10.07.10 Music Week 3
Jarvis Cocker does not mince words as he takes BBC Trust to task over 6 Music
Jarvis cocks a snook at BBC Trust
Radio By Ben Cardew and Robert Ashton
JARVIS COCKER TOOK ON the might of the BBC Trust last week, as he outlined exactly why he believes 6 Music fulfils all of the Trust’s criteria for a modern BBC.
Cocker, who presents a Sunday afternoon show for 6 Music, was the keynote speaker at last week’s AIM AGM, held at Glazier’s Hall in London.
His appearance came in a week when speculation about the digital station went into overdrive, with reports suggesting it was in line for a reprieve from the BBC Trust, thanks to the public outcry over the planned closure of the station.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson announced in March that 6 Music and the Asian Network faced closure as the Corporation looks to save money, prompting public outcry, internet upheaval and protests outside Broadcasting House.
Much, too, was expected last week of a speech given by BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons, in which he was expected to address the subject of 6 Music.
In the end Lyons avoided the issue, swerving a question from one attendee, who asked, in a roundabout way, why the BBC was concentrating on pop and rock – the subject of “well-orchestrated industry campaigns using social networks” – when there was a lack of chamber music and opera on the radio.
Lyons ignored what was doubtlessly a veiled reference to internet protests about the closure of 6 Music and instead addressed the wider subject of popular music at the Beeb.
“For those that want to go deeper in to this I would encourage them to look at the Trust’s review of Radio 1 and Radio 2, where there is a clear message,” he said.
“What the BBC needs to do is to make these channels more distinctive from what is available in the commercial world. That is good for the listeners and good for the industry. They also need to be more different from each other, with us encouraging Radio1 to look for a younger audience and Radio 2 an older one.”
However, among headline-grabbing plans for the BBC to identify the salaries of its highest-paid talent, Lyons did outline what the Trust expects from the BBC going forward and this gave Cocker food for thought.
“Lyons spoke the other night and everyone expected him to talk about 6 Music,” the singer told the AIM AGM. “He studiously avoided mention of 6. But he raised three points. One: quality and distinctiveness. Everyone is agreed that 6 Music does this.
“Two: outstanding value for money – you can’t use this as a
Listen up: 6 Music’s
Jarvis Cocker tells it how it is...
Avoidance tactics: BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons skirted round 6 Music issues in his speech stick to beat 6 Music with. I know what the wages are of 6 Music presenters. Guy Garvey and [previously] Bruce Dickinson are working with that station because they get a kick out of playing music and sharing it with listeners.
“Three: openness and responsiveness. There has been a very big reaction [to plans to close the sta-
tion] and you have to take notice of that.”
Lyons revealed in his speech that the Trust would publish its initial response to Thompson’s proposals in “a week or so”, with a final decision expected for October.
Cocker, who has worked at the station since January, urged the Trust to hurry up with its decision. “You’ve had such a lot of people speaking out, you should stick to your timetable and give us an answer,” he said. “It is not nice to have the Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of the people who work there.”
What is more, he said the decision to close 6 had created disharmony at the BBC at a time when, with a new government that is intent on cutting costs, the Corporation needed to stick together.
“I don’t want the BBC to be fighting itself,” he said. “If people see the BBC bickering amongst itself then that gives people ammunition. That’s why a decision on 6 Music is needed quickly.”
AIM chairman and CEO Alison Wenham took up the theme. She told the AGM that the BBC’s reason for closing 6 Music – its reported £7m running costs – was “a poor excuse”, adding that it was ridiculous to pigeonhole 6 Music listeners.
“I am of a certain age. By rights I should have stopped listening to music by now. I should be drinking Ovaltine,” she said. “Wake up and listen to people like me.”
Overall, Wenham struck a combative note, criticising Google for listing “pages and pages of clutter” before legal links to music and attacking the amount of money spent on DAB as a complete “waste of money”. ben;email@example.com
THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC www.musicweek.com
NEWS THE XX MARK THE FESTIVAL SPOT XL artists are the biggest winners on festival circuit
PUBLISHING V FOR VICKERS One of 2010’s big breakthrough acts signs deal for chart-topping co-writes
7 7 6 1 3 6
7 7 6 6 6 9
FEATURES MAGIC M.E.N. Manchester’s crowd-pleasing venue shows how local colour keeps the punters coming back
Judgment offers VAT hope on CD promo payments
UK labels on verge of potential VAT windfall
Legislation By Robert Ashton
THE INDUSTRY COULD BE IN LINE for a massive tax windfall with savings running to hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, following a European judgment that record companies are wrongly required to pay VAT on CD promos.
The move follows an opinion given by a European Court of Justice Advocate-General on a long-running case between EMI and the UK tax authorities, where the record group has argued UK VAT legislation is not in accordance with EC law.
In that case EMI, which had paid VAT on many thousands of promo CDs issued from 1987, stopped paying VAT on free CDs from July 2003 arguing such a charge was incompatible with the EC’s Article 5(6) of the Sixth Directive, which exempts VAT payment on samples.
Arguing that the approximately 2,500 free copies provided to pluggers on each single release (and up to 3,750 free copies for albums) are in fact samples, EMI stopped paying VAT and asked HM Revenue and Customs to reimburse the company.
