Members Music Magazine Issue 56 June 2015
BOY Pop chameleon
Music-making outside the box
the digital battle
MADE IN THE UK
PRODUCER PORTFOLIO 5 NEW PRODUCTS ALREADY ADDED IN 2015...
...TO THIS EVER EXPANDING RANGE OF INSPIRING AND ORIGINAL PRODUCER TOOLS
SCA W W W. S P I T F I R E A U D I O . C O M
MEMO Hello and welcome to your latest M. We hope it finds you in fine fettle. This time around you’ll find us reeling from the 60th Ivor Novello Awards, which gathered together the great and good of British songwriting for a day of celebration. From our eccentric cover star Boy George to the classy songwriting talents of Paul Williams and Albert Hammond, we shine a light on some of the ceremony’s biggest winners to learn their creative secrets. Later, we chat to a diverse clutch of ground breaking songwriters, artists and producers who are rediscovering a love of music hardware. Stepping out from behind their laptops, they are challenging modern music-making convention and taking a leap into the unknown with exciting new gear that’s fit for the 21st century. Our business news pages focus on the digital music revolution. As the streaming debate continues to rage, we take a look at some of the issues that matter
18 boy george
Still out and still proud
most to songwriters and composers, and ask what the future holds for the wider industry.
22 new analogue age Stepping out from behind the laptop
Robert Ashcroft Chief Executive PRS for Music shares his thoughts on the fast-evolving digital landscape and explains some of the steps being taken to help protect your rights and royalties online. We close with some wise words from kooky Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker. In May, the band unveiled a PRS for Music Heritage Plaque at the Sheffield Leadmill – the site of their first gig back in 1980. In our Picture This slot, Jarvis casts his mind back to that fateful day and reveals what first got him hooked on live performance. We hope you enjoy your read. As usual, our door is always open to members with an interesting story or those who would like to give us some feedback. You know where to find us…
26 paul williams A touch of class 22
REGULARS 5 members and music
8 money and business 31 i wrote that 33 60 seconds 34 picture this 33
Tweet @M_magazinePRS Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Visit m-magazine.co.uk Find us on Instagram @M_magazinePRS
Editor Paul Nichols
Production & Design Carl English
Associate Editor Anita Awbi Staff Writer Jim Ottewill
Membership Advisor Myles Keller there's more! scan this code whenever you find it for exclusive content, extended interviews and much more...
12 the digital battle
cover: boy george
CONTRIBUTORS Emma Anderson, Naomi Belshaw, Olivia Chapman, Andy Ellis, Eileen Fitches, Andy Hind, Liam McMahon, Ben McEwen, Alex Sharman, Debbie Stones, Oliver Tuercke.
PRS for Music, 2 Pancras Square. London N1C 4AG T 020 7580 5544 E email@example.com 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 2015. 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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win a place at uk songwriting festival The prestigious UK Songwriting Festival is putting on its tenth annual course, and to celebrate, organisers are offering one lucky M magazine reader a free place. With a usual price tag of £1,280, the festival is a five-day residential songwriting course held from 15 to 20 August 2015 at Bath Spa University. Students live on-site at the picturesque Newton Park Campus, an 18th-century landscaped garden in the Somerset countryside. They work on their songs with tutors during the day and perform the newly written songs at open mic and live band nights. Folk-pop singer and songwriter Boo Hewerdine, Kim Richey, Andy White, Julianne Regan and Jez Ashurst are among this year’s judges.
interview: martyn joseph Over his 30 plus year career, Welsh singer songwriter Martyn Joseph has earned comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer but, like many of the greats, he ultimately sounds like no one but himself. Via 32 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live shows, Martyn has built a reputation as a truthteller and an engaging performer who puts plenty of emotional grit into his lyrics and melodies. His list of accolades and achievements are long – Martyn was awarded Best Male Artist at the 2004 BBC Welsh Music Awards and,
in 2012, his song There’s Always Maybe won the Best Folk Song category in the World Independent Music Awards. In addition to numerous UK hits, he’s also set up the Let Yourself Trust, an initiative which funds humanitarian projects in the UK and beyond.
A special guest, yet to be announced, will also join the students for part of the course. In the past this has been Ultravox frontman and Band Aid founder Midge Ure, Fairground Attraction’s Eddie Reader and singer-songwriter of Cool for Cats fame, Squeeze’s Chris Difford.
We caught up with Martyn to find out about the man, his music and his passion for challenging injustice. Read the full interview online now at m-magazine.co.uk/interviews
To learn more about the competition and how to enter, visit m-magazine.co.uk/competitions. Deadline for entries is 30 June 2015.
session: jay prince Jay Prince is not your typical East London rapper. With a laidback and loose flow, he’s bridging the Atlantic and bringing back some of the best bits of the late eighties’ sunshine rap heyday. Jay’s sound combines dusty old samples and nostalgic Casio keyboard melodies with lithe lyrics and the odd R&B hook thrown in for good measure. His last EP, the generous nine-track minialbum BeFor Our Time, showcases a rapper at the top of his game, bursting with new ideas
and musical avenues to travel down. From the sample-heavy opener Yoko, with its decayed synths and gentle clicks, to the silky soul of 1993, featuring Richie Saps, it’s a rich and varied introduction to Jay’s many talents. We were lucky enough to catch him live at the PRS for Music Foundation’s showcase down at The Great Escape. Watch him perform instant classic 1993 over on M online now: m-magazine.co.uk/watch
sign up for information about becoming a member visit prsformusic.com/joinus
Teenage singer songwriter Jordan Cardy is Rat Boy, and despite his moniker, he doesn’t live down a drain or own a greasy, pink tail. Instead, tall tales are this 19-year-old Essex newcomer’s thing, all pulled through a filter of youthful exuberance and lo-fi love for a Tribe Called Quest, skateboards and art. Coming on like The Streets’ Mike Skinner and the Beastie Boys necking White Lightning at a Chelmsford bus stop, Jordan’s songs pack in plenty of musical and lyrical chaos, charting the highs and lows of his teenage existence.
pinkshinyultrablast Five-piece noise makers Pinkshinyultrablast’s singular name takes over your mouth in the same way their music, an artful cacophony of distortion, soaring pop and krautrock rhythms, opens up your mind. Raised in Russia, this St Petersburg outfit use the blissed out, feedback-fuelled guitars of British shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Cocteau Twins as a launch pad for their musical skyscraping. Seven years in the making, 2015 debut album Everything Else Matters sees the outfit aiming even higher with female vocalist Lyubov floating in orbit above the heavy textures and mechanical invention concocted by her bandmates. Their debut record’s eight songs, including the ace Holy Forest and album opener Wish We Were, are certainly in step with the 2015 return of original dreamers Slowdive and Ride.
But Pinkshinyultrablast’s blend of harmonies and lovelorn pedals go far further, sucking on influences as far-reaching as Neu! Steve Reich and Sabres of Paradise. Their adoption of early bleep synth signals and motorik grooves alongside Lyubov's hazy melodic lines propel the band into their own aural stratosphere. ‘Imagine the scope of a Caribou record, fronted by Elizabeth Fraser soundtracking a grizzly Raskolnikov crime’ comes straight from the band’s PR blurb but it’s an astute depiction of the group’s character. This international gang of stargazers draw on a shimmering musical past but have their hearts, synthesisers and amplifiers all pointed towards the horizon. Lie back, buckle up and float into space with them.
Debut release Sign On is the perfect way into his music, riotously lamenting post-school life and losing his job at Wetherspoon’s. This scoff at small town frustration, played with a half grimace, half smile on its face, is so well done Rat Boy has landed a deal with Parlophone, plays all over BBC 6 Music, and has a busy festival season ahead. Looks like he didn’t need that job at Wetherspoon’s after all. ratboy.co.uk
Find out about more of our newest members
klaves Twenty-two-year-old Mikolaj Gramowski was born and raised in the Polish city of Pozna and initially immersed himself in the vast record collection of his parents. This influential funnel provided his young ears with a thorough schooling in jazz and classical before morphing into a passion for the late night bump of electronic producers Joy Orbison and Nicolas Jaar. Fast forward to the present day and Mikolaj has turned this love into his own productions, touring with Jaar
as well as becoming the first signing to PMR Beat Club. Its parent label – PMR - is well known as the home of Disclosure, Jessie Ware and Julio Bashmore, and has set the agenda for club and chart music over recent years. Their endorsement of Klaves in releasing last year’s 12-inch People/ Oh No is an indication of the esteem his speaker rattling productions are currently held in. Look out for more upfront club cuts from this nuhouse-whiz across 2015. facebook.com/klavesmusic m56_june 2015_5
members & music
Jimmy Napes, Hozier and Ed Sheeran were among the winners at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards. Taking place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 21 May, the event, presented by BASCA in association with PRS for Music, celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. Disclosure and Sam Smith collaborator Jimmy Napes was one of the big winners, picking up two prizes for his co-write with Clean Bandit’s Jack Patterson, Rather Be. The song received PRS for Music’s Most Performed Work and Best Contemporary Song. Elsewhere Irish singer-songwriter’s Hozier’s Take Me To Church was awared Best Song Musically and Lyrically while Ed Sheeran was named as Songwriter of the Year. Judith Weir CBE, composer and Master of the Queen’s Music, was presented with the Classical Music Award while Band Aid’s Bob Geldof and Midge Ure received The Ivors Special Anniversary Award for their Band Aid charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas? On receiving the award, Bob Geldof was keen to emphasise the power of the song in the fundraising initiative. He said: ‘Seven of the top 10 fastest growing economies on the planet are in Africa where Band Aid operates. None of this happens without the depth of this record industry.’ Other notable recipients included our cover star Boy George who received the PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award. The iconic singer -songwriter was presented with his award by Kylie Minogue, who confessed her first gig was watching eighties hit makers Culture Club.
Watch our exclusive video interviews from The Ivors m-magazine.co.uk
Clockwise from top: Ed Sheeran and Elton John, Bob Geldof, Clean Bandit and Jimmy Napes, Judith Weir
Black Sabbath received the Lifetime Achievement Award while the Manic Street Preachers were presented with The Ivors Inspiration Award.
Below right: Annie Lennox received the 18th BASCA Fellowship at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards.
