitions.
As of last November, microblogging and social media platform Tumblr had 170 million users. Musicians tend to use Tumblr for photo and video sharing as the design of the site favours high quality visuals. At the start of the year, it put a formal emphasis on music, with a curated section offering editors’ picks of the best music, photos and videos. Artists like Beyoncé, Azaelia Banks, Nine Inch Nails and The xx are all heavy users.
BECOMING SOCIAL Eamonn Forde talks to those in the know about building a successful social media presence.
Little over a year ago Psy was barely known outside South Korea, but 1.6 billion YouTube views of Gangnam Style later and he’s synonymous with that very modern phenomenon — the viral hit driven by social media. Equally, Harlem Shake took on a life of its own through multiple user-generated versions that piqued global interest via social media channels. Marketing campaigns for acts today have social media woven in tightly from the off. For example, the Boards Of Canada campaign for their new Tomorrow’s Harvest album saw fans collaborating across social media to crack cryptic codes and unlock the band’s website. Meanwhile, the biggest marketing campaign of 2013 — for Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories album — has been played out on social media. The band and their label created minimal promotional material but their drip-drip approach to releasing it whipped up a social media frenzy. Fans feverishly shared the album artwork, advert and official video, thus doing most of the heavy lifting throughout the campaign. Various spin-off usergenerated videos and mixes only added to the hype.
SIX KEY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS GOOGLE+ YOUTUBE With more than one billion users globally, YouTube is the second largest search engine online (after Google, its parent company) and by some distance the biggest music streaming service in the world. If you have several videos (these can be promos, live recordings and also interviews or other non-music content), it is worth creating your own official YouTube channel and looking to monetise the plays through the platform’s advert network. For many fans, YouTube is the first place they will look for an act to find out more, so maintaining a strong channel and keeping it topped up with fresh clips is essential.
With 343 million monthly active users, this is a far bigger social media platform than Twitter, but it is perhaps one of the most complicated. Different components like Circles and Hangouts may take some time to get your head around, but it is certainly a platform worth considering — if only because of the way Google links it through to a number of its other properties, most notably YouTube and the Android mobile operating system. Musicians are starting to experiment with what it can do, such as Ellie Goulding, who hosted virtual album signings on the platform last year.
VINE Now owned by Twitter, it puts an emphasis on brief video clips that can be uploaded from a user’s iPhone (there is, for now, no app for Android). Clips can only be as long as six seconds. Viewers do not need the Vine app to watch any uploaded content as it plays on web browsers. Boyband Union J recently used it to get fans to shoot clips based on specific lyrics from their Carry You single, with a variety of fansubmitted clips going to make a video for the track. Even Paul McCartney has done a ‘guess the song’ game on Vine.
A decade ago, none of this would have been possible. Today a rich multi-directional conversation between artists and fans is the norm — so much so that some major acts are creating their own social networks, such as Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters community on Backplane (a platform she is also an investor in) and Insane Clown Posse’s JuggaloBook. ‘You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that social media is massively important to musicians,’ says Iain Baker, keyboardist in Jesus Jones and also the band’s manager. ‘Social media used to be like a sidebar to a band’s main website. Now the engagement and conversation doesn’t come from the website — it comes from social media.’ When the band reformed, Iain built their social media profile from scratch around three years ago, starting with Facebook and Twitter. Having a consistent voice is important, he says, and for that reason he is the sole member in charge of all their social media activity. ‘We could farm it out, should we wish,’ he says. ‘But we wouldn’t be talking to our fans with the same voice. People tend to focus on the “media” part of social media and not the “social” part of it.’ Darren Hemmings runs strategic digital marketing company Motive Unknown, working with Ivor Award-winning songwriters such as alt-J and Villagers. Getting engagement right for platforms like Facebook is a tricky balance he says – too much and you’re spamming and too little and you’re pushed down Facebook’s rankings. ‘Facebook is always trying to grade you as a page based on how engaging you are for your audience,’ he explains. ‘If you bombard them with crap, it will stop showing your posts to as many people.’ While Twitter is growing in importance and its real-time conversations are a boon, Darren says Facebook is still the most powerful social media platform for songwriters and artists. ‘It is a more high quality way of reaching people because you just have slightly more opportunity — with images and embedded media — to catch people’s eyes.’ With so many social media platforms out there (see p.14), prioritising them is difficult. Nick Long is the social media manager at Atlantic Records UK and suggests that acts focus on the platforms that best suit them rather than trying to be everywhere at once.
RICH GILLIGAN / JORY CORDY / JAMIE JAMES MEDINA
‘A big part of it is about the artist finding their voice online
and you’ll normally find they tend to gravitate to one service over another,’ he says. ‘So if you have an artist who’s a budding photographer, Instagram will be a natural fit for them. Or if you’re working with a DJ then uploading regular mixes to SoundCloud will be an essential part of your strategy.’ Iain’s key tips are to post regularly - but not to bombard people with posts - and to engage directly with fans. ‘Don’t try and shout at everyone at once,’ he says. ‘Try to talk to one person at a time.’ Nick adds to this and outlines four survival tips: ‘One: don’t be afraid to reply directly to fans. Even criticism can be turned into a positive experience for the fan. Two: social media is an attention economy. We’re flooded with so much content and information on a daily basis that you really need to think about what makes you unique. Three: the best artists are the ones who feel like they genuinely enjoy interacting with their fans and watching their social numbers grow. Four: by following or observing other artists you like or you think use the service well you’ll quickly learn what works.’ Because of the dominance of Facebook and Twitter, Darren says artists need to limit themselves to other tools and services that ‘play nice on the major platforms’, citing YouTube and SoundCloud as the best examples of services that are platform-agnostic and can be posted anywhere on the web. This makes them portable and, most importantly, accessible. The biggest pitfall for Darren is gimmickry. It may grab attention in the short term but can cause long term damage. ‘I used to buy into clever and creative gimmicks to win new fans,’ he says. ‘These days I don’t subscribe to that. I think it’s a combination of just being interesting and engaging - and coupling that with a strong sense of advertising and marketing to ensure you spread the word beyond the core audience.’ For Nick, the thing to avoid the most is using social media to blare out incessant sales messages. ‘It’s important to respect the fan/artist relationship at all times and ensure that fans don’t feel they’re being exploited or constantly being asked to cough up money,’ he says. Ultimately, social media needs to be treated as an extension of what you are like as a songwriter or composer. ‘People have this feeling that it’s not real life, it’s social media,’ says Baker. ‘Social media should act like real life.’
