WedFeb07

Four resign from BASCA Songwriter's Executive

 Photo: Kim Appleby, Barry Mason, Megg Nicol, Pete Woodroffe

Last week was a roller coaster for those of us involved in the song-writing community and it seems that we could be fastening our belts for the next white-knuckle ride as soon as #paywhatsduetube starts trending on twitter. So if you are reading this, please look out for it.

 

Some of us feel so strongly about helping our fellow songwriters that, after very many years of service in the British Academy of Songwriters & Composers (BASCA) as elected Songwriter Executive members, we, the four songwriters in the photo, have resigned. You can read our resignation statement here.

Basically we could not do the job we had been elected to do because of political wrangling involving the suspension of four of our highly respected Song-writer colleagues on spurious allegations of misconduct that were pursued, in our opinion, over zealously costing the organisation dearly in terms of money and status.

Most of our time was taken up trying to defend the perceived injustice leaving no time at all to run the workshops we had previously run such as SONGSHOP, THE BIG DEMO LISTENING EVENT that brought publishers and producers direct to the songwriter or my favorite one TALK TO MY MANAGER that offered opportunities via consultation and advise sessions with new up and coming Music Management.

With all the difficulties in the organisation, the real battle to fight the erosion of copyright that affects all genres in BASCA was being lost in the noise of the internal struggle.

This resignation was not done lightly. BASCA has played a large part in my professional life for many years. It has offered me opportunities that I might never have had without it, so for that I am forever grateful.

I was in my early twenties when I first walked through the door of the old BASCA offices in the Charing Cross Road building. I had no idea how my life was about to change simply by playing my songs to a panel of four distinguished songwriters as part of something called a Song-Surgery. They were Barry Mason, of Last Waltz and Delilah fame; Hal Shaper, a songwriter and Sparta Florida Publisher who had the Blondie Catalogue; Ed Welch; and Guy Fletcher.

I felt very privileged to hear their thoughts and to get personal advice on my writing (something which, many years later, I was able to do for other songwriters).

But, in the longer term, I got more than just advice. From that one demo-listening session, I got a publishing deal, I was booked to star in a West End Show...and I developed a career. I also became part of a much-valued friendship group and met some great colleagues, many of whom I still work with today.

So, when I left the building near Kings Cross after we had all resigned on Monday, it was with friends: Kim Appleby, Pete Woodroffe and Barry Mason. And yes, it was a sad moment but it also felt symbolic. Barry Mason was the very first person I met when I first joined BASCA all those years ago and here I was again with Barry on my very last day in BASCA.

I’d come in a full circle and I couldn’t have been in better company.

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