How Music Perceives Itself and How Copyright Perceives Music
Edited by Andreas Rahmatian
Chapter 7: For the benefit of all musicians? The Musicians’ Union and performers’ rights in the UK
This chapter traces the evolution of performers’ rights in the UK with particular focus on the previously unrecognised role of the Musicians’ Union (MU). From the outset of recorded music, which the Union saw as a threat to the live work undertaken by its members, it has been an important participant in the negotiations surrounding such rights. Moreover, it has often shaped the discourse surrounding the rights of performers: simultaneously lobbying on both a national and international level while carving out deals with the record companies and broadcasters. By analysing these and mapping the shifting position of the Union in relation to not only industrial and technological changes but also the evolution of copyright legislation, the chapter aims to provide a critical evaluation of the Union’s role and offer a new perspective through which to view performers’ rights – that of musical labour. Keywords: Performers’ rights; Musicians’ Union; PPL, technology; broadcasting; copyright; recording industry
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