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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PCAM Committee
— From the PCAM Chair
— PCAM Winter Social Event
— PCAM/PRS Mental Health Seminar
— New PCAM Podcasts
— Tonic Rider Peer Support Group
— Virtual Assistant
— Pitch Standard 2.0
— AI Summit
— Survey for Autistic/ADHD Musicians
— Sample Agreements on PCAM Website
— International Composition Competition
— Notes from the PCAM Committee Meeting: 12 September 2023
— Remaining Committee Meeting Date in 2023
— Case Study from the PCAM Helpdesk
— PCAM Q&As Volume 3 now available
— PCAM Social Media
MESSAGE FROM THE PCAM CHAIR
Dear PCAM Members,
As PCAM Chair, I want to provide an honest assessment of the current landscape for advertising music production in the UK – and there’s no question it’s been a challenging stretch.
According to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, UK ad spend decreased 6.2% in 2022 compared to 2021. Early forecasts for 2023 predict continued contraction, with the AA/WARC projecting a decline of 5.8%.
This downward trend is being echoed across Europe, with Zenith forecasting ad spend drops of 7% in Germany and 5% in France this year.
Budgets continue to tighten across the board as brands grow cautious in uncertain times.
We’re seeing huge variation — some projects pay handsomely, while others expect world-class work on shoestring funding. The middle ground is falling away. Performing rights demands still crop up in more and more contracts and this is especially troublesome for new or younger composers without leverage. All signs point to a market still very much under strain.
However, the days ahead look brighter, in part because the UK still boasts exceptional creative talent.
Our music companies and composers are showing no shortage of imagination and innovation despite the hurdles. While London has slowed, regional agencies and niche brands eagerly seek out innovative production partners.
At PCAM, our mission remains unchanged: empower composers through guidance, connections and advocacy. We must confront contracting abuses head-on by arming the next generation to recognise and reject unethical terms. Mutual support combats the divide-and-conquer mentality of some negotiators.
United, I believe our community has the insight and passion to uphold creative standards. Our committee will continue working tirelessly to foster a culture where the worth of music makers is recognised. Please reach out to us if you feel PCAM can better assist you. Together, we will navigate the ups and downs.
PCAM WINTER SOCIAL EVENT
Plans for this year’s PCAM Christmas social event are in full swing and further details will be announced over the coming weeks. Just to note, this will be held in a central London venue and will likely follow on from our next Committee meeting (date tbc).
PCAM/PRS Mental Health Seminar
In early December, we’ll be holding a seminar taking a post-pandemic look at mental health in the music industry, hosted at PRS for Music.
The full line-up of contributors will soon be announced, but we are delighted to confirm that Adam Ficek UKCP will be joining us, straight from the PCAM / PRS Members Fund Peer Support Group (see below). Further information will be circulated in the next couple of weeks.
NEW PCAM PODCASTS
Over the coming months, PCAM will be recording and launching a new set of PCAM Podcasts. The content will fall into two series:
1) “How to ….” Topics will include quoting and budgeting, royalties and publishing, soundalikes, and others.
2) Conversational, covering such topics as Minding your Own Business, Artistic Integrity v Following the Crowd, Working with Directors, and more.
Before we start recording, we’d like to know If there is a subject that is close to your heart that you think might make a useful podcast – perhaps with you recording it! If you would like to get involved, please let us know. We’ll be delighted to hear from you! For further information, contact email@example.com.
TONIC RIDER PCAM PEER SUPPORT GROUP
This is a final reminder that the deadline for registrations for the Free Peer Support Group for PCAM members is Thursday 19 October. There are limited places available, so if you are interested, please register now.
The six weekly lunchtime sessions will commence on Wednesday 25 October, all online and completely free of charge.
This Peer Support Group aims to support composers of applied music by providing an open space for them to share their experiences with fellow professionals, with the hope that, once the sessions are over, the participants will continue to support each other.
If you’re unsure if this is for you or have questions to ask, please contact Michelle at PCAM (in complete confidence) on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start date: Wednesday 25 October (six weeks of sessions)
Time: 12:00-1:30 pm (online)
Group size: Limited to 12 participants
To register your interest for the PRS / PCAM Peer Support Group, please click here: Registration Link.