Clockwise from top: Boards of Canada; The xx; Ellie Goulding; Alt-J; Villagers, and Jesus Jones
Find out more in our Make it Happen section
When itâ€™s at its best, it flies in the face of all things consumerist and capitalist Main image: Pete Wareham Right: Matt Halshall
Jazz is known as the music of freedom so why do outdated stereotypes continue to strike bum notes? Jim Ottewill discovers there’s more to UK jazz than such hot air. Pete Wareham, songwriter and saxophonist at the helm of multi-racial music makers Melt Yourself Down and Acoustic Ladyland, sounds genuinely affronted when the ‘j-word’ drops into conversation. ‘Jazz? I don’t know much about it. I haven’t been following it for ages. What am I into at the moment? I’ve been listening to a lot of Diplo and Mykki Blanco,’ he says. His name may have been synonymous with contemporary UK jazz over the last few years, but Pete Wareham has always been one to think differently when seeking inspiration. While a love of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin inspired his early Acoustic Ladyland records, sounds from Egypt and Ethiopia mixed with a passion for electronic beats fuel the primordial funk of his new outfit, Melt Yourself Down. But despite his protestations, the aural fingerprints of jazz run through his latest musical incarnation. It’s just his six piece group sound determined to play their instruments hard enough to blow away any preconceptions surrounding the genre. Leave your preconceptions behind So why is jazz still a dirty word? The genre certainly has its stereotypes – jazz club host Louis Balfour from the BBC’s Fast Show and his immortal catch phrase ‘nice’ being perhaps the most famous. Naysayers may also argue that to the casual listener jazz seems old fashioned and elitist. Arun Ghosh, British Asian clarinetist, composer and participant in the Take Five project developed by jazz producers Serious, says that until a few years ago, the genre was in danger of becoming a ‘period piece’.
apparent on his fourth album Fletcher Moss Park, where his music blends the sounds of The Cinematic Orchestra and Alice Coltrane to beautiful effect. ‘For our generation to really get on board with jazz, it has to be influenced by the music we’ve grown up on and not just regurgitate the sounds of the past,’ he enthuses. ‘At the same time, we don’t want to lose the sense of the history. The best new jazz musicians are taking elements from all kinds of music and turning them into something both modern and fresh.’ Saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is an artist doing much to mix the past with the future and push jazz forward into new sonic territories. His latest record, The Legend Of Mike Smith, is an ambitious double album which tells the story of an MC possessed by each of the seven deadly sins. ‘Fusing jazz and hip-hop was a natural way of making music for me. These are the sounds which really switched me on to creativity as a teenager. I copied all the John Coltrane records from the library onto cassette. The Pharcyde, De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest used to sample jazz records - their hip-hop music has resonances of jazz in it,’ he says. Like Matt, he says that artists need to not only balance their musical influences, but also remain true to themselves. ‘We’re at a point where musicians should play the music as they see fit and not worry about embellishing their own sound with something hip and trendy,’ he believes. ‘People respond to integrity and passion in music rather than the style or box it ticks.’
‘It started moving towards becoming a classical kind of music which is very much at odds with how people first saw jazz. It’s a music representative of freedom and rebellion.’ However, a new generation of artists are doing their best to overhaul these perceptions. Arun is one of these musicians urging audiences to look past any out-dated preconceptions and lend their ears to the glut of energetic and forward thinking music being made. He looks to dub, reggae and more traditional Indian artists for inspiration. ‘All manner of musicians and bands are creating their own sounds within the wider jazz genre, whether they’re using electronics, acoustic forms, re-working standards or improvising. You’ve got a huge explosion of new musicians playing all this different, exciting stuff,’ he explains. Don’t forget jazz history Mancunian trumpeter Matt Halsall agrees that for jazz to remain relevant, it needs to evolve. But, just as importantly, not lose sight of what gave it its appeal in the first place. He looks to British experimental labels such as Ninja Tune and Warp as well as traditional jazz artists like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie for his musical stimulation. It’s a sound most M48_JUNE 2013_19
You can’t put your finger on it. The music is fluid and never stays still.
Above: Arun Ghosh Below: Kit Downes playing as part of trio Troyka
Albums are still relevant Kit Downes is a jazz pianist who stayed true to his craft and found the media glare swinging in his direction back in 2010. His Kit Downes Trio was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize that year for the Golden album. He found it a challenge to act as a spokesperson for a genre which encompasses so many different sounds.
They do have an economic importance. But they also help you improve your musical craft.’
‘Jazz incorporates much more in terms of styles than any other genre represented in the Mercury Music Prize. But that is its strength. You can’t put your finger on it. The music is fluid and never stays still,’ he explains.
‘We had an amazing array of European artists from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany as well as from the UK. Despite challenges for venues in the current economic climate there are still a large number of great jazz performers coming through. We work closely with venues both here and in Europe to nurture and develop this new talent.’
