Giving a voice to the Unheard: Eve Horne tackles inequality in behind-the-scenes production roles

Eve Horne, MPG executive director and founder of PeakMusic UK, will be in conversation with Keychange’s Saskhia Menendez on September 19 at the FastForward conference in London. Eve Horne was an inductee in Music Week's Women in Music Roll of ...

BRIT Trust Diaries: Come Play With Me's Antonia Lines on making the industry accessible for all

This edition of the BRIT Trust Diaries comes from Antonia Lines of Come Play With Me (CPWM), a Leeds-based non-profit music development organisation which specialises in supporting people from marginalised communities to further their careers in music. Lines is programmes manager at CPWM, which was among the winners at Music Week’s Women In Music Awards in 2022. Here, Lines tells us about their work to fight for an equitable, inclusive and diverse music industry… For many of us starting out in the music industry, the odds can feel stacked against you. Although the most recent UK Music Diversity Report suggests that things are starting to change in the make-up of the music workforce, the people I work with every day will still tell you there’s a long way to go until music is a career that is fully open to everyone.  Come Play With Me exists to remedy that. We are a non-profit music development organisation. Our mission is to fight for an equitable, inclusive and diverse music industry. We specialise in supporting people from marginalised communities to access a career they love in music by providing tailored career development for individuals through our events, workshops, label, podcast and magazine. We do this while pushing for structural change in the industry more widely.   I’m Antonia, the programmes manager at CPWM. I look after a number of projects that help marginalised people build skills, networks and opportunities in different parts of the industry. From Come Platform Me, which supports new promoters and live industry professionals, to our podcast Connected Sounds and magazine Bound, both of which ensure marginalised peoples' stories are told honestly and on our own terms.  As a queer, working-class person, my experience of the music industry has been varied. I’ve worked in retail, events, music festivals, venue bars, marketing, press, packing Bandcamp orders in a windowless room… You name it, I’ve probably done it! My journey through those jobs hasn’t always been easy. When you know no one in the industry and aren’t even sure what jobs exist, it’s hard to imagine building any kind of career. Couple this with structural issues of classism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and for others, structural racism, ableism and more; it’s sometimes difficult to feel like this is an industry in which you can thrive.  When you know no one in the industry and aren’t even sure what jobs exist, it’s hard to imagine building any kind of career The thing that got me through is finding a community. Finding others who have similar experiences and understand why you’re tentative about being in certain spaces or you’re tired of being talked over in meetings can be transformative.  At Come Play With Me, collaborative working and building networks are absolutely fundamental to our work. For us, building an equitable and fair industry means starting small and being adaptable, providing what the communities around us need. It’s about making sure we are always co-creating and working in lasting partnerships.  Last year, we won the Music Week Women In Music Awards Company Award for Diversity In The Workplace for our work around LGBTQ+ inclusion in the industry and shortly afterwards, announced our partnership with EMI North, who have opened a regional imprint just down the road from us in Leeds. Since then, our team has grown in exciting ways. We’ve doubled our number of board members, increased staffing in our project teams and we’re in the process of setting up a Youth Advisory Group that’ll be at the centre of setting the strategy and direction of our programming going forward. We focus on building a team with lived experiences of the issues we’re here to challenge, so hiring a Label Assistant recently through AIM & Women in CTRL’s Amplify apprenticeships, as well as currently looking for an events assistant through The Mo Siewcharran Fund, allows us to build the internal culture that we’re advocating for externally.  As I type this, we’re not long fresh from the muddy fields of Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire, a family-run music and arts festival focused on community. We love it and not just because it’s up the road! We’ve been working with them and PR agency Hanglands for a few years now. Part of that is running a special Deer Shed edition of our magazine. We’ve been able to increase our reach and audience but, more importantly, also give our young writing team the opportunity to tell the stories of established performers like The Big Moon, Bridget Christie and The Delgados. We are as keen to learn from others as we are to share our own knowledge Our annual conference, I Know A Place, is a key date in our diary that brings all of our work together. I Know A Place champions diversity in the music industry with a full day packed with panels, workshops, keynotes and conversations covering a variety of topics. This time we’ll be focusing our attention on learning and networking, creating spaces where people can connect, learn and share with one another in a safe and supportive environment. We’ll be running for the eighth year in Leeds, at the Brudenell Social Club on January 19 2024 and for the first time, bringing our conversations to London at Samsung KX on October 26 this year. Collaboration is at the core of what we do. We are as keen to learn from others as we are to share our own knowledge, fostering positive community spirit and solidarity across the music industry.  We work to build relationships with regional, national and international partners, furthering our reach and supporting our peers to mutual benefit. We value the support of The BRIT Trust. If you’d like to get involved and support our work, we would love to hear from you. And if you’d like to hear more from us, you can sign yourself up to our mailing list. 