PCAM’s very own Project Coordinator, Michelle, also works as a Virtual Assistant for the music industry (her background is BASCA, BBC, Arts Council and various TV production companies).
If you would like some assistance with your administrative and daily tasks, she’d be very happy to hear from you: email@example.com.
PITCH STANDARD 2.0
A new policy that is being rolled out for commercial production companies in Germany, “Pitch Standard 2.0”, could well be of interest to PCAM members.
The aim of the policy is to improve the pitching process for advertising productions, and the goal is to reduce pitch costs, improve transparency and promote better collaboration.
A key component is the “Pitch Cost Share” (PCS) model, where clients share some of the pitch costs. This is calculated based on the number of participating productions and the budget size. Recommendations include limiting pitches to three participants, sharing names/number of participants upfront, paying a “cancellation fee” if a project doesn’t succeed after a pitch, and producers owning pitch ideas/concepts.
“Pitch Standard 2.0” aims to reduce the estimated 30 million euros spent per year on pitches in this market, as well as the declining mark-up for productions. Benefits would include more resources for actual productions and promoting young talent.
Overall, “Pitch Standard 2.0” advocates for a more partnership-based and fair pitching process between clients and production companies. The goal is to improve quality, collaboration, and transparency, and reduce wasted effort and costs.
The PCAM Committee will be looking at how we can begin to promote this kind of approach in the UK.
The Ivors Academy, supported by PRS for Music and sponsored by DAACI, recently held an “AI Summit” to explore the effects of AI on music. Those present heard from policy makers, tech companies, collecting societies, and music makers who presented to a room full of creators who wanted to learn what making music in the era of AI may have in store.
A link to a full report on the Summit is here: https://ivorsacademy.com/news/ai-and-music-global-summit-wrapped-up/.
The PCAM Committee recently surveyed our members on their experiences with AI and their thoughts on what it might mean for the industry, and we will shortly set up a working group to explore this further.
Survey for Autistic/ADHD Musicians
Andrew Kingslow (aka The Neuro Muso), a multi-award-winning musician, composer, and producer, in collaboration with the London Autism Group Charity and the University of Bedfordshire, is announcing the launch of a comprehensive survey tailored for Autistic, ADHD and neurodivergent musicians, artists, and producers.
This initiative aims to gain unprecedented insights into the challenges and barriers faced by the Autistic, ADHD and neurodivergent community within the music industry.
Diagnosed as autistic three years ago, Andrew has since embarked on a journey of self- discovery and advocacy. With a successful career spanning several big-selling albums, hundreds of published tracks, and numerous accolades for advertising and writing to picture, Andrew now aims to leverage this platform to shed light on the neurodivergent spectrum within the music realm.
“This survey is more than just a collection of data,” says Andrew. “It’s a reflection of personal experiences, struggles, and the overwhelming nature of the ever-evolving music industry. With platforms like TikTok driving the music narrative, it’s crucial to ensure they are accessible and friendly for the neurodivergent community.”
In collaboration with Simkins, a leading entertainment law firm, efforts are being made this year to initiate conversations surrounding the experiences of creative neurodivergent individuals within the music sector. These efforts involve organising insightful discussions and events focused on raising awareness and offering support, and the first collaborative event is scheduled for November 2023.
Andrew will also be addressing this topic at the Future Music Forum in Barcelona.
The ultimate goal of this initiative is to collaborate with industry giants and advocate for a more inclusive and understanding environment. With backing from prominent music charities in the UK, including PRS, MMF, and BAPAM, momentum is steadily growing.
Andrew adds, “The music industry is vast and diverse. It’s time we ensure it’s also inclusive from the neurodivergent point of view. This survey is just the beginning.”
Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Chair of the London Autism Group Charity and a principal lecturer in public health at the University of Bedfordshire, adds, “The London Autism Group Charity and the University of Bedfordshire are delighted to support this truly ground-breaking survey. We think it will be a key step in understanding and addressing the key issues neurodivergent musicians face.”
To access the survey, please go to https://tinyurl.com/nd-musicians.
For more information or to participate, please contact Trina Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com.
Sample Agreements on PCAM Website
PCAM has recently added two Ivors Academy templates to the PCAM website to give our members a steer should they need to use or sign a Commissioning Contract or Sync Licence.