Having an album nominated for such an accolade must have been a pivotal point in his career and Kit is keen to point out that while album sales are nothing compared with pop acts, these records still have an important role to play in the jazz scene. He says they act as both calling cards for live music and a way for musicians to develop their songwriting skills. His new record Light from Old Stars shows how far he’s come as a writer and musician. The album is a concept record inspired by a chance meeting with NASA astro-biologist Daniella Scalice.
KARL DIXON / TIM DICKESON
‘By virtue of releasing an album, you can sell out your gigs. So it gives you a good way to start touring and you can earn money by playing live shows.
UK live jazz network While jazz albums are a way for these musicians to showcase their sound, the UK’s gig circuit is where they can make this music come alive. And more opportunities for this are appearing. This year sees the launch of the Love Supreme Festival in Sussex, an event billed as the first three-day greenfield jazz festival in the last 20 years. Meanwhile Sage Gateshead recently ran its Jazz Festival across three venues for the ninth year. Ros Rigby, the venue’s Performance Programme Director, says the event was the most popular to date.
While the festivals steal the headlines, there’s a large network of smaller venues doing their bit across the country to bring established and emerging jazz artists to British audiences. The likes of the 100-capacity Vortex in London’s East End, Colston Hall in Bristol and Band on the Wall in Manchester are just some of the venues acting as the glue which binds the nationwide scene together. Todd Willis, Music Programmer at Bristol’s Colston Hall, says: ‘There are a number of promoters and venues around the UK that are talking to each other with the intention of working more closely together and finding ways to further strengthen the live scene and develop audiences. ‘There seems to be jazz festivals popping up everywhere and doing well. The next step is to get those festival audiences supporting artists in the clubs.’
Pictured: Soweto Kinch
Emerging DIY attitudes Clarissa Carlyon, Manager at The Vortex, says that while there are always gigs taking place, the size of audiences can be hard to predict. However, she’s uncovered a DIY attitude among new musicians when it comes to selling their music and their gigs. ‘The younger generation are much more aware of the demands on them to build their own fan base and promote their music,’ she explains. Clarissa also says that there is a lack of funding opportunities for musicians, particularly when compared to Europe. This makes it tougher for performers and promoters to survive in this current economic climate. ‘Many European countries have great funding and public support for the arts. It means musicians can spend a longer amount of time developing and rehearsing their materials for one gig. Over here musicians develop their music material through gigging it.’ Take Five Take Five is an initiative run by Serious, PRS for Music Foundation and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation that helps develop UK jazz artists. Arun, who is part of the project alongside Gateshead-born guitarist Chris Sharkey, says this artist development scheme is aimed at teaching musicians more about the industry. ‘There are two musicians from the five participating countries — the UK, Poland, France, Holland and Norway. We’ve formed a band together and will be going around playing festivals in the different countries. So it’s a great scheme which develops my playing while making me feel part of Europe. Whenever we play there, it’s amazing. Take Five is helping me tap into that scene and making me feel as if I belong there.’ Jazz is alive and kicking With so much happening, it certainly seems like an exciting time for jazz musicians, although Kit Downes believes that the genre has been in good health for some time. ‘In the last 50 years, I can’t think of one period when it hasn’t been doing well. It’s defined by not being mainstream. As a genre, it sits outside of it and that’s its strength,’ he explains. While the UK’s live scene appears to be thriving, more avenues to the music are slowly opening up for audiences. Jamie Cullum’s Radio 2 show, Jazz FM and Resonance are all helping widen the transmission of the sound from performer to audience. The likes of Matt Halsall, Arun, and Kit Downes as well as Go Go Penguin and Led Bib are just some of the artists making brave and defiant new sounds. It’s this bold sense of adventure in the work of these artists which Kit believes ultimately defines the genre. ‘This is the spirit of the music which it was made in when it was first born. When it’s at its best, it flies in the face of all things consumerist and capitalist. I think of jazz as having great integrity. That’s why both musicians and audiences continue to be drawn to it.’
Read extended interviews with many of the jazz artists here Formentioned the extended interviews, and more visit
m-magazine.co.uk m-magazine.co.uk M48_JUNE 2013_21
LEADING ROLE Paul Sexton meets Randy Newman to decipher the songwriting nous of America’s most consistent creator. Randy Newman is musing on what might have happened if people had said no to him a little more often. The winner of this year’s PRS for Music Special International Award at The Ivors has spent four and a half decades delighting audiences with his brilliant juxtaposition of eternal melodies and mordant social observation. The dark sarcasm and devil’s advocacy of his characters have often put him among the most misunderstood of songwritersand by his own measurement, that must mean he’s been doing something right.
ROBB BRADLEY / PIXAR
But then Randy came to prominence during the days of dumbing up, when audiences were credited with the ability to tell when someone was being funny, or caustic, or sincere. He says it wouldn’t be the same if his self-titled debut album was released in 2013, not 1968. ‘I come from a discipline where I have no boss at all, both with my own songs and making records,’ he says. ‘The record company never told me what to do, ever. I know it’s different now, dramatically so. There are A&R departments that artists have to answer to. But no one ever told me anything, I did whatever I wanted.’
Of course, years before his own recording debut, Randy was an established hit writer with such superior pop confections to his name as Gene Pitney’s Just One Look and Nobody Needs Your Love, Cilla Black’s I’ve Been Wrong Before and Alan Price’s version of Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear. His own first album included I Think It’s Going To Rain Today and the second Mama Told Me Not To Come. So if an executive had sat in judgement with a yes or a no in those early years, Randy agrees that it would probably have been no a lot of the time. ‘I’d probably have been really successful,’ he laughs. ‘I might have been Elton John if someone had done that. But no, I wouldn’t have liked it.’ Instead, Randy set sail for an unparalleled career of ten studio albums, various live sets, the musical Faust and an extraordinary inventory of 24 complete feature film scores. Just before he crossed the Atlantic for The Ivors, he completed the latest of those, the soundtrack of Monsters University. That’s Pixar’s prequel to 2001’s Monsters, Inc, the movie that gave Randy his first Oscar for Best Original Song for If I Didn’t Have You, after 15 previous nominations.