See m-magazine.co.uk for behind-the-scenes pictures.
musical momentum The Momentum Music Fund is one of PRS for Music Foundation’s flagship initiatives, which has been offering songwriters a vital lifeline since 2013. Testament to its success, acts supported have since garnered Mercury Prize and Ivor Novello Award nominations. We get the inside track from some of the talent who’ve received support…
Stealing Sheep We were able to fully realise our artistic objectives for our second album sonically and visually. The funding also enabled us to collaborate with professionals that have key skills in music video production and art design, which would have otherwise been impossible. This has helped us to develop our band vision, and to make the leap from indie DIY to main stage act. @stealingsheep
Ghostpoet Even though I had limited funds it made me think about the creative process - all these things that the general public don’t really realise… We’ve all got to eat and we’ve all got to continue our art. Any way that is possible, I’m going to try and pursue because I want to make good music for as long as I can. @ghostpoet
LoneLady The impact of the Momentum funding on LoneLady’s album campaign cannot be understated. The funded live events prior to the album release has meant we received good offers for important festivals. We‘ve taken advantage of working with the Barbican on their Station to Station and Crossrail projects, and cemented industry confidence in the artist with favourable live reviews in The Times and The Guardian, plus a nomination for the South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award. Andy Rossiter, manager concrete-retreat.tumblr.com
East India Youth Being nominated for the Mercury Prize is an amazing feeling. That I’ve been able to make my debut album at home without any real prospect of anyone hearing it to now having it displayed on a much wider stage, alongside some other amazing artists is something that will continue to baffle me. It’s not been possible without the help of people who have believed in what I’m doing and the help of resources like the Momentum Music Fund. @eastindiayouth
Supported 68 bands and artists in its first two years
Helped fund 46 albums and more than 50 UK tours
Invested more than £500,000 into artist development
Years and Years The Real video and single was what got us noticed by labels and blogs and the fund allowed us to keep our momentum. We had no other way of supporting ourselves at that point. @yearsandyears
Jaws The last two years have been amazing. As an unsigned band we’ve managed to play in great venues up and down the country, including 1000+ capacity venues in Birmingham and London. We also charted in the Top 75 with our debut album. None of this could have happened without the Momentum Fund; it really helped us out at a crucial time and we used the money in a really positive way to make the band grow into what it is now. @JAWSJAWSJAWSSS
Received over 1,600 applications m56_june 2015_7
money & business online outstrips physical
the big numbers
PRS for Music has published its 2014 financial results, recording a combined royalty income across PRS and MCPS of £664.3m – and a sharp increase in online revenues. The overall increase across all the society’s revenue streams – including International, Public Performance, Television and Radio, Online and Recorded Media – was nearly one percent on a constant currency basis.
The online market contributed £79.7m – an increase of 17.5 percent or £11.9m year-on-year – outstripping for the first time the royalties collected from the declining physical product sector, which was down 21.8 percent to £63.1m. Streaming royalties (£38.8m) also exceeded those of downloads (£26.7m) for the first time, however the society said this transition had resulted in a corresponding increase in the volume of usage data processed, from 136 billion to 250 billion individual usages. Elsewhere, revenues from the licensing of on-demand TV and film services grew strongly in 2014 with new deals established with Netflix, Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation. The popularity of UK songwriters and composers’ repertoires continued across the globe and drove significant export revenue, with £188.2m in royalties collected by PRS for Music from overseas markets. Mumford & Sons, Sam Smith and James Napier, Disclosure, Charli XCX and Ed Sheeran were notable successful global exports in 2014, the society said. Despite the harsh global economic environment – particularly across the Eurozone – it maintained its export position on a constant currency basis to deliver nearly £1m more than 2013.
2014 revenue split % 10% 28%
Public performance Broadcast Online Recorded media 8_june 2015_m56
Revenue from emerging markets grew significantly as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East delivered 37.8 percent growth on 2013. Elsewhere, Asia Pacific, dominated by the developed markets of Australia and Japan, showed growth of 2.2 percent on a constant currency basis. Revenue from the public performance of music rose by £6m to a new high of £168.3m. There were increases across all major tariff areas with the exception of pubs and clubs, which continued to show a decline in the use of music.
Percentage increase in online royalties from 2013 to 2014
PRS for Music also saw growth in the cinema sector following the conclusion of monitoring initiatives and efficiency improvements, which resulted in an 11.5 percent rise. Television and radio continued to provide significant income to PRS for Music members with revenues of £165m, an increase of 2.9 percent on 2013. Commercial radio – driven by a recovery of the advertising market – helped radio revenues grow by 3.3 percent to £49m, while new licences with 25 television channels including Bollywood broadcaster B4U and 13 local TV channels contributed to the growth. Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music Chief Executive (above), said: ‘Despite the impact of a challenging economic backdrop in key international territories, a strong pound and the decline of the physical market, we managed to achieve our budgeted revenues in 2014.
Total number of PRS for Music members
‘We work hard to provide an outstanding service to members with the lowest possible charge to them. Despite the potential disruption of two office moves, a major systems upgrade and a dramatic increase in the volume of music usage to process we managed to contain our costs within budgeted levels while at the same time increasing our distribution frequency to ensure that the money reached our members more swiftly than ever before. Though there remains much more to be done as we modernise PRS for Music’s operations, this was nonetheless a landmark performance in our centenary year.’
Royalties earned for members last year from cruise ships
Number of TV channels licensed by PRS for Music
live review PRS for Music has launched a consultation on the terms of its Popular Music Concerts Tariff (Tariff LP). The tariff is applied to ticketed live popular music events such as concerts and festivals performing songs composed by PRS for Music members. Tariff LP was originally set in 1988 and the headline rate is three percent of gross box office receipts per event. The consultation has received support from industry representative bodies including the Music Publishers Association (MPA) and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). Paul Clements, Commercial Director, PRS for Music, said: ‘The live music sector has changed dramatically since 1988, when the current tariff was set by the UK Copyright Tribunal. The purpose of this consultation process is to engage with our customers and members, to provide an open dialogue in reviewing PRS for Music’s Tariff LP. As a membership organisation, we have an obligation to ensure that our licensing is simple, efficient, fit for purpose – and recognises the valuable contribution our songwriters and publishers make to the live music industry.’ Originally set for June 2015, the deadline for responses is now 30 September 2015. The extension has been granted following the Concert Promoters’ Association’s (CPA) stated interest in conducting its own research into the consultation documentation. The extension will now allow the CPA and other industry groups to respond comprehensively. Songwriters, composers and music publishers are encouraged to participate. For more information and to get involved, visit prsformusic.com/liveconsultation
new board appointments Stephen Davidson and Mark Poole have joined the PRS for Music Board, as members voted in new Directors and reappointed others at the PRS AGM. Davidson, who replaced Peter Bamford on the PRS for Music Executive Board last year, has previously held positions in industry and investment banking. Poole is a chartered accountant with more than 20 years’ experience at Virgin Group, where he held the positions of Group Finance Director and Deputy Chief Executive. Both take over outgoing External Directors Estelle Morris and Wanda Goldwag. Reappointments included Publisher Directors Simon Platz of Bucks Music Group and John Minch of Imagem, and Writer Directors Crispin Hunt, Mick Leeson and Edward Gregson.
create and innovate The licensing of streaming services is as innovative as the technology that drives the platforms themselves, said Ben McEwen, PRS for Music’s Head of Online. Speaking on the How Music Services Are Licensed panel at The Great Escape, McEwen said he is seeing new initiatives springing up all the time which are changing the face of licensing in the digital space.
PRS for Music’s Ben McEwen (right) with Chris Cooke, CMU/TGE. ‘It’s not a static market,’ he said. ‘The deals that we’re doing aren’t just pan-European, they’re for an ever-growing list of territories. And there are new initiatives coming up all the time. There’s almost as much innovation on that side of the business as there is on the digital service provider side. ‘Increasingly people have said that the publishing area of the business is difficult to navigate, and while I do think this is overstated, we certainly do need new solutions and aggregation that’s not on a national basis.’ McEwen went on to explain how the society is working to create a licensing and processing hub to ‘provide a more joined up offering to the market’. The project, which is subject to competition clearance, aims to create easier access for digital music services to clear music rights, and faster and more precise payments of royalties to rightsholders. PRS for Music, together with partners STIM and GEMA, plans to begin launching services subject to European Commission clearance. The initiative is set to be the first multi-repertoire hub to provide integrated ‘back office’ data processing services and ‘front office’ digital multi-territory licensing services to authors, publishers, other collective rights management organisations and digital service providers. The joint venture has been developed in order to reduce licensing and distribution challenges currently inherent in the digital market place.
digital rights tracking still challenging The online music market is still in its infancy with revenue from digital services difficult to track, MCPS Chief Executive Jane Dyball has warned. Dyball made the comments during a digital music panel at Brighton’s Great Escape conference, which also featured Intellectual Property consultant Amanda Harcourt and BASCA Chief Executive Vick Bain. Dyball said: ‘If you represent a song as a publisher or society, then you want the best for that song. I do not accept that there is a pie which has been allocated and needs to be shared out. We are still in very early days of the digital market and in the publisher songwriting world it’s not easy to track the money coming out of digital services. While we don’t have complete transparency, it’s hard to see where things are going wrong.’ She added: ‘For ad-driven digital services, there is not enough ad revenue in the world available to pay proper value back to songwriters and publishers.’ Amanda Harcourt, IP consultant, called on the music industry to stop arguing amongst itselves and concentrate on getting more revenue from the digital music services. She said: ‘Let’s make the pie bigger. From the perspective of international songwriters, let’s have greater transparency across the entire value chain.’ In the same panel session, BASCA’s Vick Bain said that songwriters need to have a stronger voice in the debate surrounding the digital music revenue split.
your next paydays Performing
15 July 2015
30 June 2015
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30 Oct 2015
money & business sync review
Who was involved in the sync? Joel worked closely with the director and editor. The advertising agency Leo Burnett just trusted them to get on with it - which is a really creative way to work.
Who? Music Sales Group What? River Kalimba Eclipse by Joel Cadbury Where? Co-operative Bank television advertising campaign, plus video-on-demand and online adverts.
For its latest TV campaign, the Co-Operative Bank worked with Oxfam to find a community in Tanzania in which to film. Joel Cadbury’s River Kalimba Eclipse was created especially for the advert, and was written as the film edit was in full flow. Here, Music Sales’ Creative Lucy Bright talks us through the process. How did the placement come about? Joel (above) had previously worked with the same director on a Cancer Research advert, which was a very different brief. However, the director thought Joel would really understand this one too.