These templates were drafted to safeguard the interests of songwriters and composers as fully as possible according to current industry norms, and such agreements directly affect the rights of members to exploit their works.
However, these contracts are provided as an educational resource only, and we strongly recommend that you seek independent legal advice before entering into any agreement if you do not yet retain a lawyer.
The Explanatory Notes below are intended to highlight some issues particular to each contract. This does not constitute legal advice and PCAM cannot accept any responsibility for action taken as a result of information provided herein.
PCAM shall have no liability for any damage caused by errors or omissions in any information, contract, website section, instructions, or scripts provided by us in connection with the contracts.
Explanatory Notes –
Exclusive licence: a license granted on an exclusive basis will mean that the Licensee will have sole control over the works and that the writer cannot enter into another agreement for the same works.
Non-exclusive licence: if an agreement is made on a non-exclusive basis, the writer is free to sign other agreements or licence their works to other parties without compromising the first agreement. In the case of publishing agreements, for example, this can occur in respect to songs other than those assigned in the contract (i.e., it is non-exclusive in respect of the writer as a composer but exclusive on the songs assigned).
Licensor: the person or organisation who wishes to place your music to film.
Sample Commissioning Contract: this is a contract for services where a composer is asked to create music under specific instructions. Some commissioners may argue the doctrine of ‘work made for hire’ applies to the commission.
Joint songwriting agreement (collective works): this is where several individuals contributed to the work, but where the contributions to the work can be differentiated and the authors of the composition, lyric, and music are identified as different individuals.
Joint songwriting agreement (joint works): this is where several individuals contributed to the work, but where the contributions to the work cannot be differentiated and all contributors collectively own all the rights. Despite this collective ownership, shares of the income are distributed at the contributors’ discretion (subject to their agreement).
FIFTH International Uuno Klami Composition Competition
The Fifth International Uuno Klami Composition Competition will be held during 2023 and 2024 in Finland. Compositions must be submitted to the Competition Office no later than 4 December 2023.
The Jury will consist of composer Kalevi Aho (Chairman, Finland), composer Magnus Lindberg (Finland), composer Lotta Wennäkoski (Finland), composer Mats Larsson Gothe (Sweden), and, at a later stage, a conductor member, Anna-Maria Helsing. Here are some competition details:
— Prizes of 11,000, 9,000 and 7,000 euros will be awarded.
— There is no age limit or entrance fee.
— The competition will culminate in finals concerts at which the results will be announced and the prizes awarded. These concerts will be held in the autumn of 2024 in Kouvola and Kotka, Finland.
For more information on the competition, including rules in English, German, and French, please visit the competition website at www.klamicompetition.fi.
The competition can also be found on social media (Klami Competition).
NOTES FROM THE PCAM COMMITTEE MEETING: 12 SEPTEMBER 2023
The PCAM Committee held its most recent meeting on 12 September as a remote meeting.
The following Committee members attended the meeting: Paul Reynolds, Chris Smith, Tony Satchell, Simon Elms, George Hyde, Blair Mowat, Bankey Ojo, Michelle Murchan and Bob Fromer. PCAM member Alkis Livathinos attended as a guest.
Below is a rundown of the main discussion held during the meeting, on the current state of the industry.
A discussion about the state of the industry as perceived by PCAM Committee members produced a consensus that the writers’ strike in the United States has had an effect on the industry both in the US and the UK.
Bankey Ojo said that things were quiet with regard to composition and sound design, and, in part because of the writers’ strike, directors have been less busy.
Paul Reynolds agreed that the strike is creating pressure on production companies and commercials directors. Work with brands is ok, he said, but advertising in London is very quiet and production companies are not getting scripts.
Tony Satchell suggested that niche agencies outside London are busy and offering proper budgets, but agreed that London is very quiet.
Simon Elms said that in his experience, commercials are picking up, but budgets are either great or terrible – the middle ground has fallen away.
Blair Mowat told the meeting that a lot of drama production was happening in the UK at the moment, and because 50% of US crews aren’t working, British productions are reaping the benefit, with access to great crews. But a lot of people in the US are hurting, especially as there are signs that the strike could drag on into the new year, and “the strike has had a weirdly insidious effect on some UK stuff as well.”
