PPCA Patron Program
7 May 2013
Back in March 2012, we launched the PPCA Patron Program. The Program was set up with the aim of better educating artists, records labels and businesses around Australia on the work PPCA does in safeguarding the rights of Australian artists.
When it was launched, we welcomed Clare Bowditch and Tim Levinson (Urthboy, The Herd) on board as the first Patrons. Earlier this year, we had the great privilege of adding singer-songwriter Josh Pyke and Something For Kate front man and solo artist Paul Dempsey as new Patrons.
All four artists are well-known and respected faces in the Australian music industry. They’re also passionate advocates for the rights of artists. Their role in the Patron Program is to expand on the great work current PPCA Artist Board Representatives Lindy Morrison and Graeme Connors continue to do in ensuring that all Australian artists are aware of the benefits of registering their works with PPCA.
Supporting Australian artists and their valuable contribution to the cultural landscape of this country and beyond has continued to be one of the main objectives of PPCA throughout its 40-plus years. At the end of 2012 we distributed more than $29 million to our registered artists and labels, an increase of 13% on the previous year and the largest distribution in PPCA’s history.
This is a great result for our local artists, and highlights the importance of registering with PPCA if you’re an artist or record label.
Tim, Paul, Josh and Clare are all registered with PPCA and are wonderful advocates whom we’re proud to call part of the PPCA team.
The 7th Australian Music Prize
5 April 2012
I recently had the honour of co-hosting The 7th Australian Music Prize, which took place at The Basement in Sydney on March 8. This year, a new winner’s event was introduced. Scott Murphy (director and founder of The Amp) and I sat down mid-last year and talked about how we could add to the current winners event; how we could increase the value of the event for the industry and our artists; a chance to come together, discuss ideas, network and more importantly celebrate the winning album in a more formal environment – which is when we decided on a lunch of sorts, with a focus on discussing the important issues affecting our industry, as well as celebrating the winner. This is how ‘Amped up in Conversation’ was born. It was great to see it come to life in 2012.
The Australian Music Prize is a prestigious award. It was established seven years ago to discover, reward and promote Australian music excellence. It does this by appointing an independent team of judges to listen to entries and collectively choose what they believe to be the best nine album releases for the calendar year. It’s been likened to the Mercury Music Prize in the UK, and the talent on the shortlist is definitely of international calibre.
PPCA has been a proud sponsor of The Australian Music Prize since it was established in 2005. This year our team was proud to return as the major partner of The Amp, donating the $30,000 cash prize. It’s a gesture of our continued and passionate support of Australian artists and their work.
This year, The Jezabels’ album Prisoner was awarded the $30,000 prize. They’re making a huge impact both here and internationally, and it’s no surprise. I recommend picking up a copy of Prisoner if you haven’t already heard it.
However, as with almost every other year, both the winner and shortlist encountered its fair share of controversy, which is no surprise when you consider how passionate people are on the subject of music. In fact, it’s great that The Amp has opened up such spirited public debate - we wouldn't want it any other way. Let’s not forget though that the nine shortlisted albums were all fantastic pieces of work, and a terrific representation of the Australian music landscape at the present time. These entries and the artists who produced them are promoted to both a national and international audience and experience many career opportunities as a direct result.
In conjunction with our new winner’s event, we were thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker David Fricke. An internationally respected music journalist for the US Rolling Stone, David Fricke has been a critical authority on Australian music in the U.S. for more than three decades. He wrote early international stories and reviews on INXS, Midnight Oil, the Church and Silverchair, among others. He’s known worldwide for his “Fricke’s Picks” and “Alternative Take” columns in Rolling Stone and his groundbreaking interviews with some of the biggest artists in the industry. He gave a passionate speech at The Amp, inspiring both music industry guests and music fans in attendance to reflect on the amazing amount of talent our country has produced over the years. It was a truly inspirational keynote, and one that reminded me why we devote our lives to the support and celebration of music.
The PPCA and the Amp have always had a shared objective – supporting our artists and celebrating their important contribution to the Australian music landscape. At PPCA, we have a passionate and dedicated team who work hard year-round to ensure that Australian artists receive fair compensation for the public use of their recorded work. We always want to underscore how important it is for artists to be registered with us. We had a great result at the end of 2011, when we distributed a record amount to the recording artists and labels registered with the PPCA. It really is a pleasure to know that $25 million went back to artists and labels, allowing them to continue making the music that everyone in Australia loves so much. And while the PPCA is proud of this result, we will continue to fight for the rights of artists and copyright holders in 2012 and beyond. While there continues to be challenges faced by our industry, it is important to also place emphasis on the outstanding amount of talent that we’ve seen in the past twelve months.
The Amp and the PPCA have a truly great synergy, and we share a rewarding relationship. We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Amp in the future.
