Dear PCAM Member,
This is the latest in a series of Newsletters that we publish five times a year, following meetings of the PCAM Committee.
Each Newsletter contains a brief report from the recent Committee meeting, plus other current news and views and an edited version of a recent query to the PCAM Helpdesk.
This Newsletter contains news of an important partnership between PCAM and PRS for Music to provide support for PCAM members struggling with mental health issues.
We would like to receive more contributions to the Newsletter from PCAM members. If you want to write something for inclusion or send us a link to something interesting you have read or seen, please contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer on: email@example.com.
The PCAM Committee
— From the PCAM Chair: health support, writer rights and a not-so-summery outlook
— Get Paid Guide
— Sensoria Pro Event
— AI Survey
— Notes from the PCAM Committee Meeting: 13 June 2023
— Remaining Committee Meeting Dates in 2023
— Case Study from the PCAM Helpdesk
— PCAM Q&As Volume 3 now available
MESSAGE FROM THE PCAM CHAIR
Health support, writer rights and a not-so-summery outlook
Following our recent Committee meeting and meetings with PRS for Music, I’m pleased to announce that we are partnering with the PRS Members Fund to provide an incredible offer for PCAM members who are struggling with mental health issues.
We will very soon be able to announce details of a professional peer support group that will be completely free for a select number of PCAM members. I’m incredibly pleased that PRS for Music and the PRS Members Fund recognise the importance of the health of our industry and those that work in it. Details for applications, along with everything else you’ll need to know, will be sent to all members very soon.
In our last Newsletter, we dealt with a very tricky situation where a PCAM member unwittingly handed over the writer’s share of their publishing. Unfortunately, we continue to hear of cases where writers are being asked to surrender rights where they should not — or do not have the right to do so! There’s plenty of advice in our last Newsletter — ask us for a copy or check it out on the PCAM website if you don’t have it or haven’t seen it. Otherwise, don’t forget that a stern “No, I can’t legally surrender the writer’s share due to my agreement with PRS for Music, the UK Performing Right Society,” often stops that particular conversation progressing.
The latest Bellwether Report (Q2 2023) discussing trends and forecasts for advertising in the UK has been released by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising). The IPA was formed in 1917 and is the trade body and professional institute for agencies and individuals working in the UK’s advertising, media and marketing communications industry. Regular readers will know that I review these reports and provide you with the key insights that could have an influence on our trade.
The Q2 2023 report shows some resilience in marketing budgets amid economic turbulence. But whilst sales promotion (offers, discount deals etc) budgets saw a record increase as brands attempt to support customers during the cost-of-living crisis, main media budgets declined for the first time since Q3 2022 as brands are exercising caution. There has been a strong shift towards online advertising and video to drive performance, which means more content but less ‘hero’ work. However, experiential marketing budgets grew as demand for in-person events rebounded, which presents opportunities.
Overall, sentiment on financial prospects declined in Q2 but remained above the lows seen in 2022. Advertising spend is forecast to decline marginally in 2023 before returning to growth in 2025. 2024 is looking fairly flat, so creativity and innovation will be key for brands to maximise impact with constrained budgets. It makes sense to assume that creative agencies and brands will be looking to us for creative and innovative solutions using music and sound. For PCAM members, creative strategies to open new growth markets could pay off.
I hope that this Newsletter has found you having a good summer, whether that be with bountiful music briefs or a relaxing break … or both!
GET PAID GUIDE
We all need to better understand the importance of data when it comes to earning and paying music royalties. Music creators, publishers and managers are the first source of this music data, so the Ivors Academy and the Music Publishers Association, in a joint project with the UK government, has created the Get Paid Guide.
The aim is to make sure you understand exactly what data you (and any co-writers) need to input after a song or a jingle has been written. It’s this data which helps track where your music is used and makse sure you are paid what you’re owed.
The Get Paid Guide is the resource to have by your side whenever you’re registering works. It’s a simple, easy-to-use, one-stop guide on what you need to do to ensure you get paid. A quick look at its short videos, data checklist — and even a quiz! — will ensure you feel confident when inputting data for your musical works.
