BBC Trust Service Review: Network Music Radio

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1 BBC Trust Service Review: Network Music Radio 29 October

2 29 October 2014 MPA response to the BBC Trust service review: Network Music Radio Background Information The MPA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the BBC Trust service review of Network Music Radio. The Music Publishers Association ( MPA ) is the trade association for music publishers in the UK, with over 260 members. Our members include all three of the UK s major music publishers, independent pop publishers, classical publishers, production music publishers and printed music publishers. For the purpose of this submission, the MPA response focuses solely on the BBC Radio 3 service licence. Separately, we have also contributed to, and fully support, the submission made by UK Music on behalf of all their member organisations. In reviewing the current service licence for BBC Radio 3, we have consulted with a number of prominent UK classical music publishers including Schott Music, Music Sales (incorporating Chester Music and Novello), Boosey & Hawkes, Faber Music, Oxford University Press, Universal Edition and Peters Edition. MPA comments on the terms of the current BBC Radio 3 service licence 1. General Observations We firmly believe that BBC Radio 3 plays a pivotal role in sustaining and developing classical music both within the UK and internationally. Whether it is as a broadcaster with well thought out programming and 2

3 scheduling, as a commissioner of new music or as an organisation providing opportunities for orchestras to perform and be heard the importance of BBC Radio 3 to the classical music community cannot be underestimated. Our members fully support and applaud the work of BBC Radio 3. Feedback from our classical music publishers, who interact most frequently with the station, has generally been extremely positive. Key points raised by these publishers are summarised below. 2. Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence Commissioning Radio 3 plays an extraordinary and valuable role as a commissioner of classical contemporary music and as such continues to meet the BBC s aspiration for Radio 3 to be one of the most significant commissioners of music in the world. Whilst there has been a decline in commissioning over the past decade, it has perhaps not been as dramatic as first feared following the publication of Delivering Quality First in Given the importance of the BBC to the development of contemporary classical music in this country, we ask that the BBC Trust as a minimum - maintains current levels of spending on new works. Any further cuts to the commissioning budget would diminish the standing of British classical contemporary music in the global context and would also damage the careers of those involved in creating and performing classical works. Frequently, a newly commissioned work is only broadcast once on Radio 3. Given the high level of investment made in creating these new works, it would be encouraging if this could be improved. One suggestion is to circulate commissioned music within the BBC orchestras over the years following a premiere, as a way of proactively sharing and promoting new repertoire. Following the departure of Andrew Kurowski (who brought with him an extraordinary level of specialist knowledge), our members are keen to see a pool of music producers within Radio 3 with sufficient expertise to be able to navigate the often complex and varied world of new music commissioning. 3

4 Programming The live performance element of programming remains strong. With regards to the commitment to expose listeners to new and sometimes challenging material they may not otherwise experience, we recognise the efforts made to include contemporary classical music in Radio 3 programming, although it is disappointing that sometimes this is pushed to the margins of the schedule. 3. Promoting education and learning Whilst the quality of the programming on Radio 3 is generally of a very high level, some members felt that there could be greater input into supporting listeners exploration of music and the arts. There are many musical commentators who are not heard on Radio 3 and whose views could be both enlightening and informative. Our members would be happy to work with the BBC to provide access to a wider range of contributors. These could include composers and academics, who would be able to provide the station with some distinct and stimulating material. The New Generation Artists programme was picked out by members as being a successful combination of the BBC s commitment to both young artists and new music. The launch of BBC Music has been welcomed by the music community and is a sensible way of bringing together the many and varied areas of music in which the BBC is involved. The BBC Ten Pieces project is an excellent example of how the BBC can pool its resources for outreach projects and fulfil its public sector remit. There is, however, disappointment amongst our community that British contemporary classical music is not better represented. 4. Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK The on-demand availability of live music and programming on the iplayer, as well as features such as BBC Playlister are valuable tools for Radio 3 listeners. We would be keen to see these tools available 4

5 internationally rather than only in the UK. This would be particularly helpful in the area of niche contemporary music programmes and would further Radio 3 s existing achievements in connection with its licence requirement to reflect UK culture to the world. We also believe that unlocking the BBC archive is an important step to further the reach of new music. 5. Recommendations Radio 3 is unique: it is the world s leading commissioner of classical music, it curates and executes the Proms, it is a trusted and revered broadcaster of classical music, it offers a wide range of performance opportunities for musicians, provides access to content via its website and on-demand technology and delivers a number of outreach programmes. Radio 3 is an ideal example of how the BBC fulfils its contribution to public value: by providing a service the market could never provide. In order to maintain this position, we call upon the BBC Trust to ensure that Radio 3 is not subject to any further funding cuts which would damage its ability to continue as a world leading commissioner of new music. We would like to see a continued commitment to broadcasting a broad range of music and ensuring sufficient airplay of new commissions on broadcast radio as well as during the Proms season. It is vital that Radio 3 retains its FM status (the reach on DAB would significantly reduce the audience for this station) and that there is continued investment in the on-line and on-demand services which serve to extend the reach of the station. Chris Butler Chairman, MPA Sarah Osborn Chief Executive, MPA Contact Details: Harriet Finney Head of Public Affairs Tel: /

6 About the MPA: The Music Publishers Association ( MPA ) is the trade association for music publishers in the UK, with over 260 members, representing nearly 4,000 catalogues covering every genre of music. Our members include all three of the UK s major music publishers, independent pop publishers, classical publishers, production music publishers and also printed music publishers. We estimate that our members represent around 95% of publishing activity in the UK. The vast majority of our member companies are small or medium sized enterprises. Many of our member companies are multi-disciplinary music companies, operating not just as music publishers but as record labels, managers, promoters, producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The MPA is the owner of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and of Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL), which licenses the copying of sheet music in schools. 6

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