Revenue and Customs refused this refund and Case C-581/08 EMI Group Ltd v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs was referred to Europe. Mishcon de Reya tax expert and partner Jonathan Legg says there is a VAT directive under EU legislation and it is up to each
Pennies from heaven? A VAT saving of £1m on 1,000 new promo singles could be realised purpose of promoting future sales of a product.
Legg’s analysis of Jaaskinen’s opinion is that he essentially believes the UK VAT rules are too restrictive on samples given to people and the value of the gifts. Legg adds, “At the moment when a company gives samples it has to pay VAT on all but the first one. This seems to be incompatible with Europe.”
However, there is a two-stage process required in Europe to change the legislation and the ECJ will now study Jaaskinen’s opinion before handing down its own judgment.
There is no guarantee the ECJ will ratify the Advocate-General’s opinion, but Legg says there have been few cases where it has not followed his lead: no details are available on the timing of a judgment, but one is expected this ear paid then all sorts of people, from fashion companies to record labels, are going to benefit,” adds Legg.
Significantly, EMI will not be the only company to benefit: all record companies will be eligible to profit from any tax change – roughly equating to a saving of around £1,000 if 3,000 promo copies of one single are sent to pluggers and radio stations.
If a similar number of promos are provided by record companies for each of their new releases, that equates to a VAT saving of £1m on 1,000 new singles released across the industry in any one year.
More than that, the case could provide an opportunity for retrospective recovery of overpaid tax, with Legg suggesting there is normally a four-year cap for reclaiming VAT.
Legg sa s record companies
Tinie Tempah takes Abbey Road by storm
Tinie Tempah (pictured) brought to a close EMI’s New Music Sessions at Abbey Road studios last Thursday night, in front of an appreciative audience of media, executives and competition winners.
EMI UK & Ireland president Andria Vidler revealed that, as well as a domestic audience, the event had attracted attendees from as far away as Europe and Japan.
“Absolutely what a better place to showcase the newest best British acts?” she added of the Abbey Road setting.
Roll Deep kicked off the event
Birch, Justin Nozuka, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah.
Parlophone president Miles Leonard also introduced a video from Sky Ferreira, another of the major’s hopes for the future, who was unable to attend as she is recording in the US.
But it was Tinie Tempah who was the star attraction: he opened with his recent number two hit Frisky, thanking “the whole EMI team” for what has been “quite a special year”.
He followed this with Written In The Stars, a new track from his forthcoming debut album
NEWS RETAILER LAUNCHES BROADSIDE 4 Forget prices, help us sell – Sainsbury’s has a harsh message for music industry
MEDIA NEWS VINTAGE VISION IN VIEW 6 Specially-created videos and original programming for new channel
LIVE NEWS HMV BULLISH OVER LIVE DIVISION GROWTH 8 Retail group spotlights Mama buy-up and HMV Tickets
DIGITAL NEWS IS ROOTMUSIC A MYSPACE KILLER?
New service on Facebook looks to topple ‘cluttered’ MySpace
PUBLISHING NEWS LOCAL AFFINITY LEADS VICKERS TO UNIVERSAL 10 UK’s biggest breakthrough act of 2010 inks publishing deal
UNEARTHED PETE LAWRIE
Now Quirk has gone even further in his criticism. “This could kill his CD sales career dead,” he says. “We have got to make a stand on this. It is important that I ref lect what other retailers are saying.”
To back up its view, ERA has compiled figures which it says show that Prince’s sales have plummeted since the covermount promotion in 2007. In 2005, albums by Prince and his known aliases sold 181,670 in the UK; in 2006 the figure was 238,279; in
2007 178,865; in 2008 91,042; and in 2009 84,567.
There are, of course, many possible reasons for this – Prince has been noticeably less active over the last two years, for example. But, significantly, his sales fell in 2007, a year in which he played a 21
night residency in London.
What is more, Quirk, a seasoned retailer, says this decline is not normal for someone with Prince’s great back catalogue.
“These are very disturbing figures,” he says. “Prince is clearly on the slide. Having seen his record sales halve since The Mail On Sunday giveaway, this latest covermount on the Mirror could kill his career stone dead.
“By definition most CD covermounts end up in the bin. That’s not good for Prince or his music.”
Quirk explains the Prince deal is all the worse, as it comes at a time when CD covermounts had seemed to be on the decline. “Covermounting has never had an impact on overall [newspaper] sales. It is passé,” he adds. “Everybody must have stacks full of covermount CDs, half of which aren’t even fit to be a coaster on a table,” he says.
20TEN features nine tracks, with appearances by saxophonist Maceo Parker and singers Shelby J, Liv Warfield and Elisa Dease. The release marks the start of his 20TEN European tour.
Kiran Sharma, Prince’s representative, says, “In 2010, Prince continues to work in an independent capacity, highlighted here in a world first of delivering the new album across multiple territories, through complementary distribution channels.”
Welshman goes for mainstream with debut release for major
FEATURES SORTING THE M.E.N. FROM THE BOYS 13 Packing out gigs and breaking records is all par for the course for Manchester’s well-loved venue WHO WILL HARNESS THE SOUND OF THE CLOUD? 18 How will the traditional music industry deal with the cloud and who will take it into the mainstream?