Congratulations Boy & Bear
29 November 2011
PPCA were proud to sponsor the Breakthrough Artist – Single and Breakthrough Artist – Album categories at the recent 25th anniversary ARIA Awards. Sydney band Boy & Bear were announced as the winner for both of these awards, presented on 27 November at Allphones Arena in Sydney.
The list of nominees for both Breakthrough Artist awards was very impressive, and it’s great to see so much new Australian talent emerging each year. Previous winners of the Breakthrough Artist Award include Missy Higgins (2005), Delta Goodrem (2003), The Living End (1999) and Silverchair (1995), all of whom have gone on to enjoy great success in the Australian music industry.
No doubt Boy & Bear also have a very exciting future in music. The five-piece, formed in 2009, can already boast of some pretty impressive achievements. In 2010, they won Triple J’s Unearthed J Award and have toured with Angus & Julia Stone, Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling.
Sponsoring the Breakthrough Artists awards is a great opportunity for PPCA to demonstrate our support of new Australian artists. We place great importance on being involved in initiatives that help them to develop in the industry.
On behalf of the team at PPCA, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Boy & Bear on their success at the recent ARIA Awards. We look forward to working with all of the nominated artists throughout their careers.
The Value of Music
28 July 2011
People love listening to music. Whether it’s in the car on a long road-trip, on their headphones as they commute to work or even just relaxing around the house, there is no doubt music lifts our mood, affects us on a personal level and ultimately determines how we act or behave.
One place in particular where music has a huge impact on behavioural patterns is in hospitality, especially in restaurants and cafes.
Studies have shown that the style or genre of music that you play has a huge effect on how your business performs by influencing customer behaviour - from creating a comfortable and enticing atmosphere, right through to helping manage table turnover.
For example, the use of contemporary jazz can create an up-market impression and suggests sophistication, while traditional Italian music can add an air of authenticity to your local pizza restaurant.
If you’re trying to manage table turnover, it is important to note that people eat and drink in time with music. Music that is up-tempo encourages customers to eat and drink faster, therefore freeing up tables, while slower-paced music will encourage them to sip slowly and stay longer.
At PPCA we understand the important role music plays in determining the success of our customers businesses.
We also understand inherently the time and financial sacrifice Australian artists make to create and deliver this music.
Therefore PPCA is a strong believer in our customers getting the maximum effect out of playing recorded music in their business, but also feel that the artists who created this music should be fairly rewarded.
At PPCA, we provide blanket licences so that businesses can play almost all copyright protected music from Australia and around the globe, with the net income from these licences being returned to the artists and record labels that produced it.
An example of this is PPCA’s Restaurant/Café licence - a licence which was in review and industry consultation from 2007 – 2009, after which a new tariff was settled upon that better served both our customers and artists.
The new tariff (phased in gradually from 2009 – 2014) better reflects the true value of recorded music being used in restaurants and cafés. Our aim was to make the tariffs fairer for licence holders by accounting for variables such as days of operation, average main meal price, liquor licensing, as well as considering the needs of restaurants and cafés in hotels and motels.
The beauty of a PPCA blanket licence such as this, is that it gives the restaurant or café owner complete control over the music that is played in their venue, allowing the licence holder to create the desired atmosphere and give customers the best possible experience.
The right choice of music is often just as important as great food or quality service when customers decide on their favourite restaurant and at PPCA we hope we can help deliver this music, so that it benefits both our customers and artists.
View more information about the Restaurant and Cafe Tariff *Study courtesy of Prof Charles Areni, Univeristy of Sydney – July 2010
A ‘Fair Go’ for Australian Artists – Graeme Connors
By Graeme Connors, 17 June 2011
The right to a ‘fair go’ is reportedly what most Australians put at the top of their values list. It is celebrated and appealed to by politicians and commentators as one of our finest collective qualities. In fact a 2006 Morgan Survey showed 91% of Australians believe a ‘fair go’ is the backbone of our society - but is this simply ‘lip service’ - or is it a genuinely held belief?
While you contemplate that question let me put another to you - How many Australian occupations or industries can you identify where the value of an individual’s labour and services or a company’s right to trade their products at market value is restricted by a 42 year old piece of Government legislation placing a ceiling on their earnings?
Let me help you out.
The answer is: The Australian Recording Artist and The Australian Recorded Music Industry - particularly in relation to the Broadcast of Copyrighted Australian recordings by Commercial Radio and ABC Radio.
Since 1968 a restrictive cap of 1% of the advertising revenue of commercial radio and half of 1 cent per head of population for ABC radio has been enforced by consecutive Governments. The Attorney-Generals speech during the passage of the 1967 Bill establishing the cap read “These limits have been set to allay fears expressed by both the commercial broadcasting stations and the Australian Broadcasting Commission that the payment of royalties for the broadcasting of records could impose a substantial financial burden on them.” From the very outset the legislation was introduced to benefit radio - against the interests of Artists and Recording Companies.
