I spoke last week as part of the Working in Music conference at the University of Glasgow, one of the culminations of John Williamson’s and Martin Cloonan’s excellent research project about the history of the Musicians’ Union. I talked about the evolution of performing rights in sound recordings and the development of equitable remuneration for recording artists, finishing off by considering the implications of the making available right. All of these delights can be found in my paper, which is available on academia.edu.
One of the great factors of the conference was the presence of Musicians’ Union staff among the delegates. This included John Smith, who is General Secretary of the MU and has recently been appointed as Chairman of PPL. He was present for my paper and in response to my suggestions of record company bias at PPL he noted rightly that there are now more performer members of the PPL Board. However, when I asked him who owns PPL, he did concede that if I were to go to Companies House I would probably be told that it is the record companies.