Iâ€™d probably have been really successful if an A&R had said no to me. I might have been Elton John... M48_JUNE 2013_23
Then, after his Rock ‘n’ Roll induction, he jammed on that night in Los Angeles with friends such as Tom Petty, John Fogerty and Jackson Browne - ‘they volunteered, it’s hardly a career move’ - and hung out with fellow inductees such as Rush, Heart and Public Enemy, reflecting the catholicism of the event. ‘It’s ridiculous to be rigid about music,’ he says. ‘“Oh, this is rock ‘n’ roll, this isn’t rock ‘n’ roll, we’re not going to let this go in, we’ve got to make sure this drummer is ok and they’re wearing the right stuff”. Because after 1954, and there’s some sort of a backbeat going on somewhere, whether it’s Andy Gibb or Black Flag, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll, more or less.’ No one is more amused than the composer himself to be having a kind of awards mini-season of his own. ‘It’s like I died, and it’s a memorial season for me,’ he says. ‘It’s not exactly like I’ve done anything recently!’ Apart from write the score of another major Hollywood release, that is, and complete a new song of his own, I’m Dreaming, released as a free download before the last US election. It was the latest reminder of his ability to adopt a character and express an unpalatable opinion that many others are thinking - in this case, those that were dreaming, last autumn, of a white President. Watch our video interview with Randy at The Ivors
‘I’ve written a couple of songs like that recently. A Few Words in Defence of Our Country [from 2008’s Harps and Angels] was about the Bush administration, which I just thought was a real anomaly. The Obama thing, I thought someone needed to say it in some kind of way, real loud, that a lot of people just wanted a regular old white man.
Above: Randy Newman with Peter Gabriel at the 2013 Ivor Novello Awards
The new picture — ‘they go away to college to become scary,’ as Randy describes it — has been the labour of love that his film work always is. ‘You can’t do anything until you see it,’ he explains of the process. ‘You can have plans, and think, “I’m going to do this, I know how to do this picture,” but then you see it, and everything may go out the window. ‘It’s entirely dependent on what’s on the screen. You don’t want to grandstand in any sense. It’s good for the ego. In the movie business, you have bosses, and you have temp tracks, music they’ve already written for it, to cut to. It’s a little different, it’s hard to get used to it. ‘When I see the movie, the full colour isn’t there yet. It’s always a bit of a surprise how fantastic these things end up looking. The amazing thing about them, in a lot of ways, is what these artists do in the background, the way they’ll draw 150 monsters just walking by in the background, it’s unbelievable. ‘Composers have to work hard on movie music, but animators, they do too. There’s things in the movie business you can kind of fake, there’s some who can mail their jobs in but boy, those guys can’t.’
Randy’s Ivors recognition came just after he was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, an accolade that many would say was almost offensively overdue. ‘Twenty-five years ago, I would get nominated for a few years, then I thought I might get in,’ he says without rancor. ‘And then I didn’t think about it.’ When he picked up his Ivors accolade in London last month, he looked overwhelmed. ‘It’s amazing to be in same room as Ray Davies and Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie… Winning this award is a great honour; I’m touched,’ he told the audience.
‘They couldn’t exactly say it, but they were doing everything but say it. So I said it, as I’ve done before. But it’s a song that will go away, it’s not like Political Science, which will always be valid, unfortunately, or Rednecks.’ Political Science, from 1972’s Sail Away, was an early opportunity for Randy to be widely misunderstood, with its motif about ‘dropping the big one and see what happens.’ There were undoubtedly many right-wing political extremists who thought he really was advocating nuclear war, probably the same people who thought he was later denigrating short people. Old Lucifer has rarely had such an articulate advocate. ‘I’ve written about things that make me angry,’ he says, observing how his own role has evolved. ‘It’s funny, I think you have to be age-appropriate, in a way. With the last two records I made even they’re a long time ago now — Harps and Angels and Bad Love, I was satisfied that they were age-appropriate. It sounds boring, but if you’re going to be the artist you’ve got to think of yourself as separate from the writer. ‘I know Jagger can do Brown Sugar, or maybe even write [new] stuff like that, but were I he, I couldn’t countenance myself doing it. “I’m going to ball all night long,” I wouldn’t do it - it’s the wrong thing for a 70-year-old. He’s one out of a billion, you know. Him and Steven Tyler.’ As he sets about planning a new studio album of his own, Randy is keen to avoid sinking into indifference about modern creativity. ‘A lot of people think music was better in the seventies, and there are so many people on the road from then. I don’t know that it was better. You’ve got to watch out for the “old crock” effect in yourself, where you think you’re getting old and there’s nothing today, because it’s not true.’
It’s like I died and they’re having a memorial season for me Despite being keenly aware of the controversial issues surrounding composer and performer remuneration, he’s also a Spotify enthusiast. ‘It’s unbelievable what you can get,’ he says. ‘You can hear a new conductor do Brahms’ Fourth, then you can hear another one in 1938 do it. Bessie Smith, everything she ever did, every Fats Domino thing you ever heard. What are you going to do, say no to that?’ ‘I feel guilty, and I also feel that we’re sort of getting robbed, but it’s really hard to resist. Kids are growing up with the belief that music is sort of free, and it shouldn’t be, of course. I hope they figure out a way to monetise it to some extent, but it’s hard to go back.’