Why do you think it worked so well? The music was written as the edit was in progress, and Joel kept an open dialogue with the director. He had a demo completed by the time the agency and client watched the first cut of the advert, which really helped. When this happens, the composer isn’t then trying to replace a piece of temporary music that the client may have become attached to. What are the merits of using bespoke music in TV adverts? You get a piece of music which isn’t associated with any other brand or product, and it fits perfectly to picture. You first signed Joel as a songwriter – how has he changed since then? We loved the songs Joel had written with South and UNKLE and thought he would be a great addition to our stable of songwriters. We quickly saw he had scope for a lot more, so we introduced him to the composer Melissa Parmenter, with whom he then wrote the score for Michael Winterbottom’s film The Killer Inside Me.
Our classical promotions team connected Joel with Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, who then paired him with choreographer Kate Prince for the 2012 London Olympics Gala at the Royal Opera House. Wayne also commissioned Joel to write the music for his ballet Borderlands with San Francisco Ballet in 2013. More recently, Joel has moved into bespoke music for adverts and has worked with some great brands including Jaguar, Volvo, Bentley and Lidl. He’s also working with Michael Winterbottom again on his latest film The Emperor’s New Clothes. What help and support have you given him along the way? One of the great things about Music Sales is the breadth of expertise within our staff, from sync to ballet and beyond. We have been able to introduce Joel to brilliant directors, advertising agencies, choreographers and collaborators and he has always made the best use of those connections. What is it that makes Joel’s music so attractive to directors, brands and advertisers? Joel’s ability to understand a brief, bring his own flavour to the soundscape and also work well in a team means that directors and agencies keep working with him again and again. musicsales.com / joelcadburymusic.com
We are here to listen and help. Are you struggling with illness, injury or the effects of age? Are you in a financial crisis and need debt advice or financial help? If you’re ok, do you know another member who could use our help? The PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund gives financial support and advice to PRS members who are struggling with illness, accident, disability or old age. We could help you with living costs, a loan for house repairs, a specialist medical assessment, career coaching or debt advice. Contact us in confidence on +44(0)20 3741 4067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Members Benevolent Fund
PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund, 2 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG A Registered Charity No. 208671.
tackling taboos Other striking results were that nearly half (48 percent) said they suffered from repetitive strain injury, 47 percent said they had experienced hearing problems and another 42 percent reported bullying in their professional life.
peace throw weight behind prs for music
Despite all this, less than half of respondents had sought professional help with the issues they identified. When asked why not, some were very robust in their answers. One said: ‘In the few areas where I might have been affected, I believe that they come with the territory of being a performing musician’.
Nigel Hamilton, Help and Advice Manager at Help Musicians UK, chats about the charity’s work and reveals why so many musicians are reluctant to discuss their problems. When I first came to Help Musicians UK, after many years working in general advice services, what struck me was the demanding, sink-or-swim world professional musicians work in. Yes, the music industry is full of supportive communities and networks, lifelong friendships, collaborations and generally wonderful people. But when things go wrong it gets tough very quickly. It can be really hard to find someone to talk to or get help from, and we’ve found there are many issues musicians simply do not talk to each other about. Of course, there are the common complaints that any musician will sound off about – lack of money, irregular work, travel, arrogant conductors, dodgy promoters, rubbish venues. But when it comes to the really important stuff, like the state of their body or mind, it’s often another matter. It’s not hard to see why when so many musicians are freelancers with no job security or employment benefits packages. How open are you going to be about your worry that you’re developing arthritis or that worsening eyesight makes it harder to read music? Are you going to feel confident about turning up to a gig or audition wearing a hearing aid? People prefer to keep things to themselves. As one musician said to me, ‘I’ve had more conversations in the rehearsal room about erectile dysfunction than I have about hearing problems!’ At Help Musicians UK we’ve become increasingly aware that maintaining health and wellbeing is an essential part of a sustainable music career, and we’re trying to understand how we can support musicians in achieving that. Last year, 562 musicians of all types, ages and from all genres, helped us with a survey. The top three issues of concern will surprise no one: antisocial working hours, money problems and work insecurity, but we shouldn’t overlook how much stress they can cause. Sixty-seven percent said they had, on occasion, suffered depression or other psychological problems. In addition, 75 percent said they had experienced performance anxiety and 68 percent reported feelings of loneliness or separation from family and friends.
Another respondent told us they thought they would ‘seem like a failure’, while another said that ‘telling people the problems you’re having means admitting you’re less than perfect, which is what we’re striving for in performance’. For me, the last revelation was particularly telling. For many musicians, perfection is the minimum acceptable standard and admitting to anything less is, or at least feels like it might be, professional suicide. Another major issue we found was that it was not easy for musicians to get professional help. People simply do not know that some services, for example specialist hand therapists, exist. If they do, can they afford them? And many have experienced a lack of understanding from NHS mainstream services. All this can lead to a fatalism, or ostrich-like denial – nothing can be done, so just get on with it and keep quiet while you do. This attitude is found throughout the profession. There are times when every musician has to play through the pain, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK all the time. So what can we do as an industry to break these taboos and encourage musicians to seek help when they need it? At Help Musicians UK we’re focusing on four main areas: hearing, performance anxiety, muscular-skeletal issues and mental health. We’ll be working with influential organisations like the Musicians’ Union to get the issues out in the open, learn more from musicians and to develop our services and support musicians in maintaining their health and wellbeing.
Birmingham indie-rock quartet Peace have joined a new campaign to raise awareness of PRS for Music’s work among businesses that use music. The band have created an advert with the collecting society which highlights the key role music plays in bringing businesses to life, and the importance of supporting the songwriters and composers behind it. The year-long initiative launches at Cineworld Cinemas around the UK this summer and features the band performing their song World Pleasure at the Hawley Arms, Camden. Watch our video interview with the band at m-magazine.co.uk/watch.
the big busk
We believe it’s time to act. We as an industry need to address musicians’ welfare and place it on the top of everyone’s agenda. Nigel leads the help and advice team at Help Musicians UK, where he has worked for the last three years. He started his career as a housing adviser for a number of London boroughs, before becoming Head of Housing in Barnet Council. He left the council in 2008 and worked as a freelance in the voluntary sector and national government. Help Musicians UK has been supporting musicians since 1921, assisting thousands of people establish themselves in the music business, get through a serious crisis, cope with long term difficulties and enjoy retirement. helpmusicians.org.uk
PRS for Music is sponsoring the Gigs Songwriter Prize as part of Gigs - the capital’s biggest competition for upcoming songwriters and buskers. Running since 2009 in partnership with Transport for London, Gigs has helped kickstart the careers of Jamie West, Robbie Boyd, James Riley, Natalie Shay, Sam Barnett and Stella and the Shakes. The Gigs 2015 competitors will be performing live around London from 18 July to 8 August as part of the new Busk In London Festival. See buskinlondon.com for more info. m56_june 2015_11
Manic depression stopped me from playing to the point of getting rid of my guitar to pay for somewhere to live. Help Musicians UK got me back on my feet. I dread to think where I would be without them. We helped Matt when a crisis stopped him from performing. Can we help you? helpmusicians.org.uk 020 7239 9100 Backing musicians throughout their careers. Registered charity 228089.
Help MusiciansUK.indd 1
The voice of music writers
Apply online at basca.org.uk/join
At its heart, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA) is a professional, not for profit, membership organisation.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Free insurance: Professional and Standard members are automatically insured for £1m Public Liability plus equipment insurance
We’re a single, powerful voice for all songwriters, composers and lyricists across all genres. We provide unparalleled opportunities to network with your peers as well as an ever growing list of member benefits and services.Whether you’re just starting out in your musical career or have had a string of successes, BASCA speaks for the entire music writing community. We work for fair copyright law, the best possible royalty returns and for wider recognition of the priceless contribution that music makes to our culture and society.We’re driven to ensure that our member’s voice is heard and their needs are always taken into account when it really matters!
British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors
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screen. It is, in short, a lonely, high pressure career which has dizzyingly large amounts of terror, silliness, joy and job insecurity. Little wonder then that there are far too many people doing it already and loads more desperate to have a go. And of course the free market dictates that the more suppliers there are, the worse our clients can treat us. Compare how many guitarists you know with how quickly you can get a plumber to come to your house on a Sunday evening.
there for each other Paul Farrer Think of a composer. Now remove some of their credibility and throw random-sized lumps of money at them four times a year. This could be a mortgage-destroying moredosh-than-their-parents-made-in-a-decade sized cheque or some dust-like micro pennies. Add some stress, a few cloth-eared clients, computer plug-ins that don’t work properly and simmer on a low heat in a pan of self doubt. Et voila! You have yourself a media composer.
Media composing is a lonely, high pressure career which has dizzying amounts of terror, silliness, joy and job insecurity… We are a funny bunch. Balancing a high wire act over the chasm between art and commerce, a media composer has to be comfortable sitting with a documentary director who is asking how many Peruvian nose flautists we can find, and comfortable reading an email telling them the jingle they wrote for that yoghurt commercial needs a more catchy hook once the tap-dancing cow arrives on
We don’t have a union, we have BASCA. The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors is an island in a sea of piranhas helping to steer and guide writers (at all stages of their career) through the choppy waters of business, rights and protecting their interests. Media composers specifically are represented within BASCA by the Media Executive - a panel of up to 12 top-of-theirgame media composers who regularly meet up to exchange information and concerns from their experiences at the front line of the business. We formulate campaigns to try and fight for our collective rights, we talk to broadcasters, we talk to other composer organisations around the world, we talk to PRS for Music and we listen to our members’ concerns. Problems with a publisher? We’re on it. Work-for-hire anxiety? We’ve all been there. In a world that is better off the more isolated you feel, BASCA lets you know that you are not alone. BASCA also hosts the modest annual works’ outing, sandwich buffet and mingle known as the Ivor Novello Awards. Thye are universally regarded as the most credible and prestigious gong any writer can receive, because unlike any other mantlepiece hardware an Ivor celebrates and bestows on the recipient the warmest and most profound kind of
recognition: the respect of one’s peers. Our Gold Badge Awards in the autumn celebrate the outstanding men and women who might not be headline grabbing household names (although many are) but more importantly have, within their own field, made a unique contribution to Britain’s music industry. To BASCA members who ask what we are for, I say that we are simply for each other. I can assure you that the very best people are volunteering their time to carry the torch on issues that impact us all. A good number of the same people whose over-stuffed IMDB profiles and sexy showreels make you want to give up, the same people whose names you are sick of seeing at the end of programmes and films are, in fact, quietly contributing advice, influence, perspective and effort to protect us all and try and make the composing landscape a fairer, more stable place to be. We want your help, we want your continued membership and to those who aren’t members yet...we want you. I am grateful to Dan McGrath, Nainita Desai, Richard Jaques, Michael Price and Mark Ayres for their contributions to this piece.
