The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94778 Message #1847546
Posted By: Anne Lister
01-Oct-06 - 11:38 AM
Thread Name: Pitching a Song
Subject: RE: Pitching a Song
for WLD: Well, it would help before launching the defence missiles on Derek's behalf to check things out. Of course I did my best at the time to find out why Derek hadn't done the right things - and the right thing in terms of MCPS is to fill out licence forms when you manufacture an album and pay MCPS the correct monies due, which is hardly a secret procedure - and, as I recall (and it was a very long time ago) all I had back from Derek was the impression of a shrug. I'm fairly sure he sent me a copy of the album, and when I enquired about the royalties he ducked out of the correspondence. Many other people have recorded the song over the years and done the right thing, and Derek had considerably more "presence" in the folk clubs than many of those other people (and more than me, at the time), so excuses don't cut much ice here for me. I was performing myself in the eighties and not difficult to locate, and I don't remember folk clubs emptying the way you describe - in fact although there was a divide between trad and contemporary clubs in some places it was a pretty healthy scene at that time.
There's some confusion in your post about the difference between PRS and MCPS. PRS pays royalties on works when they are performed, whether on radio or on stage, and it's notoriously difficult to sort out what's due especially on smaller radio stations and in smaller venues. But MCPS pays on recorded product (CDs these days ... vinyl at the time we're talking) and at that time most reputable pressing factories wouldn't produce albums without the right licences in place. If someone can't afford to pay the writer to record a song on a commercially available album, they shouldn't record the song, surely? It really doesn't cost a lot per song on the kind of quantities involved on the folk circuit, and it's not as if Derek was short of other material.
And I've never been exactly rolling in the dosh myself, having to make do even now with all kinds of work to keep the bank happy in addition to performing and writing, so pleading poverty doesn't help matters much here either.
As to using this forum, I only mentioned it because of your mention of his name and my song in the same context. How, exactly, is it likely to harm my prospects of having my songs covered by voicing the undisputable fact that when a song is covered there are royalties payable to the writer? As this is a thread about how to get people to cover songs, it seems entirely relevant to say that when they do there are financial consequences. "Icarus" isn't the only song of mine to be covered by other people, and Derek (and one American duo) stand out against other performers of my songs because they seem to have dodged the financial consequences. He's obviously a friend of yours and you want to defend him - I have no opinion of him as a person, had always enjoyed his performances and then was somewhat disillusioned to have this experience. Which is why, when you brought it all up, it produced this reaction from me. If you'd talked about Martin Simpson, Maggie Holland, Bachue Cafe, Gerry Hallom, Grace Griffith or Artisan, to name drop a few, I wouldn't have had my memory jogged in any negative way whatsoever.