As for the minority among those kids that will have aspirations to follow the unmapped career path that Randy figured out, he sometimes issues the most gentle of advice. ‘You don’t have to tell them to show up every day, which is what I have to tell myself, because they do anyway. It’s to keep an open mind, don’t hate this kind of music or that kind of music. I tell them to hang in there.’
Whether you are just receiving your first royalty cheque or you’ve been writing music for years, BASCA can support your career! We are the UK’s independent association representing music writers in all genres, from songwriting, through to media, contemporary classical and jazz. Our members include Sir Paul McCartney, Dizzee Rascal, Michael Nyman, Gary Barlow, David Arnold, Sir Elton John, Imogen Heap, Howard Goodall, John Powell, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Kate Bush, Chris Martin, and many more.
BASCA campaigns in the UK, Europe and throughout the world on behalf of all members. BASCA member events offer access to industry professionals and an invaluable opportunity to network with contemporaries. Held within the members’ section of the BASCA website, professional resources available include advice sheets, sample contracts and agreements. The professional services BASCA offers include an online collaboration service, a legal service, tax helpline and a digital record label.
www.basca.org.uk M48_JUNE 2013_25
Main image: Justin Hayward
MARCUS WAY CREDIT
Songwriting is so much a part of me that my life would be bereft without it
Justin Hayward talks to Anita Awbi about his journey from playing Bo Diddley covers in fifties Swindon to penning international hits for The Moody Blues. ‘Songwriting is like having a secret room in your house that only
It wasn’t until Justin heard Buddy Holly around the age of
prepares to collect his third Ivor Novello Award, this time for his outstanding achievement in British music. ‘Songwriting is so much a part of me that my life would be bereft without it. If I didn’t have the music to represent me, I wouldn’t be a complete person.’
in the local record shop. Unfortunately Justin had to make do with a four shillings ukulele until he proved to his parents that he was serious about the guitar.
nine thatStandfirst his passion for music really came into focus. He you can enter. It’s arisus world of imagination that’s like a drug to me,’ ultric Standfirst nunc, cursus vitae couldn’t afford to buy the records, but he was deeply moved confesses Justin Hayward, singer songwriter and lead guitarist with nunc, vitae by the pictures he’d seen of the bespectacled American rocker legendary band Therisus Moody Blues. He’s in cursus a reflective mood as he ultric
Justin is referring to a vast body of work which spans six decades and has spawned huge international hits including Nights in White Satin and Fly Me High for The Moody Blues and Forever Autumn for Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Together with The Moody Blues, Justin has sold more than 70 million albums and has been awarded more than a dozen platinum and gold discs. He knows the trade better than most, having cut his teeth as a session musician and in covers bands during the early sixties, before moving to London to hook up with the musicians that would take his career to the world stage. ‘I think a really great song is one that you can put yourself in as a listener,’ he says. ‘You have to want to say the words the songwriter is saying. I’ve always believed that the listener brings more to a song than the writer puts into it. Because, when you break down a song into its component parts, the lyrics often appear scant, or meaningless. But, when you listen to those words in the context of a particular melody, their meaning comes to life.’ Justin’s selftaught understanding of the songwriting craft has helped him forge a lasting career that keeps him recording and touring to this day. Born in Swindon, Wiltshire, in 1946, Justin developed an early interest in music through listening to his mother playing parlour piano and joining in with hymns at church. He learned the piano himself aged five, ‘wrapping his little fingers around a few chords’ but never really took to the mathematics of music, he admits. Still to this day, Justin can’t read music at speed and doesn’t write out the notes to his own melodies.
Justin’s formative years coincided with a breakdown in the traditional notions of popular music in Britain, when teenagers were new and rock ‘n’ roll was at the cutting edge. Throughout the fifties and very early sixties, British youngsters were tapping into the latest trans-Atlantic seven-inches, desperately trying to emulate the Yankee twang in bedrooms around the UK. Testament to its power, the first wave of British rock ‘n’ roll went on to form the bedrock of pop music and its leaders, including Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde, influenced a generation of songwriters, including Justin. Like many of his contemporaries, Justin started out playing guitar in youth clubs and pubs around his sleepy hometown, emulating the sound of fifties’ America. By the end of the decade he’d formed a covers group called The Woodpeckers and within three years had turned semi-professional, playing regular gigs and picking up session work. But it wasn’t until 1965, when Justin answered an advert in the back of music paper Melody Maker that he had his first stroke of luck. ‘When I was 17 I saw the advert and went to a house in east London where Marty Wilde opened the door,’ Justin recalls. ‘I auditioned for Marty as his guitar player and spent the next 18 months with him and Joyce. We went round the world working hard and were almost exclusively on the road. It was a baptism of fire. Marty was writing and he’d had some success. I learnt so much from him, I owe everything to Marty.’
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Justin recorded two singles with The Wilde Three before branching out on his own. The times were changing and British pop music was starting to come into its own. The Beatles had taken America, while the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Yardbirds and Dave Clark Five were bending traditional American rock ‘n’ roll in an entirely different direction. Justin responded by writing his own songs. ‘I did it to try to form an identity for myself,’ he explains. ‘I knew from all the cover groups I had been in or supported in Swindon that it was the people who had established their own identity that were going to make it. Not the cover bands who were copying Bo Diddley. It was crucial. After Marty, I just started doing my own material. And because of that I had another huge slice of luck — I joined the Moodies.’ In the summer of 1966 Justin answered another Melody Maker advert, this time placed by Eric Burdon of The Animals. Eric heard Justin’s songs and passed them straight on to Mike Pinder of The Moody Blues, thus triggering a 40-year career with the group. Justin’s first song for the band was Fly Me High, quickly followed by Nights in White Satin.