Paul Farrer has created music for some of the biggest programmes on British television, including Dancing on Ice, The Gladiators, Ant and Dec’s Push the Button and The Weakest Link . In 2012 he was commissioned to compose the music to the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Variety Performance at The Royal Albert Hall in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen. He is the recipient of an Ampex Golden Reel Award for his work on ITV’s The Gladiators and in 2003 was awarded the BMI Composer Award.
Composers Martin Phipps and Natalie Holt (centre) - winners of the TV Soundtrack Award at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards, with their publishers Christopher Gutch (l) and Jonathan Channon (r).
the digital battle PRS for Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft vows to tackle the legal loophole threatening songwriters’ and composers’ digital livelihoods. Digital choice We all know that the big item on the agenda today is the shift from downloads to streaming. So what’s really going on? In 2014, downloads and streaming overtook physical media in the same year as our royalties from streaming sites overtook those from downloads. Alongside this, we have faced a gradual decline in the value of sound recordings for a decade. So what is it that has triggered such concern among our members? Previously, an album might have had a number of hits on it but, the writers of all the tracks on the album were paid the same whether or not their songs on the album were hits. Though album sales remained popular on iTunes, there was a shift towards single downloads. As this happened, only the hits, or popular songs, from an album were bought, so writers who had made the album, but whose songs weren’t individually downloaded, got nothing.
There is no doubt that songwriters, composers and music publishers are facing a period of unprecedented change as downloads give way to streaming. But what does this mean for creators and what can be done to safeguard our members’ vital work? Internet piracy is reducing, thanks to the UK courts’ pioneering action in granting site blocking orders, and our government’s pursuit of a ‘follow the money’ strategy that deprives infringing sites of income. But does this mean the battle is won? Far from it. Who needs pirate music when it can be accessed for free from sites that claim they can operate without a licence, or others that hide behind current legislation to set their own rules as to what token payment they will, or will not, make?
This is our battle. You must be protected by strong copyright law.
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This trend has been exacerbated in the era of streaming services: not only do you have to have your song chosen, but you have to achieve at least 50 streams before it earns an amount of money equivalent to a sale and, depending on the streaming outlet, it could be many more. Nowadays you have not only to write a popular song, but it has to remain popular if you are to earn good money from it – and it has to compete every day with streams from the back catalogue. The fact is that while, in the long run, subscription streaming could be a viable substitute for CD sales – and even now they are paying substantial amounts of money to rightsholders overall – it is, during the transition period from downloads to streaming and while these services still serve a relatively niche audience, hard for new songwriters to make a living from them. Ad-funded aggravation If there are challenges for songwriters in a world of subscription streaming though, there is a real problem with ad-funded streaming services. By comparison with subscription services, they do not produce values even remotely equivalent to a download sale - we’re talking about hundreds of streams being the equivalent of a download for the songwriter rather than 50 or so. This clearly does not work alone.
There is also a dilemma for the digital services. Spotify, for example, has presented evidence that its valuable subscription layer is fed by the ad-supported layer. Yet Taylor Swift famously removed her catalogue from the service when Spotify refused to include it in the paid subscription layer only. Although she is still absent from Spotify, Taylor Swift’s music is available on YouTube. And for those consumers who have little awareness of copyright, YouTube will point them to apps that will enable them to download streams from the service and strip ads from them. This effectively offers a music experience equivalent to Spotify Premium – for free. Meanwhile, Spotify can’t feed its subscription layer without bringing consumers into the ad-funded layer, and it can’t get them into the ad-funded layer unless they have all the content that is available on User Generated Content (UGC)platforms.
from the creative industries to the technology platforms to the detriment of the economy as a whole. This is our battle. You must be protected by strong copyright law and our government must support us with the European Commission in our demand that the boundaries of safe harbour be redrawn. This will ensure that any service that aggregates, disseminates or curates copyright works is fully licensed in a free market. Recently, there have been some very encouraging signs. The Commission has, thanks in no small part to the work, influence and economic arguments made by PRS for Music, IFPI and GESAC, set out a commitment to clarify the rules on the activities of online intermediaries in relation to copyright by the end of this year. This is an important opportunity for change and one that we must grasp.
If they don’t carry Taylor Swift – one of the biggest artists in the world right now - they’re not only at a pricing disadvantage, but also at a content disadvantage. This is unfair competition. While there are challenges to songwriters adapting to the flow of money from subscription streaming services such as Spotify Premium, they are not, in the end, the real problem. Unsafe harbour PRS for Music is not against so-called ‘safe harbour’ legislation, which was intended to protect the companies that invest in the fundamental infrastructure of the internet. The problem is that some UGC platforms are unfairly claiming protection under it. The legislation is being used to protect those that host, curate and distribute copyright material while claiming to have no knowledge of it on the grounds that their users, and not they themselves, have the knowledge and are responsible for clearing copyright. Selectively, of course, some of them do admit knowledge if rightsholders submit a claim for their works and if they monetise the associated sound recordings. However, the net result is payments that represent a mere fraction of the true value these platforms derive from music. We do not accept that this is right. The way in which safe harbour legislation has been interpreted has been to deprive creators of the ability to consent to the use of their creative works has resulted in a transfer of value
As streaming becomes an increasingly important part of the global music market, PRS for Music has launched a campaign to increase awareness about its impact on songwriters and composers. Streamfair aims to educate people so they can make an informed choice when streaming music whilst also recognising licensed digital services that do value the music on which their business is built. The campaign also highlights the much debated challenges across the industry around ‘safe harbour’ provisions. Members, music fans and the wider industry can join voices with PRS for Music and make a ‘fair choice’ when discovering and enjoying music online. Make sure your voice is heard. Visit prsformusic.com/streamfair #streamfair
What is safe harbour? Safe harbour hosting provisions were introduced into copyright law through the E-Commerce Directive 2000. The aim was to protect technology companies, the intermediaries, who were investing and developing the infrastructure needed to move content around the internet from copyright infringement liability. The rationale behind safe harbour was that intermediaries, at the time, couldn’t know if they were hosting or enabling the use of copyright material. In return for this protection, intermediaries were required to remove content if they are notified of copyright infringements. Years later, a number of platforms now exist that actively provide content rather than simply host it. These include video sharing platforms, digital locker services and User Generated Content (UGC) sites which are often generating vast revenues off the back of creators' work yet who maintain, at best, a partial liability for the content they provide. An intermediary should only benefit from safe harbours defence if they are truly providing only a technical, automatic and passive service. Some are exploiting safe harbour provisions thus depriving creators’ of fair value for their endeavours and undermining legitimate music services in what is an increasingly important revenue stream for creators. A strong, healthy and sustainable music industry needs a legal framework which ensures creators get fairly paid. M56_JUNE 2015_15
spotlight on streaming As summer arrives, the debate surrounding royalties from streaming services shows little sign of abating. Fuelled by a flurry of unanswered questions and confusion around differing rates paid by the bevy of digital platforms out there, music creators are rightly voicing their concerns. Now PRS for Music has joined the fray, helping to ensure the voice of the creator rings out loud and clear. By continually assessing the effectiveness of copyright in the digital economy, the society can help ensure songwriters and composers continue to receive vital payment for their work as the streaming model takes off.
savvy web users and music aficionados. But these services haven’t yet penetrated the mass market. If they’re going to reach millions of customers they have to educate people and look at offering different models: the standard all-you-can-eat subscription and £9.99 price tag won’t suit everyone.
As a member of PRS for Music, you’ll be familiar with the legal concept of copyright, which exists to encourage and enable creative endeavour. It does that by rewarding those who invest time, money or energy into creating original content with controls over how it is used, distributed and exploited. But how does this actually work in the streaming world? Here, we examine some of the key issues being discussed…
The licensing Music licensing is a complex business and rights are controlled by a number of different societies, publishers and rightsholders. This has led to what is often called a ‘fragmentation of rights’, which, in simple terms, means that a music service has to negotiate multiple licenses with multiple parties to obtain permission to use music. A solution to simplifying this process is creating one-stop shops for global licensing, which should ensure more music services become properly licensed. In this area, PRS for Music is committed to supporting innovative music services to launch and develop as it believes this is where the success of future music industry lies. This includes the creation of our new online licensing and data processing ‘hub’, but more on that later.
The back story Taking 1998 as the starting point, we saw the first murmurings of the new digital music economy with the arrival of eMusic and Napster. In those first five years of digital music, many larger rights companies - and particularly the major record companies – resisted, opting instead to protect their lucrative CD businesses. Then Steve Jobs came along, iTunes launched and exploded in the US and UK. Suddenly, if you arrived at a record company with a download store, they'd licence you. But there was a problem the major labels insisted on having Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology on their audio files. This meant they wouldn’t work across all devices, including the iPod – and the download service would eventually fail. Around 2008, record companies and rightsholders started to change their approach to licensing. Physical music sales were still a big part of the business, but the industry began to accept that digital would be the future. They also understood that iTunes probably wouldn’t be the exclusive offer and they knew something else was going to happen… Enter streaming - a listening or watching experience that is neither bought nor owned by the consumer. The market – currently led by the likes of Spotify (which actually dates back to 2006), Rdio and Rhapsody - has adapted rapidly over the last few years and streaming has come to evolve three distinct categories: User Generated Content (UGC); subscription services; and ad-funded or freemium music services. The future Streaming services which have both subscription and ad-funded free options have done a decent job in offering a competitively priced platform for access to millions songs. And so far, the average £9.99 subscription price point has attracted early adopters, tech 16_JUNE 2015_ M56
The ownership model We’ve long been hearing about the decline of CD sales, but 2014 was something of a tipping point. It was the first time PRS for Music’s online revenues eclipsed physical royalties, while streaming revenues (£38.8m) also overtook download revenues (£26.7m). Elsewhere, recorded music industry body the BPI announced that 48.8 percent of the UK’s overall music consumption came from physical album sales, with 51.2 percent from the digital market. Looking further afield, IFPI figures show a similar trend, with digital revenues now representing 46 percent of global music sales. It’s clear then that the future is all about access to music rather than ownership. This impacts rightsholders in several ways, not least because the ownership model was built around consumers paying upfront for the music they wanted to hear. Still today, for writers of million-selling albums, the going is good. But we’ve now moved to a situation where those kinds of sales figures are increasingly rare – even though music consumption as a whole continues to grow. And, where a CD purchase was a one-off injection of cash for songwriters, legitimate, mass market streaming has the potential to keep giving over time. These new market characteristics have also changed the notion of the album and the income it can provide for rightsholders. Where an LP might contain a smattering of hits, in the ownership model all songwriters involved are paid the same regardless of the songs they had a hand in. With the shift towards the access model, only the most popular songs get picked up, so songwriters whose tracks
aren’t individually downloaded or streamed, get nothing. In this brave new world, curated playlists are becoming increasingly powerful – and crucial to an artist’s success. The royalties So, can streaming ever deliver a meaningful income for songwriters and composers? Many in the industry will agree this depends on one key criteria: will paid-for subscription models become the dominant form of access to streamed music? If they do, then the answer could be yes. This is why businesses like Spotify and Rdio have become so important. They use the freemium ad-funded model to encourage consumers to become premium paid-for subscribers. Around 25 percent of people using Spotify’s free tier have converted into paying users. While this might not sound like a lot, it’s extremely promising for a business that is still in its infancy. Elsewhere, services like Tidal can offer lossless, higher fidelity audio files for an improved listening experience, which could also tempt consumers. But it’s not all plain sailing – these services compete with UGC, which is often under-licensed or unlicensed. In fact – at the moment – most UGC services provide access to music for ‘free’ to the consumer with either little or no payment being made to the rightsholders.
