Could UK gov't funding be dependent on arts groups broadcasting their work?

Adam Sherwin, The Independent, 6/20/12

Jeremy Hunt, the [UK] Culture Secretary, urged organisations to embrace digital technology to reach a wider audience and warned that future [government] funding could be dependent on bodies making their work available digitally. Mr. Hunt did not say how the new channel would be funded but he promised that it would not be a traditional broadcaster which might challenge the BBC for licence-fee support. The plan was inspired by The Space, a pop-up digital arts channel set up by Arts Council England and the BBC, which lets viewers trawl through John Peel's record collection or watch hip-hop dancing from Sadler's Wells. Speaking to an invited audience at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Mr. Hunt said: "For too many cultural organisations, technology is still about having a good website instead of a tool to boost artistic innovation, help fundraising and reach new audiences. But should we turn The Space into something more ambitious? Could we turn it into a permanent brand new digital arts channel with live performances every night of our finest cultural offerings? Should we make it a condition of public funding that the recipients provide free of charge some of their content -- whether from museum exhibitions, live performances or parts or our heritage -- for a new digital arts channel? That way we can make sure that they reach more of the people who fund them through paying taxes. I don't think arts organisations will resist this at all because it's part of their core mission to make sure that their output is seen by as many people as possible." [However,] Arts Council England rejected Mr. Hunt's suggestion that funding should be dependent on participating in the digital channel. A spokesman said: "Rather than make it a condition of funding, right now we need to illustrate the benefits to arts organisations of willingly embracing the opportunities that digital technology presents." The Council said it was in discussions with the BBC about making The Space a permanent web operation.


In a test, radio broadcaster Clear Channel to pay royalties to musical artists

The Economist, 6/16/12

Frank Sinatra spent years fruitlessly lobbying Congress to change a 1909 royalties law, which requires radio broadcasters to pay composers but not performers. Broadcasters -- a more formidable lobby than artists or record labels -- have long fought any change, arguing that airtime gives singers free publicity. But this month the artists and labels have had some good news. On June 5th, Clear Channel Communications, America's largest radio broadcaster, announced a deal with Big Machine, a country-music label, to pay performance royalties on all its radio channels, terrestrial (i.e., over the air) and digital. The plan is for Clear Channel to pay the label and its artists a cut of its advertising revenue. The agreement indicates that Clear Channel plans to invest more in digital radio, the part of the industry that is growing. But unlike terrestrial broadcasters, digital stations are obliged by a 1998 law to pay fees to artists whenever a song is played. This skewed system has made life painful for digital platforms trying to build an audience, such as Pandora, which pays out more than half of its revenue in music royalties. "It's very tough to make business work online with these rates," says Tim Westergren, founder and chief strategy officer of Pandora. His firm has spent $50,000 this year lobbying Congress to change the law. Only 2% of Clear Channel's listeners are digital and 98% terrestrial, so the deal looks costly. But Big Machine supplies only a small proportion of Clear Channel's music. And paying a share of ad revenues hurts less than paying per song. The idea is to see what this does to the bottom line before negotiating with other labels. All eyes are now watching to see whether Clear Channel can make money from digital radio.


Commentary: This could put fragile classical radio stations out of business

Marty Ronish, blog "Scanning The Dial", 6/8/12

The recording industry is desperately trying to get Congress to legislate new royalty payments by media companies. The recording industry isn't selling records anymore so they're going after media's revenue. Does anyone really believe artists will benefit if the recording companies collect the royalties for them? Too many managers take their cut off the top. In classical music, the record companies charge the artists a scandalous amount to buy their own CDs to sell at concerts. Some big name record companies will record an artist and then fail to produce the recording but won't let the artist have it either. The classical radio stations still have a great relationship with artists. We support each other, with one critical exception: live orchestral music. American orchestra players and their union demand huge royalties before they will allow radio stations to air their live orchestral performances. This demand for royalties has kept American orchestras off the air for decades. The musicians' payments are not coming from radio stations. The orchestra has to raise the money to pay them. The new revenue-sharing deal made by Clear Channel is the first crack in the dam for requiring royalty payments to artists by radio stations.   It might be affordable to Clear Channel, but classical radio operates on a tiny margin. I don't want to deny musicians their income, but if an underpaid classical station has to pay royalties to the record companies, it will either stop broadcasting or start taking money to air certain artists, i.e., pay-to-play. If the royalty payments are legislated, they could very easily put the fragile classical radio stations out of business.


A new broadcast outlet for indie musicians where fans decide who gets most airplay

From the BN4IA website

The indie band Cutting Edge formed Broadcast Network For Indie Artists (BN4IA) in April 2012. The company is a broadcasting network for radio and music video that is aired by satellite throughout the world. The purpose of the BN4IA network is to give indie recording artist a level playing field when it comes to getting their songs on radio stations around the world. Besides the audience that is listening to us every day over terrestrial and internet radio stations, an additional 450 Million+ people can hear the music on BN4IA around the world by way of having a KU band receiver [And] anyone with a computer can receive the programming by simply logging onto our site and listening to the live feed. The best part of BN4IA: the listeners determine who gets the most airplay. Each time a listener emails a song request, the recording artist receives 1 point; 2 points if a listener visits their page site at BN4IA's Music Store, 4 points if a single song is sold and 10 points if an album is sold.

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