Justin recalls: ‘I was sitting on the bed in a Bayswater bedsit. Mike had written a lovely song called Dawn is a Feeling and he’d asked me to sing it. I was very flattered. I wanted to write a counterpoint to that. I was at the end of one big love affair and at the beginning of a new one. For someone who was 20 years old, this was huge. I started off by writing the basic words for Nights in White Satin. It was a series of random thoughts — an odd structure for a song, but there is a lot of truth in it.’
Above: The Moody Blues Below: Justin Hayward with Marty Wilde at the 2013 Ivor Novello Awards
He took the song down to the rehearsal studio but the rest of the band didn’t seem too keen until Mike picked up the mellotron he’d been messing around with and came up with the strong orchestral line in the verses. Suddenly everyone got into it. The first recording they did of it was for a BBC radio session, and Justin remembers: ‘It came on the radio when we were in our transit van on the way to a gig. We pulled the van over onto the side of the road and we were startled because we heard something in it. But nobody else did at the time to be honest. We encountered a lot of resistance to that song because singles were supposed to be less than three minutes long and up-tempo.’ Nights in White Satin went on to become the band’s biggest hit at home and across the world and is the most requested song at their gigs to this day. Since the band’s first album with Justin in the line-up – 1967’s Days of Futures Passed – The Moody Blues have gone on to release 14 successive studio albums and are still regularly touring the world. Justin has written several successful solo albums, collaborated with 10cc and joined Jeff Wayne for his ongoing War of the Worlds concept.
MARK ALLEN / GETTY
Reminiscing on the early days, Justin says: ‘We were fortunate enough to find ourselves right in the centre of sixties London, when it was really happening. We were part of a small set of musicians; there were only a few hundred people and you knew them all. We were very privileged to be part of that. The Beatles were the unchallenged leaders of that community and they showed us all the way, they opened the door for everyone else. ‘Looking back now it was brilliant; stoned and crazy and sleeping on people’s floors with no worries. It was amazing. Everyone was listening to what young people had to say. It was very curious; I’ve never seen that since. In fact, I listen to the early songs from the Moodies, and I think, “How on earth did we do that? Where the hell did it come from?” I can’t really grasp the person that did that stuff anymore.’
Watch our video interview with Justin from The Ivors
i wrote that
NIK COLK VOID
The Charlatans were one of Britpop’s most popular acts but in 1996 the group’s keyboard player Rob Collins tragically died in a car crash while they were recording their fifth album Tellin’ Stories. Front man Tim Burgess talks through their comeback single One to Another and how the band found the strength to carry on…
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We’d enjoyed really great success with The Charlatans. It was our self-titled fourth album and went to the top of the charts. We were feeling on top of the world and went straight back into the studio to start working on new material. We always worked like that and the first signs were the songs One to Another, North Country Boy and How High, which went on to be singles. One to Another was based around a riff that Rob Collins came up with. For me, it felt like a follow up to [the band’s 1992 hit] Weirdo with the riff being the most important part. We went to a rehearsal studio near Stone just outside Stoke on Trent where Rob relentlessly played it to me, Martin and Jon. Rob liked to play things over and over until it got to breaking point and you’d just have to say, ‘Fucking shut up!’ Then Mark [Collins, guitarist] came up with this Beatlesy twist on it which allowed me to sing the actual verses. It’s pretty intense. At that time, we’d been working with the Chemical Brothers on and off. I met them through Heavenly, the PR and record company who ran a club night in London. Tom and Ed had a residency down there. On the first night I ran up to them to tell them how much I loved their set.
We knew we were gonna carry on for Rob, but the whole of Knebworth was behind us.
So when we were recording Tellin’ Stories we asked them if they’d get involved and One to Another was the first idea we sent them. It was a complete collaboration. Tom visited the studio in Rockfield and came up with the ticking clock and psychedelic rumblings you can hear. They took the track away with them and sent us a final mix. We dismantled that and built it back up again and sent it back. There were a few disagreements but we eventually settled on a final version. While we were recording, we’d been booked to play Knebworth where Noel Gallagher had the idea of bringing together all of the important or notable bands of the time; Oasis, Prodigy, Ocean Colour Scene, Chemical Brothers and us. But after what happened to Rob, we cancelled. Then Jeff Barrett from Heavenly, our PR, rang and said we had to do Knebworth. I replied: ‘We can’t because, I don’t know whether you’ve heard, but our keyboard player has died.’ I was being an arsehole.
We arrived by helicopter and I remember getting out and all these journalists came running up to us with cameras and mikes – it was so weird. They said: ‘Tim, Tim, so sorry about the tragedy, so who are you most looking forward to seeing today?’ I just said: ‘Us’. I meant in the way it could have been a total train wreck. We’d been practicing but emotionally we’d been on the edge. We’d given ourselves the opportunity to play in front of 125,000 people and either move on or crumble on the spot. But something otherworldly happened and we were the best band of the day. That gig cemented the resolve to carry on and finish the album. For the longest time, we were gonna carry on for Rob or for Rob’s family, but the whole of Knebworth was behind us. Liam dedicated Live Forever and Cast No Shadow to Rob, people were crying, laughing. It was just incredible really.
He said: ‘Look, you know it’s impossible but there’s a possibility.’ Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie put their keyboard player Martin Duffy forward as they really wanted to help us do it. This was two days after Rob had died. After the call I spoke to the band and reiterated what Jeff had said. The group agreed and we just fucking did it. Right up until the gig, I don’t know whether any of us knew what was really happening, but we knew that we wanted to play out of our skins. Then on the morning of Knebworth none of us wanted to play. Everyone was petrified. But our manager had a mental idea that we arrive by helicopter. It was ostensibly because the queues were so big but he told us later that it was about geeing us up.
