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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones The current state of folk music in UK (2105* d) RE: The current state of folk music in UK 16 Nov 19

"I'll give you an example a certain singer recorded a contemporary song with the writers permission. The writers recording and publishing company demanded he pay royalties. "

The problem there was that the writer was no longer in a position to give permission, he had assigned that right to his publisher. The publisher now owns the song and is the one entitled to the royalties. Hopefully the writer received a fair deal in return.

The publisher takes on the financial risks of publishing the music in return for being given the rights to make money from it. Ideally the writers and musicians will receive a fair deal, but all too often this is not the case, whether due to their naivety or the balance of power being in favour of the producer. The whole PRS/MCPS system is built around this model, which makes it difficult for individuals to receive royalties unless they are able to join these bodies, so it often works better for them to assign their rights to a publisher.

In the commercial music world the best an emerging artist can hope for is to tie themselves to one of the big labels and hope they don't get ripped off. Only once they are successful are they powerful enough to take back control after the initial contract ends. The folk scene is different, and it is increasingly common for musicians to act as their own publishers and retain control. Besides, most of the folk labels are cottage industries with close ties to the music and I have no reason to think they don't treat their artists fairly. However problems may still arise if they go out of business, as their ownership rights can then be acquired by anyone and don't revert to the artists (which was the cause of the Bulmer issue).

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