SENSORIA PRO EVENT
This year’s SensoriaPro Industry Day will be held on Friday 6 October 2023 from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm in the Showroom Cinema, Sheffield S1 2BX, supported by the PRS for Music Foundation, the Musicians’ Union, the British Council, Vietnam, and Film Hub North.
SensoriaPro is a unique, informal gathering of composers, filmmakers, music publishers, music supervisors, games developers, and festivals, all under one roof, to discuss the latest
innovations in music and the moving image. Here are some of the panel sessions (more to be announced):
WILL GREGORY & ADRIAN UTLEY
Will Gregory (Goldfrapp, Moog Ensemble and more) and Adrian Utley (Portishead and more), will be talking about collaborations in music and film, hosted by Joel Mills (British Council).
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF SYNC
Chi Chi Nwakodo, Senior Creative Sync Executive at Sony Music Publishing, will present a masterclass outlining what sync is, why it’s so important, how the landscape has changed, what the opportunities are, and how to negotiate.
SCORING CONTEST — Cities in Sync
The ever-popular Scoring Contest returns: a panel session that offers a unique challenge each year. Composers can submit music written to a specially selected film clip and a shortlist is then ‘critiqued’ by a panel of experts on the day and a winner selected by both the panel and the audience. This year sees a UK-Vietnam bilateral challenge, so delegates can choose from a Vietnamese film clip or a Sheffield-based archive film clip.
There will be one-to-one speed mentoring with industry experts.
SensoriaPro will also be hosting the MUSICIANS’ UNION BROADCASTING & RECORDING ROADSHOW.
REGISTER NOW: https://sensoriapro2023.eventbrite.co.uk
Discounted delegate passes (saving 25%) are available for PCAM members — you simply need to select the ‘Affiliate’ ticket type when booking.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Tickets include a grab bag lunch and closing drinks.
What past delegates have said:
“The people presenting were amazing, funny and friendly, and true inspirations.”
“It’s put us in touch with some great young up-and-coming composers.”
PCAM has recently sent a survey to members asking for experiences and opinions on AI, including whether it has affected members’ work so far and whether members expect it to do so in future.
So far, around 20 PCAM members have responded, and the responses have been extremely interesting, but it would be good to hear from a larger portion of the membership.
PCAM intends to set up a Working Group shortly to study this issue further.
If you have not yet completed and returned the survey, please do so no later than Tuesday 15 August.
If you need a copy of the survey, please contact Michelle Murchan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NOTES FROM THE PCAM COMMITTEE MEETING: 13 JUNE 2023
The PCAM Committee held its most recent meeting on 13 June as an in-person gathering at the offices of Massive Music in London.
The following Committee members attended the meeting — Paul Reynolds, Chris Smith, Tony Satchell, Jonathan Watts, James Bargent, and Bob Fromer. Guests were Greg Owens from Gas is Music and Anthony Hill from Fearless Music.
Here is a rundown of some of the main topics discussed:
Future PCAM Meetings. The Committee has decided that future PCAM Committee meetings will be held in person, for the time being at Massive Music, but with facilities for Committee members or guests to join remotely.
The Committee also decided that a social event open to all PCAM members (either held after a meeting or on its own) will be scheduled for late this year and that, from 2024, a minimum of two social events will be held per year.
State of the industry. A major topic in a discussion on the “State of the Industry” was the increasing demands being made for the assignment of all rights “in perpetuity” and other ways in which composers are being put under pressure and their livelihoods squeezed. A majority of those at the meeting had had recent experience of this trend.
These pressures may not always be coming from agencies as such – greedy clients as well as badly-trained agency producers can sometimes be responsible. Those requesting a full assignment of rights may not always understand the implications, particularly for publishing. In the case of audio branding, however, there may be some logic to brands wanting to own their “brand assets” in perpetuity.
With most composers now working on their own rather than through production companies, there is an increasing role for PCAM in defending the position of composers being exploited in an increasingly fractured environment.
Anthony Hill from Fearless Music pointed out that the MU are currently trying to educate composers in the “art of negotiation”, and John Groves, who has until recently run PCAM’s sister organisation in Germany, has written a book on this subject.