The amount of royalties that collecting societies like PRS for Music can generate from ad-funded services alone isn’t sufficient or sustainable in the long term. So the market needs a broad mix of appropriately licensed services based on different business models. As we know, the music industry has changed dramatically in the past 10 years: streaming doesn’t replace CD sales like-for-like and the songwriter profile on these services is extremely diverse. The data There are a number of key industry challenges with online music tracking, namely data volumes, quality and a fragmented rights marketplace. There’s an assumption that if a person writes music they are automatically entitled to online music royalties. But payment of online royalties is reliant on a number of steps and third parties: • Rightsholders need to accurately register their music with their chosen collecting society. • The streaming service must then accurately track the music played and report it to the collecting society. At this stage, reporting periods can range from three months to over a year. • The music played must be validated within the collecting society’s song database, with any differences reconciled between the society and the streaming service. • It is only then that the collecting society can raise an invoice and distribute the royalties to rightsholders.
One play BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show
One song available for streaming
= 1 million audience reach
= 1 million streams
£4OK One song on 13 track CD
= 200k sales
Volumes: The amount of data PRS for Music handles to process royalty distributions to members has grown exponentially over the years. In 2013, the society processed over 130 billion usages of tracked music but in 2014 this jumped to 250 billion uses. Data processing on this level remains a challenge, but one that PRS for Music is meeting through investment in cross-society initiatives like the hub with European collecting societies STIM and GEMA. Data quality and integrity: When record labels provide content to streaming services they don’t necessarily include all the metadata collecting societies would like them to – particularly songwriter and composer information. Metadata is a way of digitally identifying or coding music works and, even when it is included, sometimes music services themselves don’t maintain the data properly or send it to the collecting society. To resolve this, PRS for Music is actively engaging in many initiatives like DDEX to improve formats and quality of data. DDEX is a consortium of leading media companies, music licensing organisations, digital service providers and technical intermediaries, focused on supporting the automated exchange of information along the digital supply chain.
The big players Google Play Founded: 2012 in Google HQ, Mountain View Business model: subscriptions Inventory: 30 million songs Availability: 58 countries, including UK Rdio Founded: 2010 in San Francisco Business models: ad-funded, subscriptions Inventory: 32 million songs Availability: 85 countries, including UK Rhapsody Founded: 2010 in Seattle, Washington Business model: subscriptions Inventory: 32 million songs Spotify Founded: 2006 in Stockholm Business models: ad-funded, subscriptions Inventory: 32 million songs Reach: 60 million active users, 15 million paying subscribers Availability: 58 countries, including UK SoundCloud Founded: 2008 in Stockholm (now based in Berlin) Business model: free to access, plus premium subscription service for uploaders Inventory: More than 100 million tracks Reach: More than 175 million unique users each month Availability: global, via Soundcloud.com Tidal Founded: 2014 in US (in current branded form) Business model: subscriptions Inventory: 25 million songs Reach: 500,000 paying subscribers Availability: 30 countries, excluding UK YouTube Founded: 2005 in San Bruno Business model: ad-funded, plus premium subscription service for channel operators Reach: more than one billion users Availability: global, via YouTube.com, and localised in 75 countries.
Main image: Boy George
KAR M A and CALMER From luxury to heartache and back again… Jim Ottewill meets Boy George to find the iconic pop star has put his demons away and embraced music… Punk, New Romantic, fashion icon, pop star, Grammy Award winner, jailbird, DJ - and now? ‘I’m a big queer in a big pond,’ teases Boy George down the phone from his new Los Angeles home. George O’Dowd, the self-proclaimed ‘pink sheep’ of his working class family, is in the States embarking on the next stage of what has been a dazzlingly colourful, chaotic career. He sashayed into mainstream music lovers’ lives back in the early eighties as Culture Club frontman, performing on Top of the Pops and dowsing the national conscious in sexual confusion. A bouquet of hits including Karma Chameleon and Do You Want To Hurt Me? continued the seduction, glamourising the charts with a flirty cocktail of eye-linered androgyny and white boy soul. Ups and downs The dramatic rise of Boy George and his band as well as their fall are the stuff of tabloid legend - the secret relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss, the spiral into drugs, even George’s sentencing to sweep the streets of New York for possession are well documented. But fast forward to 2015, and life and music are looking positive and pretty grown up for George. Now 53, he was recipient of the PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards, is prepping a new solo album and is recording a new Culture Club album. His 2013 hit King of Everything asks ‘…will I be King again?’ On this run of form it’s quite possible. ‘I feel like I’m going through a really fertile period as a songwriter,’ he professes when probed about winning The Ivor. ‘This award is great as I love writing, I love the process of coming up with an idea and seeing a song happen in front of you. But to be honest, a lot of my best songwriting has gone unnoticed, except by those who follow me ardently.’ Bend it like Boy George George is currently in America looking to work out a deal for a reality TV show in what he says will be a similar format to Keeping up with the Kardashians. Potential titles? ‘Bend it like Boy George’ obviously. Or ‘The Carcrashians’. But for him, TV is a way of connecting with new audiences to promote his music.
‘It’s about building a new platform,’ he explains. ‘For an artist like me, there isn’t any airplay. The normal channels you previously relied on don’t exist. It’s a very interesting moment in pop culture. Everyone’s a bit confused and from a creative point that’s really exciting. Rather than moaning about it I’m exploring other avenues, which is where the ingenuity comes into it. And in America, TV isn’t so much of a dirty word.’ Songwriting beginnings When Boy George first fell in love with music, the world was a simpler place. But how did he begin his songwriting journey? As a builder, his father used to bring home records from properties he had to demolish, meaning the young George was weaned on a wide array of styles. Everything from jazz to T-Rex’s Metal Guru via classical orchestras and the songs of old school crooners including Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett all dripped down into the creative mix. From this eclectic musical grounding, it was the New Romantic movement that really caught his imagination, leading George, his puckered lips and sculpted cheekbones to become a regular at the late Steve Strange’s legendary Blitz Club. It was here he met pop music manager Malcolm McLaren and landed a role in the svengali’s project Bow Wow Wow. ‘I was in Bow Wow Wow for almost a blink of an eye,’ he says. ‘But working with Malcolm had a big influence, as he really went out of the box in terms of what he wrote about. I carried some of that over with me to the early incarnation of Culture Club.’ Culture Club vs the world As he says, soon after joining, he left Bow Wow Wow to form Culture Club, the name reflecting the diverse ethnic make-up of the group. Within a year they’d been picked up by Virgin Records, released debut album Kissing to be Clever and landed in the top five of the UK charts. The single Do You Really Want to Hurt Me changed everything for the band, reaching number one in several countries across the world. Did they always know they were destined for pop stardom? ‘We never thought of it like that. When you’re young, you’re much more insecure. With no experience you come into the industry unaware of how things work. You have a lot of naivety, which is m56_june 2015_19
This page: Culture Club Right: With Kylie Minogue at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards
‘To be honest, a lot of my best songwriting has gone unnoticed, except by those who follow me ardently.’
going on in my personal life and around me. As I’ve got older, it’s broadened. I tend to have less dramatic relationships these days so I have to find other things to write about.’
wonderful and powerful. But you don’t know the realities and how things can blind side you,’ he says.
‘Taboo the musical, I do think that was my opus. It was a very proud moment. I got some incredibly write ups for the score which I wrote with John Themis and Kevan Frost.’, he explains.
Mark Allan, Getty
During their most triumphant years, he was constantly refreshing his musical influences, sniffing out inspiration everywhere, from Bob Dylan to Morrissey. ‘I was always trying to write the most interesting lyrics by listening to other people’s songs,’ he says. ‘When Morrissey wrote a love song, he did it from a very peculiar angle and that had a big impact. You’d be surprised who have influenced me over the years. My thing was always trying to put as much honesty and as much of myself into my writing as possible.’ Emotional honesty This confessional soul-bearing was at the heart of Culture Club’s mounting chart success. And success it was on a massive scale. The band were the first group since The Beatles to have three top 10 hits in the US from a debut album. Second album Colour by Numbers hit the top spot in the UK and number two in the US with Karma Chameleon reaching number one in 16 countries. The album shifted 16 million copies and the single was the bestselling in the UK that year. Ever since they entered the global stage, his songwriting palette has expanded and continued to become increasingly refined. ‘When I was younger, many of the songs I was known for were like a personal diary,’ he says. ‘I used to write about what was
Taboo Alongside Culture Club, George’s lengthy career includes countless albums both as solo artist and DJ. Having sold over 100 million singles and in excess of 50 million albums, for him it’s the less well known works that are his most treasured.
The musical, featuring lyrics by George, is a fictionalised account of a group of ‘names’ set in the city’s most fashionable club. Loosely based on the Blitz, the production was a hit both on Broadway and in London. ‘Taboo was a big thing for me and I still think of it as one of the best things I’ve ever done,’ he admits. Pop pop pop pop music Now he’s about to return to the music biz with a pair of albums as well as forthcoming American tour, what are his thoughts on the pop landscape? You could argue that these days, it’s a far more anodyne and safe place than when Boy George and Culture Club first emerged in a blaze of pouts and chart storming gender bending. ‘We’re in an age of formula, he says. ‘The things you hear on the radio are pretty much the same. I still write, I’m still loving it. It’s just finding new ways to get music heard, that’s the challenge.’ He continues: ‘The eighties were a product of the seventies and the seventies the sixties. We were Bowie kids, Roxy Music fans, into The Sweet and punk rock. The seventies were such an interesting time for pop culture and music. You had everything from glam to punk to electro and disco, funk, all going on at the same time.