Dequency CEO Keatly Haldeman on why every metaverse needs a music strategy

Keatly Haldeman heads up blockchain-based music licensing marketplace Dequency. Here, the company's CEO explores the music strategy across the metaverse and what it means for artists and labels… Just as in the real world, music has become a must-have fixture for the myriad virtual worlds known as metaverses. From background music to media soundtracks to virtual concerts, music’s inherent, inarguable value has translated to these new digital frontiers. However, music licensing in virtual worlds brings with it all the complexities and difficulties that we’re used to in real life as well… in addition to some novel considerations. Add to that the decentralised nature of some of these metaverse platforms, and music licensing becomes incredibly challenging (not that it wasn’t already!). Why is it so hard to know how to license music in the metaverse? Much of the nuance lies within the ownership structure of these new digital worlds. In order to understand, here’s a quick lesson in the differences between centralised and decentralised metaverses.  A centralised metaverse is a virtual world that is controlled by a single entity. It owns the servers that host the metaverse and has full control over the rules and regulations. Perhaps the most well-known examples of centralised metaverses are Roblox and Fortnite. By contrast then, a decentralised metaverse is a virtual world that is owned and governed by a community (at least in theory), usually via the blockchain. This means that no one person or organisation has complete control over the metaverse, and that the rules and regulations are set by the community that inhabit it – with populations often reaching into the tens of thousands. Decentraland and The Sandbox are two such examples, both of which are built on the Ethereum blockchain. Regardless of how they’re structured, every metaverse needs an effective music strategy that determines how music is valued, licensed and consumed – a thorough and thoughtful music licensing strategy ensures that metaverses and their users can benefit from and make use of music creatively and legally, while ensuring proper remuneration for rights-holders. Every metaverse needs an effective music strategy that determines how music is valued, licensed and consumed Keatly Haldeman Centralised metaverses like Fortnite and Roblox are way ahead in terms of music strategy.  Roblox has licensing agreements with several catalogue owners, providing its users with access to a vast resource of music. Fortnite’s parent company Epic acquired Bandcamp in a headline-grabbing move, one likely reason of which is to facilitate easy access to music for its user builders. Both platforms have proven that they can be valuable partners to the music business, with the ability to move the needle for an artist when used creatively. On the other hand, decentralised, Web3 metaverses such as Decentraland and The Sandbox are lagging when it comes to music licensing, presenting more challenges for the music industry in terms of enforcing compliance. In these cases, platform-level licensing is harder to establish as a result of the distributed ownership that characterises them. Take the case of Decentraland, which faced pressure to agree to a blanket licensing agreement from SOCAN after its inhabitants used copyrighted works that SOCAN represented for public performance rights. Decentraland responded by highlighting its decentralised nature, arguing that the responsibility for obtaining licences lay with the platform’s ‘landowners’ who are ultimately accountable for infringements within their digital properties. Additionally, a licence with SOCAN would only grant public performance rights. Landowners would still need synchronisation licences from each label and publisher that owns the rights they wish to use.  Reports suggest there are up to 10,000 daily active users in Decentraland alone – all of which would have to individually get clearance from multiple rights-holders every time they wanted to use a track in their online world. With the right technical licensing infrastructure, these metaverses can ensure their users are legally compliant while staying true to their decentralised ethos. Dequency’s Web3-powered, peer-to-peer marketplace for on-chain music licensing addresses this directly. It tackles, among other things, the challenges of licensing music for decentralised, blockchain-based applications, offering solutions for discovery, legal compliance, and on-chain licensing and payment. As we’ve seen with previous tech platforms, including the OG decentralised platform, Napster, the day of reckoning will eventually come. It’s only a matter of time before a Web3 metaverse reaches a population size where the absence of a music licence cannot be ignored… and we won’t be able to sit around the table with a parent company rep to thrash out a deal. It will be down to the decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) that governs the metaverse, otherwise it will fall to individual users to find licensing solutions for their digital properties. While decentralisation is empowering, it also shifts much of the responsibility from centralised entities to individual content creators. Therefore, it’s in the interest of both sides – the music industry and metaverse creators – to develop a licensing approach that aligns with the customs of Web3 and benefits all parties. This will enable legally defensible user-generated content for the next wave of the internet and allow music rights-holders to reap the rewards of this flourishing new channel of business.  

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