One to Another Written by: Tim Burgess, Mark Collins, Jon Brookes, Martin Blunt, Rob Collins UK publishers: Warner Chappell Music m48_june 2013_31
sound effect the first music i remember hearing was… Two singles my elder brother Piers came home with; Itchycoo Park by The Small Faces and We Love You by The Rolling Stones. I was bowled over by them both. It was the weirdness of the sounds and the lyrics; a window into an adult world that was scary and alluring.
the first record i ever bought was… Gorilla by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. What a bizarre first record to buy. It was all pastiches and piss-takes. I played it into the ground. I knew all the lyrics off by heart.
the last great record i listened to was…
Composer Orlando Gough has built his career around a taste for the unconventional. The former maths teacher has crafted music for battleships, choirs, TV operas, theatre productions, ballet and, most recently, a foghorn requiem for a lighthouse. With an inclination towards broad crosscollaboration, Orlando has pushed his musical comfort zones into a wide spectrum of styles. In 1998 he co-founded multi-genre collective The Shout and is currently an associate artist of the Royal Opera House.
Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective. It all came together for them on this album; great tunes, wonderful hooks, interesting lyrics, brilliantly subtle arrangements. The combination of electronic and acoustic sound is deeply exciting. Also, Vigilia by Einojuhani Rautavaara. This is an absolutely ravishing a cappella choral piece by the wonderful Finnish composer.
favourite albums My People. I have always been a fan of Weather Report, but for me Zawinul was even better afterwards. Orient Express is an irresistible groove. I played it so loudly at my 50th birthday party that the speakers blew.
the song that makes me cry is… Blackbird (see left). Also, When I Am Laid In Earth, the great aria from Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. It’s apparently simple, floating on a chromatic ground bass, unbearably affecting. Then there’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, a heartbreaking piece of music by Claudio Monteverdi.
the song that i know all the words to is… My brothers are much better at remembering lyrics than me. They can launch into obscure songs from the sixties and not stumble over a single word. The one I’m very good at is Fairport Convention’s version of Matty Groves. It’s got about twenty verses and I’m fluent in all of them.
the song i wish i’d written is…
the song i want played at my funeral is…
Blackbird by Paul McCartney. I’m not a diehard Macca fan but this is fabulous. The lyrics are heartbreaking (my son Milo read them at my father’s funeral) and are perfectly realised in the music. And then there’s the Cinq Rechants of Olivier Messaien which is, as far as I know, his only a cappella choral piece. I’ve written a lot of choral music in the last 20 years and none of it is a patch on this.
I’d like to be floated out to sea on a longboat which has been set fire to, while Fanfare Ciorcalia play raucous brass arrangements taken from their wonderful album Iag Bari. There will no doubt be some health and safety issues, but whoever’s organising it will just have deal with them...
the song that makes me want to dance is… Orient Express by Joe Zawinul. It’s from one of my
Go online for the full interview and playlist
sixty seconds Ben Watt has been in the industry for more than 30 years, working as a songwriter, producer, DJ and independent label boss. He is best known as one half of electronic pop duo Everything But The Girl but he’s also an acclaimed writer and currently hosts a radio show on BBC 6 Music. What songs do you first remember hearing? My father was a jazz musician and my first musical memory is of the cuckoo clock on Dizzy Gillespie’s Serenade for a Cuckoo. I can also picture my dad planting his hand on the piano in different shapes and lovely new sounds appearing. I bought Wings’ My Love as one of my first singles because I loved the chords. Same goes for Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly. Did you learn an instrument? I learnt a lot by ear and from watching my dad at the piano. We tangled a bit when he tried to show me things - classic father/ son stuff - but I picked up lots from him. I played a bit of classical piano and learnt the flute up to Grade 5, but was bored by most of it. I just wanted to write songs. How did you make the transition from listener to music maker? The first two were never separate in my mind. If I heard something I liked, I immediately went to an instrument to try and work out how it was done. DJing came much later. I had never considered it until Howie B once looked at my record collection and asked when I was next spinning. It must have been 1995. I laughed and said I wasn’t a DJ. Plus I was 32. He told me to think about it. And that was it. I suddenly saw how interesting it could be to get emotional responses out of people by stringing together pre-recorded pieces of music. With the demise
I worry that streaming - the great new hope for the rock and pop industry - has no real place for dance music, which leaves a huge question mark hanging over the survival of many great, mid-sized dance labels. of Everything But The Girl around 2000, as Tracey Thorn settled down to raise our first kids, I turned to DJing as a way to vary my musical path. Do you differentiate between songwriting and electronic music? Songwriting and electronic music are not mutually exclusive. There have been many writers/producers who have successfully blended the two since the advent of commercial synths in the seventies. I started writing and recording songs as early as 1981. I collaborated with Robert Wyatt on one of my earliest EPs as a precocious 19-year-old and continued to write with Tracey in Everything But The Girl for the next 20 years. I began to take a keen interest in electronic music aimed at the dancefloor in the mid-nineties. I latched onto drum ‘n’ bass early on and went to Speed to listen to Doc Scott and Fabio. Your record label Buzzin’ Fly recently announced its retirement. What prompted you to set up the label? I always knew I wanted to start a label. I loved the indie label explosion of the late seventies and early eighties, especially the labels
where artwork and music combined like Factory Records. Jazz has a history of great sleeves too. Buzzin’ Fly was launched in 2003. My hand was forced. I had made a white label for club play only. I was a DJ at Lazy Dog at the time and the next thing I knew it had been bootlegged and was on sale in New York. I was of a mind to get control back and put it out myself and that was how Buzzin’ Fly was born. The track was Lone Cat. Why retire the label now? Ten years felt like a milestone. And in reality, there are only so many hours in each day. I had been running out of time for my own projects: a book I am completing; another I want to write; a solo music project I want to embark on. Both DJing and running a label are full time jobs. Something had to give. I felt I owed it to myself to concentrate on other work. How has the industry changed since you started out? There is a still a path to success but competition is ridiculously fierce. On one hand, the barriers to creating and distributing music have come down so there is a vast amount of music out there to compete with. On the other, the revenue streams
are constantly doing battle with free content. You need to be very dedicated to survive let alone thrive. I worry that streaming - the great new hope for the rock and pop industry - has no real place for dance music, which leaves a huge question mark hanging over the survival of many great, mid-sized dance labels. The current picture seems to suit either hobbyists or big aggregators who don’t mind putting out lots of digital compilations and paying an army of accountants. Where do you continue to find musical inspiration? I have not DJ’d professionally in clubs for some time. The late nights and travelling take their toll and I didn’t want to fake it. But I still enjoy creating sets for my residency on BBC 6 Music. Songs come when you least expect them. I don’t sit down as a nineto-five writer. I try and react when the inspiration arrives - a phrase someone says, a story you read. Same old triggers. It gets harder to impress yourself but I keep going back to it. To read the full interview with Ben go online:
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Dr. Robert, singer-songwriter with eighties new wave act The Blow Monkeys, remembers performing on stage with the legendary Curtis Mayfield. Do you have a musical memory and photo you'd like to share? Email magazine@ prsformusic.com
Read our interview with Dr. Robert at m-magazine.co.uk
This picture was taken at the Hammersmith Odeon in October 1987. We played two nights there as part of a sell-out UK tour. Curtis Mayfield was a big hero of mine so it was a great honour to be on stage with him. In fact, it was the most magical gig we have ever played. I really love singing with other people and I love the thrill of collaboration, so this was a dream come true.
