4BR article on recording performances at contests

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Anglo Music Press, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Further to my comments in the following article:-


    I would like to explain my views on the matter a little further.

    It is specifically mentioned in Soundcloud's terms and conditions:-


    that posting copyright material on the site without permission is illegal. I'm sure many users are not aware of this condition, so feel it needs to be pointed out. (I haven't yet found an equivalent proviso on YouTube, but hope it exists)

    Why is it illegal? Firstly, it is not permissible to record performances at concerts or contests unless a facility fee or licence has been paid to the organisers or venue. This is how World of Brass, for example, produce official recordings.
    Secondly posting a recording on Soundcloud, as mentioned, is illegal unless you own the copyright in the piece and the recording, or get permission form whoever does.

    It is not a particular concern that such uploads are directly depriving composers of income, but it does worry me that such 'broadcasting' means that many players and conductors are now using YouTube and Soundcloud as points of reference; this has had a direct and significant impact on CD sales. Many such posted performances are poorly recorded (and sometimes poorly performed) and can therefore constitute an inadequate representation of the work.
    Composers do in fact have 'paternal rights' which allow them to prevent the broadcast or recording of performances they feel do not present the piece in the best light. Never used this myself, but been tempted....!

    I don't have a cure for this disease, as the digital genie is already out of the bottle, but it does appear that PRS are prepared to act on behalf of its members, should an infringement be notified to them.

    Think on!
  2. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    If more contest organizers could be persuaded to record performances professionally the temptation to make your own would be much reduced.

    How much do World of Brass (or others?) charge to record contest performances? Or do they make their money from selling recordings to bands?
  3. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    I completely agree with all this (especially the above sentences).

    But I wonder if someone could advise where a band would stand on recording say, a run through of a piece before a contest or concert and either listening back in the band room, or emailing a recording of a run through to members to allow the very useful tool of hearing back a band's overall performance?

    Are we saying so long as it's not shared publicly, or on a public platform then there is no issue?
  4. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure they PAY to record contest performances and recoup via CD sales.
  5. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Not sure of the exact legal position here, but that would not a) be in breach of any 'venue' licence, or b) be broadcasting the work or recording. I'm sure that would not reasonably be deemed to be any sort contravention.
  6. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member


    That's what I thought/hoped.......Thanks!
  7. PRS are absolutely 100% right to go after 'amateur' musicians in this way. They are the devil, and should be stopped at all costs from recording performances that they themselves have probably been in.

    Amateur musicians have absolutely NO right whatsoever to take any form of enjoyment or pride from the music they perform, and should definitely not have the opportunity to listen again to a performance that they have probably worked months and months on. (not without lining the pocket of the composer of course, who has probably already been paid a fee to use the piece in said environment, paid a fee by PRS, and not to mention the sales of the music itself.)

    I know brass bands are only amateur musicians, but that doesn't mean they can't be a cash cows too!! Hey after all, composers don't write music just for the love of the art you know, it's all about the cash!!!

    If brass bands want this opportunity to listen to a recording, they should ask the lovely sound engineering professionals who go to every brass band contest, and ask them if they can buy a copy. Alternatively, contact the composer prior to recording it, and negotiate a fee.

    There are millions of people downloading films, tv shows and albums, every single day. But the important thing is that PRS do what is right, and go after one of the most declining musical institutions, where 99% of the movement is made up of volunteers, and where practically no money or funding exists.

    GO PRS!!!
  8. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    Oh Dear! I fear that I may have inflamed an already contentious situation by inviting public opinion over the comparative quality of performance regarding one of your works performed in the 3rd section at Butlins last weekend. Please accept my apologies sir,my intention was to solicit comment on the relative placing of the contenders, and not to encourage the further illegal broadcasting of your music, for which I have the greatest admiration. As you rightly point out, many are poorly recorded and some poorly performed, including winning performances. Once again sir, sincere apologies.
  9. sopranoplayer

    sopranoplayer Member

    Hope you don't mind me asking but are you the same Lindon Bolt with 10 brass band recordings posted on soundcloud?
  10. joelm01