‘When we started out, we didn’t really know what the score was or that it would last. I never thought I’d be sitting here 30 odd years later talking about my career or getting an award.’ ‘Now if you do this, this and this, you’re likely to become famous and make loads of money. But then, you have the flowers that grow through the cracks - artists like Amy Winehouse and other unique special musicians - nothing would stop them.’ For him, while the online world has opened up new ways of consuming and disseminating music, it’s also taken some of the glitter away from pop culture. ‘When people went to a concert in the seventies we didn’t know what was going on or how things worked backstage. A lot of the wonderful mythology and magic no longer exists.’ Career advice Looking back it’s obvious that George has endured his fair share of bumps and bruises from the music industry, the authorities and his own personal demons. But now the future looks sunny. He’s keen to point out that he’s grateful for the chance to make music his living. ‘When you’re young you’re hell bent on making everything a drama, you forget to breathe, look around and take it all in. Anyone who gets the opportunity to be in this business should have some gratitude, hold onto their hats and try to have as much fun with it as possible. Within the realm of the law obviously,’ he laughs. ‘Remember it’s a job and it comes with a responsibility. In my case that was hard earned.’
Watch our video interview with Boy George on the red carpet at The Ivors
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HANDS-ON HAR Anita Awbi chats to the circuit benders and aural evangelists who are stepping out from behind their laptops to make the most of the new hardware boom.
In 1978, a little known Sheffield musician called Martyn Ware fired up his Korg 700S analogue synthesiser and began creating the shifting industrial basslines and melodic wobble that would soon become the Human League’s first single Being Boiled. It took less than three quid to make, using only a reel-to-reel tape recorder, microphone and two synths (the other being a Roland System 100). Martyn had no mixing desk, no equalisers or compressors, no effects and definitely no midi. Yet the finished article went on to define an important era in British electronic pop.
‘It was all played manually’, Martyn remembers, ‘I know it’s hard to imagine a time before midi - it’s a bit like Jurassic Park – but without it you couldn’t synchronise anything. You’d get a hardware sequencer, create the beats from scratch – a kick drum, a snare, a hi-hat – and then play stuff over the top by bouncing from track to track on the reel-to-reel recorder. That’s as basic as you can get, it’s almost hobbyist level,’ he explains. Among all the drones and dissonance, a new way of making music had emerged that was as unique as the equipment it was created on. And, despite all the amazing tech advances we’ve since enjoyed, it’s a method that artists and songwriters are increasingly revisiting. Throwing shapes On first listen, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Kraftwerk’s Autobahn and Sun Ra’s The Wind Speaks have very little in common. But on closer inspection, a familiar, bassy resonance emerges – the unmistakable
burble of Bob Moog’s revered MiniMoog monophonic synthesiser. The hardy bit of kit, created in 1969, went on to shape a decade of iconic cuts from Parliament to Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many more. It was the first time an analogue synth really left its mark on modern music. It sparked a revolution in experimentalism which touched all genres and created a groundswell of exciting and original thought. Fast forward to 2015 and it seems that everyone from Coldplay to Trent Reznor, Bastille to Lorde, are experimenting with electronic hardware and overdosing on oscillators. This surge in popularity for the classic synth sound, coupled with a desire to experience tactile hardware, is now tempting a wave of artists away from their PCs to seek out the real thing. Time will tell if this trend sparks a lasting creativity that can redefine the parameters of music-making again. Synths sell These days, historic brands like Moog, Roland and Korg are operating in a market buzzing with boutique circuit benders and iconic hardware reissues. Some are ‘plug-in’ products which pay homage to the original masters (‘soft’ synths providing simulated sounds within the PC), but the biggest growth is in new hardware which contains hybridised analogue/digital technology that’s fit for the 21st century. Testament to their mounting success, international trade show NAMM attracted a record 130 hardware brands to exhibit at its US event in January – up 20 percent on the previous year. And, as many
MAKING MUSIC FOCUS
household names develop cheaper, more accessible analogue (and analogue-inspired) synths, drum machines and effects units - some which retail for under £30 – the trend is only set to grow. The healthy hardware market, having recently suffered several years of flat sales, is now crystallised by boutique companies like Jack White’s Third Man Records, which recently teamed up with boutique synth manufacturer Critter and Guitari on a range of quirky, customisable gear. Elsewhere, electronic legend and modular synth guru Vince Clarke has joined forces with Analogue Solution to launch a new Clarke Circuits range. But this isn’t all about niche product - NAMM figures show that, since 2009, retail sales of keyboard synthesisers have increased across the board by 15.9 percent, and are up more than 32 percent over the last decade. Korg’s Sale and Marketing Director Richard Hodgson explains: ‘We’re seeing a growing trend in people of all ages interested in hardware and analogue purity, and who are creating individual music. Now that analogue synthesisers are becoming cheaper and more accessible, it’s breeding a new type of musician who wants to experiment. It’s a really exciting time. Live modulation It’s fair to say that the continued popularity of electronic dance music (EDM), underground techno and scuzzy indie-rock has enticed more
Main image: Mark Ayres performing with the Radiophonic Workshop
musicians and producers from other genres to dive into the wonky world of analogue synths and create unique studio sounds. But the trend is also changing the face of live performance, with many dance music producers coming out from behind their laptops to helm improvised shows based around hardware kit and analogue discordance. Stephen Bishop, founder of the Middlesbrough-born Opal Tapes label home to analogue purists such as Karen Gwyer and Patricia (recently seen demoing new modular products for Moog), believes that such kit often lends itself more easily to unrestrained live gigs. ‘Analogue equipment requires practice and learning to use properly,’ he says. ‘This in itself creates a work flow which transfers into live practice and often into recording style. Layers accrue and build. The individual parts sum into the song as a whole. Addition and subtraction are still key when using analogue equipment – as is a constant ear given to the mix - as the interaction of voltage is different to that of digital code.’ Stephen writes and records as Basic House and, over the last few years, has collected a motley crew of likeminded artists from around the globe who fit his rare taste for fugitive house and broken-down techno. As the name suggests, Opal Tapes’ musical output is mainly cassette and vinyl, in keeping with Stephen’s passion for real analogue sound. Hardware hype But is this all hype? What is it about analogue instruments, hardware synths and recording techniques that are so appealing? Award-winning producer and engineer Richard Formby has some m56_june 2015_23
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I think we have lost the patina of age in digital music, because it’s infinitely replicable and doesn’t age ideas. Throughout a 25 year career, which started with a bang when he produced the mind-expanding synth and guitar musings of Spacemen 3, Richard has learned the old fashioned basics, kept abreast of the digital revolution and maintained a handy side line in real analogue production. He now uses a combination of tools, including in-the-box PC package Logic and old school analogue gear - the results of which are best heard on recent albums by Mercury Prize-tipped Ghostpoet and Ivor Novello Award-nominated Wild Beasts. Despite his digital multitasking, Richard still understands the true appeal of analogue. He believes that the warm, physical characteristics of recordings are disappearing as digital perfectionism replaces analogue anomalies and human performance error. ‘When you correct something on Pro Tools or Logic, each little digital correction is a little bit of character removed from the original person’s performance. The more of those you do, the more character you’re taking out of it until you end up with something which is quite bland.’ Credible shortcuts As more artists and songwriters venture out the box to explore hardware instruments, many are increasingly drawn to analogue equipment too. They are discovering a tactile approach to musicmaking and sound manipulation, and are rediscovering the art of live recording. So much so that analogue has become a buzzword for just about anyone who has a passion for ‘authentic’ music. Wrapped up in all of this is vinyl sales, which have seen a massive resurgence the past two years. Elsewhere, everyone from The Barbican (Moog Concordance, 8 July) to Brighton Music Conference are hosting days devoted to analogue performance, recordings and hardware. But Luke Abbott, a Norfolk based electronic producer who has released music both on his own label and James Holden’s Border Community imprint, has been exploring the furrows of experimental modulation since 2006. He seems much more pragmatic about the umbrella term.
Clockwise from top left: Luke Abbott, Richard Formby, Stephen Bishop.
‘There’s a lot of focus on the word “analogue”,’ he says, ‘which for a lot of people seems to equate directly to the idea of credibility but it really doesn’t. The fact is, there’s a lot of music equipment out there that does very specific jobs, and I’ve got very specific ideas about how I want things to work, so I end up using what I need to do what I want.’ Right now, Luke is most interested in hybridisation, which allows contrasting music technologies to work together. ‘Music composition is a very broad term that encompasses a vast number of approaches that are constantly expanding and developing into new techniques with new applications,’ he explains. ‘It’s like a Deleuzian rhizome or something. Modular synthesis is caught up in that flow right now, and it’s pretty exciting to see how wildly that world is developing with so many small companies making such a diverse range of new tools.’ Mark Ayres, from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, agrees: ‘The whole ethos of what we’re doing is predicated on the history of technology. There’s such a huge range of tools available to us now. We use two Mac computers, soft synths and sequencers – but we also have a stage full of old analogue boxes.’ And, for electronic luminaries such as Martyn Ware, it’s the hybridisation and analogue-simulation in digital technologies that are most exciting. Having grown up in an era of open circuitry and electronic wizardry, he carries a deep appreciation for analogue music and hardware equipment. ‘I think we have lost the patina of age in digital music, because it’s infinitely replicable and doesn’t age,’ he says. ‘And we’re living in a world where there’s massive ease of use. You can create and mix a track from scratch in a couple of hours and it will sound pretty good. But it won’t have that magic 10 percent on the top end because it’s been too easy – and that’s the issue with in-the-box digital. It’s a bit too easy, and it’s a bit too fast, to do the same tricks over and over again. In fact, I spend half my time trying to stop things sounding so digital!’
