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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Why has the Musicians’ Union in the UK declined a pay rise for its session musician members?

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A rift seems to be brewing between report labels and the Musicians’ Union within the UK.

The MU works to set charges of pay throughout numerous areas of labor for musicians within the nation (the world’s third-largest recorded music market after the US and Japan, respectively), from periods on recordings to reside performances and educating charges.

MBW understands that the MU has been negotiating with the BPI, the commerce physique that represents main and unbiased report labels within the UK, over the previous 12 months, to extend the speed of cost made to working musicians for recording periods.

A supply tells us that the BPI made its remaining supply in January. The deadline to simply accept that supply was Could 31. An settlement wasn’t reached by that date, and musicians haven’t been given a rise to their charge of pay for recording periods.

 

BPI claims that it supplied the MU “a traditionally excessive” enhance of “almost 40% within the minimal charges paid to session musicians engaged on pop and rock recordings (15% for classical i.e. working with orchestras).”

That’s in accordance with Sophie Jones, BPI CSO and CEO, who tells MBW that the MU “dismissed” the supply, and moreover, “declined to even put this supply to its members to make them conscious and allow them to have their say”. (You’ll be able to learn Jones’ assertion in full under).

In opposition to a backdrop of a price of residing disaster, fueled by rising rates of interest, rising meals payments, rising power payments and wage stagnation, the query everybody within the UK music enterprise will probably be asking about this information right this moment is:

Why would the MU dismiss a suggestion of an elevated session charge of pay for its members?

The center of the difficulty appears to be that the MU is campaigning for session musicians to be paid streaming royalties for tracks they labored on along with a rise to the minimal charges paid to them for periods.

This contains “current catalogue recordings”, in accordance with the MU’s Common Secretary, Naomi Pohl.

“The minimal session charge is due a rise and has not elevated a lot in any respect up to now 10-15 years,” added Pohl in an announcement issued to MBW. “It has fallen considerably behind different session charges. Nevertheless, all session musicians, together with these on current catalogue recordings (who wouldn’t profit from an elevated session charge) deserve a royalty on streamed recordings. Session musicians do obtain royalties on radio play, for instance.”

In accordance with the BPI’s Sophie Jones, “the calls for that the MU are making on prime of [its] beneficiant deal,” are “neither viable nor affordable”.

Jones prompt that the MU’s demand for session musicians to be paid royalties “would finally influence featured artist and songwriter earnings whereas additionally lowering the flexibility of labels to help future expertise”.

Added Jones: “It ignores the best way by which session musicians are paid – free to work with whomever they select, normally as a part of a portfolio profession, and by way of a assured upfront charge that’s paid no matter a recording’s success or it even being launched in any respect.”

Commenting additional, the MU’s Pohl, instructed MBW that, “MU Committee members don’t really feel the supply is sweet sufficient to place to a poll of members.”

“MU Committee members don’t really feel the supply is sweet sufficient to place to a poll of members.”

Naomi Pohl, the MU

“The BPI have made a suggestion of a roughly 38% enhance on the £130 minimal session charge for industrial recording periods,” continued Pohl.

“There’s a 15% supply on the classical charges. Even with a 38% enhance, the session charge has barely elevated in 15 years and would stay decrease than different equal Musicians’ Union recording charges.”

Pohl added: “The BPI represents main report labels who’re making report income from music streaming whereas session musicians at present obtain no royalties in any respect, even when they play on large hits.

“The Union is campaigning to repair streaming and get royalties for all musicians, like on radio broadcast for instance. The BPI’s supply referred to remunerating session musicians for streaming however an uplift on the session charge wouldn’t assist the hundreds of musicians on common catalogue who obtain nothing in any respect. Additionally they need to bundle in another vital rights together with shopping for out an current royalty stream.

“All in all, the deal doesn’t come near addressing the music streaming concern or providing a good pay rise. The minimal session charge has been far too low, for a lot too lengthy. We hope for a greater supply and can proceed to marketing campaign for royalties on streaming.”

You’ll be able to learn the BPI’s assertion, from Sophie Jones, BPI CSO and CEO, in full under:


“The BPI and its report label members have supplied the Musicians’ Union a traditionally excessive enhance of almost 40% within the minimal charges paid to session musicians engaged on pop and rock recordings (15% for classical i.e. working with orchestras).

“This unprecedented rise addresses the truth that session musician earnings haven’t elevated since 2019, and haven’t risen as rapidly as these of artists and songwriters within the streaming period. This supply additionally recognises the price of residing challenges confronted by all employees, and is nicely above lots of the negotiated settlements being reached in different elements of the financial system.

“It’s disappointing that the MU declined to even put this supply to its members to make them conscious and allow them to have their say, and easily dismissed it – citing technical procedures.

“The calls for that the MU are making on prime of this beneficiant deal, together with royalty funds on previous recordings the place musicians have already been paid on agreed phrases, are neither viable nor affordable. What the MU is asking would finally influence featured artist and songwriter earnings whereas additionally lowering the flexibility of labels to help future expertise; and it ignores the best way by which session musicians are paid – free to work with whomever they select, normally as a part of a portfolio profession, and by way of a assured upfront charge that’s paid no matter a recording’s success or it even being launched in any respect.

“When you look to the world of movie and TV for comparisons, this transfer can be like movie corporations being requested to retrospectively pay a royalty to all of the solid and extras engaged to work on a challenge.

“The supply we now have made would profit session musicians with a assured pay rise while enabling report corporations to additionally help featured artists and future funding. At a time when our business faces many widespread challenges, not least with AI, which poses a specific menace to musician livelihoods, it is important that all of us work collectively in a spirit of collaboration to develop the UK music market and music exports to the advantage of all. We urge the MU to assume once more and seek the advice of their members on this vital supply.”Music Enterprise Worldwide

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