A PCAM Working Group set up after the last Committee meeting to increase PCAM’s visibility in the industry and to try to source more funding, consisting of Chris Smith, Rachel Menzies, Michelle Murchan and Bob Fromer, held its first meeting on 6 June. One of the decisions at the meeting was that a survey will be sent to PCAM and SCOREcast composer members about their current problems and what help they would like from PCAM.
PCAM website recommendations. Two related discussions followed the “State of the Union” section of the meeting, both relating to recommendations and guidelines given to members on the PCAM website and through the PCAM Helpdesk.
The first was around the advice we have traditionally given composers about budgeting. Our advice, on the website and through the Helpdesk, has been that composers budgeting for a commission should divide the budget into three areas:
- Composition fee
- Production costs
- Licence fees (based on multiples of the composition fee)
But there now seems to be tendency to combine the first two elements, which raises a number of questions. Do we need to change, or adapt, our traditional advice?
The second discussion was around the figures for licensing recommended in the PCAM Guidelines for internet use. With digital now the norm, our recommendations need to be raised, but this will have a knock-on effect on other recommendations.
Jonathan Watts, Simon Elms, Greg Owens and James Bargent will get together to consider these issues and propose new figures, and once these are agreed, the necessary changes will be made on the PCAM website.
Meeting with the Ivors Academy. Paul Reynolds and Bankey Ojo met recently with Tom Gray, Chair of the Ivors Academy. It became clear in the course of the discussion that, with regard to supporting media writers, the Academy is fighting for many of the same things that we are, but there is a knowledge gap about what PCAM has to offer.
The upshot was that the Academy would like to establish a much closer partnership with PCAM, and the next step will be to follow up on this conversation.
Additional PCAM staff member. If resources can be found, PCAM may be looking to take on an additional part-time staff member with experience in the industry to:
- Provide frequent quality social media communication on behalf of PCAM.
- Engage in business development and fundraising.
- Create and deliver materials and an outreach programme for universities, colleges and conservatories to help potential new practitioners address the changing nature of the industry.
- Create and deliver materials and an outreach programme through Roadshows, participation in industry events etc to help make the industry more coherent for the increasing number of freelance composers.
- Engage regularly with partners and potential partners for purposes of creating and maintaining fair practice in the industry.
Support for ECSA. Recognising the value of the work that ECSA (the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance) does on behalf of composers’ rights across Europe, the PCAM Committee has decided to respond to a call by ECSA for additional funding by adding £200 to this year’s affiliation fee.
ECSA’s annual October meeting this year will be in London, so we will definitely have a presence at the meeting.
PCAM Committee meeting dates in 2023
Remaining PCAM Committee meetings in 2023 will be held on the following dates from 4.00-6.00 pm.
- Tuesday 12 September
- Tuesday 14 November
These meetings will be in person but with facilities for people to attend remotely. The Committee will plan to hold a PCAM social event late this year and will hold two social events a year – either after a Committee meeting or separately – from 2024 onwards.
Any PCAM member interested in attending any of these meetings should contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer (email@example.com).
PCAM HELPDESK Q&A.
Tony Satchell writes:
Before this Newsletter’s Q&A example, I would like to point out something which is becoming more and more prevalent: people keep asking detailed questions about a job they are doing or going to do, basically asking for help from scratch.
While I’m extremely happy to explain things to the best of my ability and answer a specific question if I can, please remember that I really can’t run your business for you. Among many reasons (other than I don’t get paid for my pearls [or not] of wisdom), I can never truly know all the circumstances surrounding a job, which is absolutely integral to being able to quote and budget correctly.
Below is a recent question and answer exchange from the PCAM Helpdesk :
Q: Hey guys, I’m a composer and member of PCAM but have never quoted for mnemonics before. I’m creating a short sonic mnemonic to accompany a major company’s new logo sting. They only need one, but I have agreed to create a suite for them to choose from. The client has reached out to me to provide pricing, so how would I go about quoting for this?
A: You should quote a mnemonic or sting just like you would quote a full-length 30″ or 60″ commercial. It is far harder to come up with an effective/interesting three-second piece than write a three-minute track!