    joelm01 New Member

    I'm not condoning these recordings, but in my opinion, the reason why there are an increasing amount, is that there are hardly any opportunities to hear your own performance on the contest stage. At the Yorkshire Areas, they have sound engineers who record every performance over the weekend, and then give every band a cd of their performance with the adjudicators comments sheets. This provides the band the opportunity to listen back to their performance and (probably) reduces the liklihood of illegal recordings.
    Last year WoB started recording the Europeans and Nationals and realeasing them on World of Brass Tunes giving people who were not there the opportunity to hear a professionally recorded performance.
    I for one don't mind paying a couple of quid to get a proper recording of a contest performance rather than having a very poor quality one.
    If WoB and others could make recordings more easily available (such as making the British Open recordings available on World of Brass Tunes for example) or go down the Yorkshire area route, we proabably would have less illegal tracks online.
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Depends on lots of variables....where it is....what you want doing...how you want it delivering....how many concurrent venues you're recording in...bit of a string length question I'm afraid Steve :)

    Depends on the situation Philip...sometimes it works like that or in some situations the contest organisers build the recording fees into the entrance fee, for example, and pay a balance engineer to provide archive copies for the bands.

    Alternatively, sometimes the company can approach the contest organisers and charge bands directly per copy - that's how it was when I did the Scottish Open and Youth Championships a few years ago.

    I like the logic....but unfortunately it's flawed.

    Many of the recordings you find of the Yorkshire Area uploaded onto the likes of Soundcloud are rips off the official CDs.

    I've had a few discussions about this kind of thing over the years with various contest organisers and their overwhelming opinion at those times were that bands already feel that the're paying too much for test pieces, entrance fees, travel to and from venues, hotels......add in the cost of hiring extra people....and what do you predict the result would be?
  12. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Yes I am the same......there are not many around with the same name to be honest.

    I, like many other users I imagine, share recordings of our performances/rehearsals for players to hear, probably like most, unaware of any "wrong doing" (hence my question above).

    In light of this article (and to protect my band) you will also see that I have made those that the arranger/composer is unaware of "private" so at least I can still share them with my band members to listen to........

    You'll be glad to hear that as "The Kirsty Cooke Song" is an original composition, by my 5 year old (at the time of recording) Son that I do have his permission to record and distribute it, so this is still available to hear :)
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  13. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    No, not at all. I had a phone call from 4BR about the PRS take on the subject. But no horse's head, please!
  14. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    Thankyou Mr Sparke, you may be aware the there are a number of aggrieved MDs and performers after what seems to a great many to be a very questionable 1st placing at that contest. Quite a Song and Dance really (pardon the pun!). I promise you sir, No horses head! but the men in the box? that may be a different story.
  15. boourns

    boourns Member

    There are a number of sides to this, and I have some sympathy with all of them. Whilst I'd be interested to know if there are any concrete figures to back up Mr Sparke's assertion that CD sales have been significantly hit by digital sharing, common sense would suggest he is probably right. When professional quality recordings of various test pieces are doing the rounds on the likes of SoundCloud, I think it's inevitable that some people will prefer these to actually buying the CD.

    However, I'm equally certain the umpteen versions of Music for a Festival that sound like they were recorded on a Sony tape deck stuck at the bottom of a handbag will prevent not a single purchase of that particular piece :) There is also the counter argument that 'broadcasting' unofficial recordings of pieces, particularly less well known ones, might bring them to a wider audience and actually encourage more bands to buy the parts and perform these pieces.

    And regarding the Butlins furore, I think it is an interesting exercise to be able to listen to a cross section of performances from a contest I didn't attend, regardless of the quality. However I think those wishing to use it as a means of second guessing adjudicating decisions are misguided, as even the better quality recordings are of little use for judging much more than tempo and split count. A friend of mine heard every performance of Of Distant Memories at the RAH, and having subsequently bought all of the recordings from WoB they are adamant they don't come close to doing justice to how it sounded in the hall, which is what the adjudicators actually heard.