Chris Smith had recently talked to ex-PCAM Committee member Mike Connaris, who said that the year had been awful with regard to commercials.
PCAM member Alkis Livathinos said he had found that budgets for commercials are being squeezed, while sonic branding work is being offered on the basis of some very shaky agreements.
This quick round-up was followed by a more general discussion about changes in the industry and what they mean for PCAM.
Chris Smith said that when PCAM began in the early 1980s, it was designed to regulate what happened in a specific sector of the industry. But now everything was being deregulated, and there seemed to be no way to take back control.
More and more agencies are internal brand agencies, Paul Reynolds said, and we have no way to take back control from them. We can only nurture the talent to look after themselves, and hopefully we can combine with organisations like the IPA and APA to do that, but we’ll never get back the control we had before. We can only protect the industry by looking after the writers.
Most production companies don’t nurture composers, Chris replied, they just have a database of writers who go from job to job. Companies like Big Sync and even some PCAM member companies are now just procurement agencies.
But we have examples of how we have supported production companies to behave better and more professionally, Paul said, even if the use of PCAM guideline rates is not as widespread as it used to be.
Tony Satchell added that almost all the requests he receives for PCAM Helpdesk advice is about supporting composers who are being exploited. All we can do, he said, is support individuals to get a proper fee and a proper contract and to understand the landscape in which they’re working. We want craftspeople to get paid for their work.
We’re no longer just herding a few sheep as in the old days, Blair Mowat added – the industry has totally fragmented. The result is a worrying tendency for contracts to make unreasonable demands for buyouts, including, occasionally, for the writer’s share of performing royalties. Younger composers are being bullied to roll over and agree to give away all their rights.
In this regard, Paul Reynolds will ask PRS for Music for a statement from their legal team that can be part of a response we can provide for composers who are asked for all rights — including those assigned to PRS.
PCAM Committee meeting dates in 2023
The final PCAM Committee meeting in 2023 is currently scheduled as an in-person meeting with facilities to attend remotely on Tuesday 14 November from 4.00-6.00 pm.
However, it’s possible that the date will be moved to later in November or early December, with the meeting followed by PCAM’s Christmas social event. More information will be circulated soon.
Going forward, the Committee also plans to hold two social events a year – either after a Committee meeting or separately – from 2024 onwards.
Any PCAM member interested in attending the next meeting should contact PCAM Administrator Bob Fromer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 are two question and answer exchanges from the PCAM Helpdesk (the questions are in black type and the Helpdesk answers are in blue). Although the first Covid-era question is old, the cancellation payments principle involved remains the same!
Q: We started work on a large job in January and worked for three months on it. In March thejob was completed, and we were told it was Agency-approved, and to send an invoice and Contract. The Contract was not signed and returned.
Then came the Covid lockdown, and the client got in touch and said that they had decided not to air the commercial, as they need to make cost cutbacks.
Can you advise us what is a fair amount to invoice in these circumstances? Would it be 50% of the invoice? Would it be adding up all direct costs? Can you let us know what you think is the best way to handle this?
A: The normal thing to do if a track has been commissioned then pulled before airing (Covid or not) is just to deduct the Licence Fee from the total that was originally agreed and invoice the balance stating the track is not licensed for broadcast. They are legally obliged to pay you.
In the same circumstances, if the track hadn’t been approved by the Client, I would also deduct a percentage (probably 50%) of the Composition Fee.
Q: I have had a request to extend the rights to an advertising composition for a UK Podcast for three months. The podcast will be streamable only. Are you able to advise on what percentage of the fee I should be looking at?
A: Assuming it’s not a major Podcast – the average podcast listenership is between 150-5,000 and if you have over 10,000 you are in the top 5% of Podcasts – I would charge 25% of your Composition Fee for a one-year licence, but you must charge what you feel is right.
PCAM Q&As VOLUME 3 NOW AVAILABLE
In 2021 and 2022, 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 recently 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.
NEW PCAM SOCIAL MEDIA
For all the latest news on PCAM seminars and workshops, our new series of Podcasts, plus industry-wide events and initiatives, be sure to follow PCAM on our socials.