The current High Court challenge brought by the PPCA against CRA and the ABC - like so many legal battles is being fought on technical rather than ethical issues - discussions centre on ‘acquisition of property’ and ‘just terms’ - never a mention of the real elephant in the room – ‘protection of and unfair advantage to’ a $647million+ per annum Commercial Radio Business against a $384million per annum Recorded Music Industry - for anyone without vested interest in maintaining the status quo the inequity is blindingly obvious.
By the way - so you are aware - due to various discounts the current ‘paid through’ rate by commercial broadcasting stations is more like 0.4% of advertising revenue. Add this to shrinking CD sales globally and unprecedented piracy and you have an Australian Recording Industry well and truly in need of a ‘fair go’.
All sorts of threats have been made by spokespersons for CRA regarding possible ramifications should the cap be lifted - personally I’m at the point of – ‘Don’t pay – Don’t play’. Rather than accept this unjust situation why not withhold the right to broadcast Australian music until equitable terms are reached - ‘let commercial radio and the ABC pump out as much music that is not protected by Australian copyright law as they like until the 91% of Australians who do believe in a ‘fair go’ turn off their radios. As a society we get what we deserve – both with our Governments and our Artistic community.
I don’t believe in handouts - I don’t believe in protection - I do believe that a ‘fair go’ is still at the top of the list of Australian values and in time this issue will be resolved in a mutually beneficial way. What I propose is certainly radical but wouldn’t it be good to see it happen sooner rather than later.
Read more on the radio cap here
Cap and Rough Trade - Australian Recording Artists are the One per Centers of the Music Business.
By Greg Macainsh, 11 May 2011
Imagine if the government passed a law that stated that Australian cinemas were not required to pay more than 1% of their annual box office receipts to the makers of Australian films. I think most people would immediately understand the manifest unfairness of this. Investment in local productions would plummet and even the producers of the most spectacularly successful movies would find their returns to be far below those in other countries.
Not that people would stop writing scripts or making low budget opuses –that’s what the creative psyche is born to do. However the drop in level of excellence and quality that comes from inadequate rewards in return for the risk involved would be obvious. In a free market based economy the inhibition on return and the absence of a level playing field when it comes to negotiating such would be laughable in 21st century Australia.
However the above scenario is not some imaginary hypothesis. Australian recording companies and artists have been living with this draconian inhibition on their creative capital since 1969 in regard to royalties for airplay in this country. Under this, still current law, Australian radio does not have to pay Australian recording artists or their record companies more than 1% of their revenue. The actual figure paid, after discounting, is far less at approximately 0.4%. This is pretty close to world’s worst practice. Songwriters on the other hand don’t have to suffer this indignity when negotiating for their airplay royalties.
Bean counters no doubt salivate at such a one-sided income versus expenses ratio. One of the key ingredients of music radio i.e. Australian recordings, can be obtained at a government regulated, discounted market price – fantastic! A text book buyers’ market. Furthermore it is not as if the creators of Australian music can go anywhere else in their home country to get their works heard on radio at a fair price. The current law covers the whole playing field when it comes to commercial broadcasting and artists and their companies legally cannot withhold their work from broadcast.
Somehow the radio lobby has convinced some politicians that their electorates will be devoid of a local radio station if commercial broadcasters have to pay one cent more for the use of local music on their playlists. For this they should be applauded for achieving what Socrates was executed for: making the weaker argument appear the stronger. All this against a backdrop of continued profit increases for commercial radio. You just know that if Lachlan Murdoch is buying a 50% stake in dmg Radio Australia he’s not backing a sinking ship.
As one former cabinet member confided to me while I was engaged in lobbying in Canberra on the issue: “The music industry has the economically moral high ground on this”. Undoubtedly, but whether any side of politics has the courage and common sense to put principles ahead of petty horse trading of issues and vote to repeal the offending section of the Copyright Act remains to be seen.
I fantasize that one of the independents that currently holds the balance of power at present might refuse to pass any other piece of legislation until section 152(8) was repealed. But then again I’m probably living in the 1970s when conviction and principle were slightly more valued perhaps.
Of course the Australian music business has produced some great successes despite having one hand tied behind it’s back by this inequitable state of affairs. However one wonders just how much more flourishing it could have been if recording companies and artists had been able to invest more in their acts and careers. Undoubtedly there were some great local talents who never made it to Obama’s IPod because the investment returns to justify the R&D just wasn’t there.
I’ve scoured the web looking for a blog where Australian recording artists actually support their right not be able to negotiate freely for the value of their work but haven’t been able to find it. If you do then let me know.
Former PPCA Board member, former APRA Board member and former member of Skyhooks.
Read more on the radio cap here