No such thing as free BBC MP3 downloads

The UK television licence fee is to rise to £131.50 ($237 US) from 1 April, a 4.2% increase, the government has announced. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said it would enable the BBC to continue to provide a "strong and distinctive schedule". The current fee is £126.50 ($228 US). She said the licence fee for 2006-7 would enable the BBC to remain at the "forefront of broadcasting technology".

The current settlement allows for the fee to be increased by the level of inflation plus 1.5% up to April 2007. The corporation has already asked the government for its next settlement, to run for seven years from 2007 to 2013. BBC director general Mark Thompson said a 2.3% rise above inflation would fund programmes and digital services.

From BBC News

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Pliable said…
Recorded music sales continue dip

Sales of recorded music continued to fall worldwide in 2005, according to the industry's global body.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said the fall continued despite a rise in online and mobile music store revenues.

Chairman John Kennedy said global music retail revenues fell about 2% last year and in 2004 remained flat at $33.6bn (£18.9bn), amid a four-year slide.

Record company bosses are meeting at the Midem conference in Cannes, France.

The event, which is taking place this week, has seen registration from 9,500 participants from 92 countries and is the music industry's largest European gathering.

Figures for the new downturn are based on data from three-quarters of the global market.

Twenty years ago there were no mobile phones, no DVDs, no computer games to speak of
Eric Nicoli

The overall sales decline came despite a threefold increase in digital music revenue, while illegal file-sharing volumes changed little, according to a separate IFPI market report published on Thursday.

And the body believes sales will remain broadly unchanged in 2006.

Executives are now having to look beyond piracy to explain the latest decline in revenues, which have fallen by around 20% globally since 1999.

EMI chairman Eric Nicoli said: "Piracy in all its forms has been the major factor in this reversal but not the only factor."

Speaking at the MidemNet music technology forum, which preceded the main event, Mr Nicoli also cited tougher competition from other categories of consumer goods.

He said: "Twenty years ago there were no mobile phones, no DVDs, no computer games to speak of.

Piracy decline

"In categories that did exist, like magazines, cosmetics and designer clothes, we've seen a massive explosion of choice and accessibility to consumers. So no surprise, then, that music sales have come under pressure."

A number of record companies are also pressing Apple to allow more pricing flexibility on its iTunes Music Store, which currently charges the same rate for any song downloaded.

They have argued, so far without success, that they should be able to charge more for the most sought-after hits.

Apple's iTunes accounts for around 70% of US and British online music sales and has significant shares of its 19 other markets.

This popularity is widely credited with halting the growth of piracy, but record companies complain that the cost to them has been a loss of control over their own pricing and marketing.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/23 11:10:08 GMT
Pliable said…
S.F. Symphony quartet plays for higher wages

By Bay City News
A quartet of San Francisco Symphony musicians played under the City Hall rotunda Monday to protest stalled contract negotiations.

Dozens of passersby paused to listen to a rendition of Mozart’s “The Dissonant Quartet” as negotiators and musicians made a case for higher wages and compensation packages.

The San Francisco Symphony musicians, part of Local 6 of the Musicians Union, have worked without a contract since Nov. 26, 2005, when the last one expired.

David Gaudry, a member of the negotiations committee, said salary, seniority pay and pension packages were at the bottom compared with competing markets around the country such as Los Angeles and New York.

The three violinists and one cellist comprising the quartet wore Cleveland Indians baseball hats along with formal attire to symbolize the similarity between their wages and those of the Cleveland Orchestra musicians.

San Francisco symphony musicians make $2,195 a week in base salary and seniority wages while Cleveland’s musicians make $2,230.

The San Francisco Symphony currently works with a $175 million endowment funded by private donors and public funds such as the San Francisco hotel tax.

The symphony had planned for a tour through China in early February, but musicians said they would skip the tour if they did not reach an agreement with symphony management.

“We are doing our best to find a solution that gives our talented musicians a contract deserving of our stature as one of the top orchestras in the country and also sets a prudent financial course for the future of the orchestra,” wrote Brent Assink, the symphony’s executive director, in an official statement.

Steven Dibner, a bassoonist who joined the symphony 22 years ago and attended the City Hall performance, said the symphony currently has several open positions, including lead seats for clarinet, flute, viola and horn, and without competitive pay, the chances of landing top talent decreases.

Berend de Boer said…
It's free for me! I love it when British taxpayers pick up the tab. Many thanks guys and I hope it when the government forces you to handover your money, if you like the BBC or not.

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