EVERGREEN Songwriter and ASCAP President and Chair Paul Williams has done more than most to champion and reinvent pop, joining the dots between Daft Punk and The Muppets. Paul Sexton quizzes the recent Ivor Novello Award winner on a musical life least ordinary… Not many songwriting careers embrace The Carpenters, The Muppets and Daft Punk, as well as Grammys, big screen stardom and executive preeminence. But then you don’t get many songwriters like Paul Williams. Whichever way you slice the career of the 74-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, you’ll hit a rich vein of creativity. From globe-straddling songs like We’ve Only Just Begun, Rainy Days and Mondays and Evergreen, and starring roles in everything from Smokey and the Bandit to Hawaii 5-0, Paul’s had his fair share of magic moments, while these days he’s keeping busy with his ASCAP presidency and a major upcoming musical. Ivor Novello triumph Add a dose of Paul’s engaging good humour and selfless perspective, and you have an unparalleled figure in our industry. It made him a hugely popular recipient of the PRS for Music Special International Award at The Ivors in May. He was humbled to receive it and, when he did, experienced enough to trust his instincts. ‘I had no idea what I was going to say until I got up there,’ he laughs. ‘You get to the point where you think, “I don’t know how to do this”, but something inside me does. I walk up on stage, open my mouth and somebody says something that seems to have pleased the audience. ‘The best part of the deal is you don’t have to give up your fan card to work in music,’ he adds. ‘So I could go and corner Ray Davies, and have those little moments. Boy George and I had never met, and we have a lot in common. So it was a real treat and a great honour.’
Random Access Memories As Paul continues to fight for the songwriters’ cause at ASCAP, it’s significant that his members know he works as one of them. The extraordinary Indian summer to his songwriting lifetime, which included contributing two songs to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and bagging a Grammy as a result, is continuing in various exhilarating, new projects.
I don’t write hit songs, I write songs that people who make hit records seem to gravitate towards.
‘The last thing you expect is to win Album of the Year at 74,’ muses Paul, still marveling at how his past informs his present. Daft Punk turned out to be huge fans of Phantom Of The Paradise, the 1974 horror musical in which he starred and wrote the soundtrack. ‘They’d seen it over 20 times and that’s where they got the idea, I’m told, for the masks and all. And then years later I get an email from them and they want to talk about it. I think it took me six months to reply. Then I remembered, “Oh, these are the guys that came out of the pyramid at the Grammys”.’ Pan’s Labyrinth A remarkable collaboration ensued, and the same film is impacting his working life again. ‘I’m writing [the lyrics for] a musical right now based on Pan’s Labyrinth with Guillermo del Toro,’ he says of the Mexican director who made the 2006 film version. ‘The music is by Gustavo Santaolalla. He’s a two-time Oscar winner for Brokeback Mountain and Babel, and did the music for The Motorcycle Diaries, a great, great film,’ Paul continues. ‘He’s an amazing composer and has a great band called Bajofundo, who I love. We’re starting to work on the second act and it’s a very exciting project.’ ‘Again, for Guillermo, it was Phantom Of The Paradise, which in the States was pretty much ignored when it came out. I met him when he was a teenager. He came to see me perform in Mexico City, wearing his dad’s suit and in a borrowed car that ran out of gas on the way home.’ ‘But evidently, I signed a copy of the soundtrack album of Phantom for him. Years later, he reaches out to me and wants to do a stage musical.’ Bitten by the songwriting bug The detail of Paul’s current diary is key to understanding the boundless enthusiasm of a man who carries songwriting deep in his soul, and who still remembers the first thrill of having his compositions recognised. This was after already having made inroads in Hollywood, with his first high-level acting job as early as 1965 in The Loved One, starring Rod Steiger; a year later, he was opposite a young Robert Redford in The Chase, by which time he was already composing songs. Things might have been very different if Williams’ audition for The Monkees’ TV show had been successful, but the writing bug had already bitten.
‘I remember sitting there and listening to the radio. It was a song called Fill Your Heart, recorded by Tiny Tim. David Bowie recorded it years later on his Hunky Dory album. Richard Perry cut an album with Tiny Tim, and [from it] Tiptoe Through The Tulips was a huge hit in the United States [in 1968]. ‘The B-side was Fill Your Heart and they turned it over and played it almost as much as the other side. I remember listening to that on the car radio. You’d pull up to the stop light and look at the car next to you and I wanted to roll down the window and go “You hear that? That’s my song!”’ Global success After landing UK writing work - including some when he was in London staying on British composer Gary Osborne’s couch - he went home to quite a surprise. ‘Everything of mine was getting recorded, but it was B-sides and album cuts, nothing [else] was really getting airplay,’ he recalls. ‘I had shoulder-length hair and looked like a little girl.’ ‘But I went back to the States and had two songs in the top 10, I had We’ve Only Just Begun by The Carpenters and Out In The Country by Three Dog Night, and everything changed.’ The late seventies brought everything from his Grammy for Evergreen, Barbra Streisand’s love theme from A Star Is Born, to Rainbow Connection for The Muppets. That Carpenters hit was written, like much of Williams’ early work, with partner Roger Nichols. ‘When Karen sang it, the world responded to that emotion. She was so special,’ he says. But so were Paul and Roger to Karen and Richard, giving them the timeless Rainy Days and Mondays and other songs for their early albums. ‘Good publishing has been a huge part of my career,’ he says. ‘I remember the first four-year deal, and Roger and I writing songs every day. They once asked Sammy Cahn what comes first, the words or the music. He said what comes first is a phone call. ‘That’s been the state of affairs with my career for a while, but it started out with me sitting in a room writing songs, and a good publisher sending those songs around, he continues. ‘And Sammy Cahn, incidentally, is the guy that walked me over to ASCAP and said I needed to be there.’ ‘There’s nothing I’ve ever done in my entire career, any of the songs, any of the movies, anything that has given me a sense of purpose to the extent that ASCAP has,’ he avows, full of optimism that songwriters’ voices are now being heard in Washington. There was a time when you’d walk in and they’d go “What’s Burt Reynolds like?’ But the cigar-puffing politician that is uninformed, those days seem to be happily behind us.’ Sobriety One of the tallest mountains Williams scaled was his alcoholism, but even on that subject, he shows good humour. ‘Music has given me an identity, it gave me a life, and of course I went through a period where I abused all that,’ he reflects. ‘By the time I got sober, the career I thought I had had been gone for 10 years. You know you’re an alcoholic when you misplace a decade. ‘But I eventually got to that place where I put the plug in the jug, and lo and behold, once I started writing again I went to Nashville, wrote a song with a guy named Jon Vezner called You’re Gone, and three years later it was a number one [country] record with Diamond Rio, and things were off and running again.’
Watch our video interview with Paul Williams at The Ivors
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Waking Up Alone Of all his towering copyrights, his proudest invention may be a lesser-known but fine piece from the seventies, Waking Up Alone. ‘I don’t think anyone’s ever recorded it, but I’m very proud of that. That would be a high point for me. It’s probably because of what the bridge does, which is as close to literature as anything I’ve ever written. ‘It talks about going home, trying to go back to the girl he left behind. And the first line of the bridge is I think the best line I’ve ever written: “Oh, your children, oh the youngest looks just like you,” he sings. ‘Because in that one sentence there, you know he’s too late.’ Basic songwriting instinct Paul is still giving himself up to his songwriting instincts, and, almost halfway through his eighth decade, he has a great deal more to give. ‘Something occurred to me very recently,’ he says. ‘I don’t write hit songs, I write songs that people who make hit records seem to gravitate towards once in a while. Paul receiving his Ivor Novello award from PRS Chairman Guy Fletcher.
‘In 25 years of sobriety, I think that I begin to recognise that the whole writing process is more and more of a gift,’ he muses. ‘But the other side of it is I now recognise that I’ve been given a chance, by trusting to be authentic in what I write.’
When Karen sang ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’, the world responded to that emotion. She was so special.
‘I don’t think We’ve Only Just Begun is a hit song, I don’t think Evergreen is a hit song, or [Helen Reddy’s] You and Me Against the World or [Three Dog Night’s] An Old Fashioned Love Song or Out In the Country. But the people that chose to record them had huge records with them because they made a hit record of a song that was evidently meaningful to a lot of people.
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i wrote that Ivor Novello Award-winning Albert Hammond is a prolific songwriter who – over six decades – has written across just about every genre going, perfecting each one in turn. But it’s his unique mastery of the power ballad which has struck the biggest chord. Here, he tells us the story behind the heart-rending chart smash The Air The That I Breathe which, over the years, has been performed by everyone from Simply Red to The Hollies and Hank Williams Jr – and was even the inspiration behind Radiohead’s 1992 breakthrough single Creep. I left for America with my partner Mike Hazlewood in 1970. We had three hits in the top 20 in the same week and we thought, ‘What do we do next?’ We needed a bigger challenge and we thought LA would be it - but we struggled. We had no work permit and hardly any money because in those days you were only allowed to take £50 out of the UK, whether you went for a vacation or forever. Once the money ran out I had to ask a lot of favours. Through that I met lots of people who were in the business and they really helped me. One promoter had a lovely secretary called Linda Koscy. She put me up at her place and told me if I drove her to work every day I could use her convertible after I dropped her off. She was fantastic. One day I told Linda I wasn’t going to take her to work. I wanted to stay at home and write something for her. I began composing music on an acoustic guitar, and it felt great. I remember the chorus came to me first. I instantly thought, ‘Gosh, what do I do after this?’ It was so strong. Normally I write something and then I work out something even stronger for the chorus – I push myself. But this day I wrote so many words and so much music – much more than ever made the song. I even ended up using some of the material elsewhere. It was an incredible experience, it all just came out, simple as that. When she came home I played it to her and she loved it. I knew it was a hit as soon as I finished it. I recorded it first for my album, It Never Rains in Southern California, but it was still very much a gentle acoustic thing back then. It didn’t become a hit until The Hollies performed it. They’d actually heard it through the Everly Brothers, who had recorded it for their 1973 album Star Spangled Springer. They’d written nine songs for that LP and
Watch our video interview with Albert at The Ivors
I really owe it all to the girl with the heart of gold who gave me a place to stay and a car to drive the only outside song they included was The Air That I Breathe. When they finished the album they asked The Hollies to choose one of their songs to cover. Unfortunately they chose the only song the Everlys hadn’t written, which was mine. So every time I used to see Phil Everly, he’d say to me, ‘You son of a bitch!’ The Hollies’ version was recorded and released in America on the same label I was on, but the promoters were having difficulty with its tempo. Everyone said it was too slow for radio and they didn’t want to play it. So I went out with the promoters to ask radio to give the song a chance. In the end I convinced a couple of DJs and programme directors to play it – one in San Francisco and the other Boston. As soon as they began playing it the phones went off the hook. Everyone wanted to know what it was. It was so different at the time, especially the tempo and the chord sequence. Over the years it’s been performed many times in so many different styles. I love all the different interpretations. Simply Red’s version was more R&B than The Hollies and everyone loved it in
the UK. Then in America they did this kind of rap version – it was really weird! It also became a hit by Hank Williams Jr and has since been performed by loads of other country singers. I even have a credit on Creep by Radiohead because of the song. The band admitted that they took the inspiration for it from The Air That I Breathe, including some of the chord progressions. It’s amazing - the song has travelled so far and wide, it’s almost been to Mars and back! It’s one of those ones that was just meant to be. No matter what obstacles were in its way, it seemed to jump over them and carry on. I really owe it all to the girl with the heart of gold who gave me a place to stay and a car to drive. Albert is on tour in the UK, Ireland and Europe this summer. alberthammond.com The Air That I Breathe Written by: Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood Published by: Imagem Music Group m56_june 2015_31
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The brilliantly named Mammal Hands are Nick Smart (keyboards), Jesse Barrett (drums, percussion) and Jordan Smart (saxophone), a trio of like-minded musicians whose passion for out-there sounds sees them quaffing influences as diverse as Steve Reich and Pharoah Sanders to Bonobo and Flying Lotus. The threesome met while busking in Norwich in 2012, bonding over a love for innovation and genre-bending sounds. They released their ace debut album Animalia on trumpet player Matt Halsall’s Gondwana Records last year. The record’s wilful experimentation shows that, alongside their Mercury Prize-nominated label mates GoGo Penguin, the band are doing their bit to shake up the jazz genre for 2015. Mammal Hands have also been supported by the PRS for Music Foundation’s International Showcase Fund to play at the Montreal Jazz Festival later this year.