I don’t know if you’ve read the article under “Guidance / Fees & Usages / Advertising — How to Budget” on the PCAM website, but if not it would be worth a look: https://www.pcam.co.uk/advertising/advertising-how-to-budget-2/.
Q: I’ve got another question about a quote if you don’t mind. I’ve been tasked with creating a lot of content for a client and wasn’t sure how to quote. The deliverables are basically as follows:
2 Main videos: 1 x Video 30s MANIFESTO and 1 x Video 15s PRODUCT
4 Characters, each character has: 1 x 15s Video succeed, 1 x 6s Video fail, 1 x Video interview 2/3mins (this is a more classic interview with some footage inserts) and 1 x 15s Video found footage.
I normally charge £1200 for 45 seconds of music and sound design so that would cover the Main videos. But I’m not sure how to charge the Characters’ music. They’re not cut-downs; each character has its own sonic universe.
So it’s 4 x 4 videos for the characters, all with different sonic branding, so that’s 16 character films and then the two main films = 18 bits of content.
I don’t really know where to start and any advice would be much appreciated.
A: I’m a bit confused with your style of budgeting — £1,200 for 45 seconds of music is like charging music by the metre!
Quotes shouldn’t be based on the length of a piece of music. Also, a normal commercial Composition Fee is between £1,500-£4,500 and that’s without the addition of the Production Fee or the Licence Fee!
I refer you back to the advice in my last email, and you can also download a Budget/Quote Template at the bottom of the article, which should help you to get to grips with doing a professional Quote/Budget.
Q: I appreciate your reply, but on the website it says that if you seek professional advice, get in touch. With that in mind I was hoping for something slightly more in-depth.
I’m well aware of the budgeting page on your website and the quote template as well, but this doesn’t exactly help people who are doing lower levels of pricing for a unique set of deliverables.
A: I thought I was giving you “professional advice”.
I’m very happy to help (incidentally, like all the PCAM Committee, I give my time for free) but I’m not able to run people’s businesses or give them specifics as I will never know the actual facts of any particular situation, so I can only try to guide. You say unique deliverables – well, every job is unique in one way or another, hence not charging music by the second!
It’s not a question of the level of pricing — it’s the concept of how to price that’s important, which is why I suggest using our template. It’s there just to give you an outline of how to quote/budget professionally. The idea is that you follow the principles but adjust the figures to suit your pricing levels and the uniqueness of your deliverables and hopefully this should bring you to a sensible pricing conclusion. Sticking to a defined formula means that quoting or budgeting becomes easy and not just a stab in the dark.
What do you mean by “in-depth”? If I told you what I would quote for this job, which would be around the £9,000-£15,000 for the Production plus my Composition Fee of £4,000 and the License Fee on top of that (you don’t say where the product is being licensed), would that have helped you? I wouldn’t have thought so!
I certainly think that you are under-charging, but then that is up to you. Also, I thought I’d made it clear that all commercial music, whether it be a three-second sting, a 10-second logo, a two-minute piece or whatever, should be budgeted or quoted in the same way. So however you arrive at your fee for the “Main” music, use the same formula to charge for the “Characters’” music.
I hope this makes some sort of sense to you — if not get back to me.
Q: Thanks for your response, Tony.
I actually found it incredibly helpful, because for me it’s nice to gauge my pricing against an experienced member of the community. I ended up quoting £5k but they haven’t got back to me yet.
It’s difficult to quote what one thinks you’re actually worth because you end up pricing yourself out of work — and then you end up working incredibly hard and long hours for a minimal return.
But anyway, your response has actually really helped because it has enabled me to see that I’m not actually over-charging, and people are just trying to drive a hard bargain. That always seems to happen with music anyway.
PCAM Q&As VOLUME 3 NOW AVAILABLE
In 2020 and 2021, an edited selection of questions sent to the PCAM Helpdesk in the previous year, and the answers provided by PCAM Committee member Tony Satchell, have been published on the PCAM website.
Now, a new selection of Helpline Q&As from 2022 has been published here: https://www.pcam.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Heldesk-Volume-3.pdf.
Because many people often ask similar kinds of questions, perusing these questions and answers may be helpful, especially for new members.