    So, to sum up, I think most amateur recordings are financially harmless, add something new and potentially interesting to the banding movement, and might even be a means to increase all round sales in some cases. However, there is definitely a line beyond which the use of digital sharing becomes 'a bad thing', and at the moment I'd draw that loosely around the sharing of commercially available recordings.
  16. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    You'd be surprised! Looking at the world of wind bands, where conductors expect to hear a recording before buying a piece (reasonably, as sets can be as much as £150-300 for a large work), 10 or even 5 years ago, I would often get asked if piece X was available on CD; I now regularly get asked 'can you send me an MP3?' or told 'I've heard your piece on YouTube'. CD sales have definitely fallen over the same period and selling via iTunes has yet to make up the shortfall. It's very expensive to record a CD with a professional wind band, as you can imagine, and the sums are beginning to creak.

    The brass band market is much smaller, of course, but the dynamics are the same.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  17. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    This I agree it is useful for. I have often gone to find "how a piece sounds" before buying a set for the band, especially if it's something that i'm not 100% convinced of by only looking at a solo cornet part in a music catalogue online.

    EG - I had a recording of my band playing a very rarely used or heard of piece by a well known composer/arranger. We contacted him for some background info on the piece but he himself had forgotten writing it and he'd really forgotten how it went (very long story)!

    I uploaded our recording of it to Soundcloud and sent the composer a link so he could hear it, for which he thanked me (not sure if he liked the recording or not!). I hope from the 137 (or so) listens it had (before I hid it), that maybe one or two bands might have listened and gone on to buy it, because it's a brilliant piece and should be played more!

    What I agree is really bad, is the blatant copying of CD tracks to Soundcloud and sharing of them, there are millions (and not just Brass Band of course)!! IMHO this really should be the main focus for a group such as PRS as it clearly has a direct effect on sales of recorded music.
  18. Stracathro

    Stracathro Member

    I'm sure that there are many many factors that have contributed to the declining sales of CDs. I understand that legal downloads don't compensate for the shortfall but that may simply be because fewer people want/need to buy music recordings in any form.

    From personal experience, I hardly ever use soundcloud but am a regular on YouTube. I would say that exposure to new music in this way probably increases the amount I spend because I hear things that I like and wouldn't hear elsewhere. I then buy a CD so I can listen in the car, or I might buy a concert ticket if I know a band is performing a work that I like.

    The question I would ask in relation to the statement above is: how many people may have bought a score/CD etc having heard a piece online that they would not have bought otherwise? It may well be that the more widespread availability of material is helping composers and artists to promote and thus make money from their work. I don't say that it is, I'm just saying that this issue is not black and white and I don't think that a witch-hunt by the PRS against amateur musicians is necessarily helpful. By all means, pursue someone if they have (as boourns suggests) made an illegal recording of a particular performance that is commercially available.
  19. Spaniels Ears

    Spaniels Ears Member

    I decided to speak to the PRS and the Piracy Unit to get some transparency.

    After chewing the cud with them for 30 minutes these recordings are fine; they are completely allowed, because a 'cover' of the original is being created, therefore there is nothing wrong with it. Not only that, Butlins as a venue is licensed by the PRS and therefore making a recording is just like going to a Take That/music concert and taking a video or audio clip and socializing. Most bands also have a performance license and the fact that the recording isn't being made to make money also means there is nothing wrong.

    For the CD, obviously there are licensing differences so and upgrade from a performance license is needed.

    For interest, Youtube is licensed by the PRS and they are in negotiation to take on Soundcloud.
  20. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Please clarify this rather broad statement. Is it sites like YouTube and Soundcloud that have had a direct impact on CD sales or is it the fact that nowadays you can buy a single track off an album as an MP3 rather than purchase the entire CD?

    I recently had to perform your excellent piece Tallis Variations. Naturally I spent the £1.99 on the YBS MP3 recording of it but I also listened to 8 different Soundcloud live recordings to prep for what was a last minute depping job. Those extra perspectives where very useful although some of them weren't pretty!

    By the way, I know several internationally respected composers, with knighthoods, who are delighted when a new performance of one of their pieces is uploaded to Youtube. The same attitude can be seen by the likes of Simon Dobson who positively encourages his music to be online.

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