the first music i remember hearing was… Mr Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan. Our dad used to play a lot of Dylan to us when we were really young. (NS) The first record i ever bought was… Evelyn Glennie’s album Wind in the Bamboo Grove. It was so mysterious and exiting sounding to me, and I still find it really inspiring. ( JB) The last great record i listened to was… It’s really tough to pick one but I’m currently really enjoying Eric Harland’s new album Vipassana. I love the way he approaches music and life and this album feels really personal to him. ( JB) The song i wish i’d written is… I think it would have to be the Polar Bear tune King of Aberdeen from their 2005 album Held on the Tips of Fingers. It’s such a beautifully soulful, flowing, vivid tune and it seems to do this in such an effortless way. (NS)
The song that makes me want to dance is… Release by Melt Yourself Down. Psychedelic afrobeat with Shabaka Hutchings and Pete Wareham on sax. You really can’t go wrong. ( JS) The song that makes me cry is… Ihasa de Sala’s Soon This Space Will Be Too Small. If you listen to the version with the explanation of her father’s idea that inspired the song, it makes for a very haunting track. ( JS) The song that i know all the words to is… The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band. We’re all big fans of The Band and this one is a favourite for us all. (NS) The song i want played at my funeral is… Alabama by John Coltrane or something by classical composer Arvo Pärt. (NS)
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sixty seconds SANDIE SHAW Dagenham born singer Sandie Shaw became the face of the swinging sixties when her version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Always Something There To Remind Me hit the top spot in 1964. The overnight icon went on to helm a string of hits that she performed, produced and collaborated on with songwriter Chris Andrews. She also won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967, danced barefoot on just about every TV entertainment show worth its salt, collaborated with The Smiths, Heaven 17, Chrissie Hynde and, more recently, toured with Jools Holland. Sandie currently sits on the Board of the Featured Artist Coalition. You were 17 when you had your first number one. What was it like to be a young woman in the music business at that time? It was new territory. There wasn’t anyone else doing contemporary music. So, for me, my choice of songs became really important because it was an opportunity to start defining what a young woman was. The first hit I had was a Burt Bacharach song but, from then on, I worked with Chris Andrews. He wrote a lot for you, didn’t he? Why did that work so well? It was great because he came from Dagenham too, so we had a lot in common on a social level. He was also quite malleable because I would always change his lyrics and add my own middle-eights. It was a great working partnership. Were you the boss? I was always the person responsible for choosing material, getting the records produced and, if I went on tour, I had to be my own tour manager. I didn’t have a stylist - I was my own stylist. I did my own make-up, my own hair. I understand that your record company never credited you for your production work. Why? No one wanted you to be seen to be doing anything that might be considered unsexy. They wanted you to do the pretty stuff. I deeply disagreed with this, which is why I wanted to do all the production, but my manager said to me, ‘You can’t possibly put your name on it because people will think you can’t afford a producer’.
By the end of the late sixties you went quiet for a bit, didn’t you? Yes, I was getting a bit pissed off with the kind of things I was doing. Things were changing a lot and I didn’t feel equipped to change with it. The only way forward for women in the UK in those days was to enter light entertainment, which never suited me. A whole new breed of women were coming through from the States, people like Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, who were writing music on their own. I was overwhelmed by all that and didn’t really know how to negotiate it - and there was really nobody over here that could help me. It was very much an American mind set. Also, I had some extreme personal difficulties in my marriage - my husband had ruined my business, lost my money and not paid the bills. And I’d just had a child. It was a characterforming period. Do you have any regrets from that period? Actually, I suddenly realised the importance in taking responsibility for all the things behind your creativity. I spent a period of time getting my strength back to renegotiate all my contracts and agreements I’d had in the past. I remember telling people, ‘It’s all about copyright’, and they thought I was talking about the songs but I was actually talking about the recording copyright. It never occurred to anybody that not owning your recording copyright was terrible, especially as I produced everything and paid for everything -
why did I not own the copyright? I had to prove that I did and I eventually got all my work back, which was fantastic. I thought, ‘I must be the only female from that era that owns her own stuff ’. I was really quite proud of that. How do you think the role for women in the industry has changed since you first started out? Well, women rule now, don’t they? I remember a quote from Debbie Harry ages ago… someone asked her what she thought would be the new Elvis - the next big thing - and she said women. I think that’s actually what’s happened. They’ve redefined music. I don’t think people like Ed Sheeran would be around if women hadn’t started doing the kind of songs they did. I think we’ve all become feminists, men and women. What do you think about the fact that 87 percent of PRS for Music members are male and just 13 percent are female? There might be fewer of us but we make more, we take more space up and I think we inspire more. I’m sure
there are still jobs for the lads. But it’s always been really important to us at the Featured Artist Coalition (FAC) to have a mixed Board, not just of sexes but of age groups and genres. What do you think is the biggest challenge for artists today? My concern is that we don’t respect our work enough. Once you do that then everything else follows. If you lack respect for your music, then the people you do business with also lack respect and the people who hopefully buy it lack respect too. For me, the concern has always been to take responsibility for your work, be proud of your work. If you’re not proud of it, you shouldn’t be doing it. We are able to actually reach people and articulate things in ways that no other art form can. We have a huge function in society and I’d like everybody to feel like that, to have a sense of pride that they’re involved in music. sandieshaw.com
Go online for the full interiew with Sandie Shaw
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Pulp - The Leadmill, Sheffield May 2015
Pulp, one of Britain’s most loved groups, recently received a PRS for Music Heritage Award at The Leadmill in Sheffield, the venue where the band first performed on 16 August, 1980. The group went on to achieve huge success in the UK and beyond, selling millions of albums and playing massive gigs, including Glastonbury in 1995 where Common People became an anthem during their headline set. Here frontman Jarvis Cocker looks back on that first gig… Pulp was a band I’d formed with my friends. I was 16, just a naïve teenager and the rest of the group were even younger. We were still at school. The gig was a festival for the launch of a compilation of local bands called The Bouquet of Steel, which came out in 1980. The venue was so new, it had only just stopped being a bus garage. There was no official bar or anything. Just some trestle tables with cans of beer on. Everyone was sat around at the back with lots of people crosslegged on the floor. Dogs were wandering around and kids were crawling about. Our stage time was half two in the afternoon and there was probably about 50 people there. Strangely enough it went all right. We were second from the bottom of the bill. The bass player fell off stage. We messed up a bit but it
was also the first ever review we got. The review was written by Russell Senior in his fanzine Bath Banker and he then went on to join the band later as guitarist and violinist. People found us to be so funny, because we couldn’t really play, so we got asked to play again. I think we even got asked to play the next night at the Hallamshire Hotel. And we kept getting invited back. It was good as I was only 16 and this allowed us to get away with drinking illegally. We were getting invited into clubs and I guess as you’re performing, no one can really ask you for ID. It was the beginning of alcoholism! But for any Sheffield bands coming through the local scene, you had to play at The Leadmill. You’re also going to see the band you’re influenced play there when you’re 16 too. On that stage we saw Suicide and Nico. It’s always been a great place to watch live acts as it’s got such a big wide stage so you feel close to the music. We did a Radio Sound City concert some years later at The Leadmill in 1991. After we’d played, I got talking to some girl who was telling me about going to Spike Island to go and watch the Stone Roses. She told me how everyone was shouting, ‘Get sorted for Es and whizz’. That’s where the inspiration for our song [and number two hit] came from.
“I'm a Full-Time Film & TV Music Composer Because of TAXI” My name is Dave Walton and I
live in Cape Girardeau, Missouri 2,042 very long miles from Hollywood.
I became a computer programmer in 1986 and thought my career in music was finished, over, kaput! 18 years later I decided to return to my first love and take my shot at becoming a Film and TV music composer.
Music Industry Contacts… Not!
If your town is anything like mine, there aren't a lot of movies or TV shows getting produced there. Actually…. none! I had no idea how to make music industry contacts or place my music in films or TV shows until I searched the Internet and found TAXI.
They Show You What Hollywood Needs
Dave Walton – TAXI Member
team also give me helpful, detailed feedback. Finally, a way to make sure my music gets competitive and stays that way.
You've Got to Have Friends…
TAXI's Forum and online community is second to none. I've made life-long friends who've helped me make my music contemporary and helped me with the business side of the music business as well. By building an incredible network of fellow members, I've collaborated, met publishers, signed more deals and learned the skills I needed to branch out and make my own music industry contacts. I recently finished scoring my 15th Independent Film!
Rather than trying to cold call music supervisors and producers in Hollywood, TAXI reverses the process and tells me what they currently need. I get tons of Film and TV opportunities for my music and the experts on TAXI's A&R
Living the Dream Getting Paid for My Music
Today, I'm a full-time Film and Television Music composer because of deals, placements and relationships I've made through TAXI. My music has been on ABC, CBS, NBC, ABC Family, Spike TV, the Inspiration Channel, the Hallmark Channel and BET. In 2008 alone I had 161 placements on Network Television and my royalties are coming in from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I love mailbox money! TAXI was the first tool I found to build my career in the music business, and it's the one I'd never give up. Without TAXI, I'd still be working at my day job. If you've been reading these ads year after year but waiting to join when your music is ready, wait no more! Join TAXI now and let them help you make it ready.
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Angel Recording Studios
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PRS for Music members' magazine - Issue 56 - June 2015