A few months beforehand we had been lucky enough to make a record with Curtis called Celebrate (The Day After You) and that’s how the opportunity to perform live with him came about. Unfortunately the song was banned by the BBC because of its so-called political bias. The then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had called a general election for the week of its release and the BBC decided it was too hot to play! She was a controversial Prime Minister so the political climate was tense. But Curtis told me he was used to being censored. He’d previously had records like We're a Winner and Choice of Colours blacklisted due to civil rights issues. 34_june 2013_m48
This particular concert also featured Ed Kuepper as support act. I don't know what our fans made of him but his band, The Laughing Clowns, were a massive influence on early Blow Monkeys. He was also a founder member of The Saints — the first band I ever saw when I lived in Australia during my teens. Brian Bethell is also featured in this photo, playing guitar in the background. He is a member of the R&B group Nine Below Zero. I met him way back in Australia when I was a teenager. He was the first ‘proper’ musician I had ever known and he inspired me to start playing the guitar. He remains a close friend to this day. The picture was taken by Michele Siedner who is now the band's manager and my lovely wife. I’ve known her since I was 19 and she’s my biggest music critic and fan! I can tell whether a song works or not just by playing it to her. All in all, this picture is pretty emotive for many reasons and I look back on the gig — and the era — with extremely fond memories.
Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Robert Howard, aka Dr Robert, formed The Blow Monkeys in 1981 with bassist Mick Anker, saxophonist Neville Henry and drummer Tony Kiley. Combining the glamour of Roxy Music with the energy of post-punk and the sophistication of modern jazz, the band quickly built a cult following. Their first single Live Today Love Tomorrow was released in 1982 while debut album Limping For A Generation was released two years later. The band went on to build a successful commercial career with several hit singles including the breakthrough track Digging Your Scene. They split in 1990 and Dr Robert went solo. He contributed to Paul Weller's solo debut album and co-wrote material with Dee C Lee and Beth Orton among others. The Blow Monkeys are now reunited and released their latest studio album Feels Like a New Morning in April.
“How I Got My Music Licensed 1,205 Times” Barry French – TAXI Member – BigBlueBarry.com
I took some time off from music,
then my grandfather passed away and I re-evaluated what I was doing with my life. I felt the “call” of music, so I started writing again, decided to get serious about my music career, and joined TAXI in 2008.
Honestly, I Was Skeptical at First…
I did some research. I lurked on TAXI’s Forums, and found that TAXI’s successful members were real people just like me. Though I’d co-written with an Indie artist, and charted at #15 on the Radio & Records Christian Rock charts, I was clueless how to even get a film or TV placement— a complete newbie! But TAXI’s Industry Listings gave me goals to shoot for and helped me stay on task. I became more productive and motivated to get things done because I didn't want to feel like I "missed out" on an opportunity.
How to Build The Right Catalog
If you want to create music for art’s sake, then by all means, go ahead and do that. But, if you want to have a music career, why not use TAXI to learn how build the right catalog full of music the industry actually needs?
Expand Your Possibilities…
TAXI can help you learn to write for genres you never thought you could do. I used to do mostly Hard Rock and Metal. Because of TAXI, I branched out into other genres— first Pop/Punk, and then Tension and "Dramedy" cues. I used the feedback from TAXI’s A&R staff to improve my work. In many cases, my tracks improved to the point that they got signed and ultimately placed in TV shows!
350 Placements in the Last Year!
The first placement I ever had resulted from meeting a Music Library owner at the Road Rally— TAXI’s free convention. In a little more than 3 years, my music has been licensed more than 1000 times, with nearly 350 placements in the past year alone!
A “Lucky Duck?”
My 1,000th placement was a Southern Rock track on A&E's hit show, Duck Dynasty. A TAXI connection resulted in me becoming a "go to" composer for a company that provides music directly to that series. How cool is that?! TAXI’s Listings, community, convention, and networking opportunities have helped my career immensely. The ONLY regret I have about joining TAXI is that I didn't sign up sooner! If you’re willing to invest in yourself, call TAXI and let them help you too.
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