Classical composers fear cut in income

MANY composers of classical music are anticipating a drastic cut in their incomes this month when they receive their latest statements from the Performing Right Society, writes Martin Wroe.

In July, pounds 12m in royalties will be distributed to hundreds of composers but, for the first time, under a new system which the PRS claims will be more efficient and fairer. Under the new Live Music Distribution Scheme, instead of composers being paid on the evidence of programme returns from their work having been played in any venue in the country, they will now be paid only for work performed in a list of 550 'significant' venues.

It is feared that under the system little-known composers and those whose work is performed mainly in churches, bandstands, parks and community halls will lose out.

The PRS says the system will be fairer to pop composers - because at most pop concerts programmes are not sold and so could not be provided as evidence. The scheme's detractors argue it will lead to a reduction in the amount of new classical music composed.

'Our members are very concerned that they are going to incur substantial loss of income,' Heather Rosenblatt, general secretary of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain, said. 'There are as many as 10,000 venues in the country in which our members' work may be performed and choosing 550 is simply unfair.'

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