Charity in the music world

GoingNowhereGoingNowhere Global Moderator
edited July 2012 in Spurious Generalities
I thought that I would have a look at some of the essays I did and upload them providing they got good marks (in other words aren't filled with rubbish) :) This one is about charity and how it relates to the music industry.

Music charity

The world of music has always been closely interlinked with business and industry, profit and loss, being that the main objective of a musician is to create a workable career for himself/herself whereby he/she can maintain a sustainable lifestyle. However, there are numerous benefits to giving to charity and performing not for monetary gain such as bringing your community closer together, advertising yourself (getting your name out there), and satisfaction from helping those in need. Musicians are in the wholly unique position whereby they can contribute to charity by using their profession, which can raise far more money than the average individual. Not only this, but it can be done in that persons spare time with no loss of earnings, and all of the advantages of advertisement and can be in a more relaxed atmosphere than normal.

Charity in the Chambers dictionary reads as:
charity noun (charities) 1 assistance given to those in need. 2 an organization established to provide such assistance. 3 a kind and understanding attitude towards, or judgement of, other people. 4 Authorized Version compassionate love for others.
ETYMOLOGY: 13c: from French charite, from Latin caritas love

To the average individual charity represents an offering of money to help a cause, which is usually taken out of what that person/company has already earned and given to that charity where the charity will use it at its discretion. For the musician there are various means whereby money can be raised for charity, such as hosting music events, performing at charity events, and donating the profits of a track or/and cd.

The laws regarding charities are simpler than you may think, as most of what you need to know is in the Charities Act 2011 which replaces the charities acts of 1992, 1993, 2006 and also the recreational Charities Act of 1958. If as a musician you wish to set a charity, then this will be very helpful for you, but for most of us will raise money for that charity instead as there are 162,309 registered charities in the UK already. Firstly there is the law regarding the venue. Just because you are hosting a concert or gig for charity it does not mean that you are exempt from PRS and PPL license so it means that the venue has to have one otherwise it is illegal and you can be prosecuted, an example being the Jennings vs Stephens case of 1936. If it is a public performance, the nature of the public and performance is immaterial and you will always need a license. Before January 2011 there was an exemption for charity and community groups in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) sections 67 and 72 for PPL (Public Performers License), but from the 1st of January not-for-profit organisations using recorded music will need a PPL licence. I personally think this is a disgrace to the industry and humanity, and I have the pleasure of knowing that I have performed charity concerts without PPL and PRS consent and will continue to do so in the future. When playing for a charity concert, if you are signed to a record label then I would have thought that you would have to ask them to allow you to play the music from that track, but for any non-profit charity (another term used is benefits) concert it is imperative that you are any performing members do not get paid and that should be stated on any performers contract if you are dealing with musicians. All albums and music that is released to aid charitable purposes must donate its proceeds entirely to charity, although I cannot find any law or legislation which regulates a minimum percentage to be given so that they can call it a charity album/release. I also cannot find the same information with regards to the charity concerts. This is of some concern as in 2009 a group named The Soldiers released an album named Coming Home which was advertised by the record label (Demon Music Group/Warner Bros. Records) as donating part of its proceeds to military charities. However, only 3 percent of the price of each cd actually went towards the charities which it was supporting (Army Benevolent Fund, Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion) which equates to just 25 pence for each copy. Each charity only received 8p per CD sold and for music downloads probably less. As a contrast, Risca Male Choir worked with St. Dunstans to release an album titled Brave One which gave aid to blind veterans resulting in the raising of many thousands of pounds.

There are many organizations and charitable bodies that contribute to the musician in his/her quest to raise money for charity. Many of these organizations are called charitable trusts. A charitable trust or foundation is a legal organisation that is governed by a trust deed which is set up by a private individual who wishes to set aside their assets or/and income for charitable causes. These charitable trusts are registered charities which are for public benefit (as all charities must be) and are made up of trustees, allowing the founder and trustees that decide where the money goes to. This is very advantageous for musicians as there are a few trusts that support musicians who wish to raise money for charity , such as the Colwinston Charitable Trust. This trust distributes grants to UK Registered charitable organisations in areas such as Opera, Classical Music and the Visual Arts, for example:
  • Agatha Christie Turst for Children project Leukaemia research £54,000
  • Cardiff University for Restoration fo the Rare Books Collection £25,000
  • Mid Wales Opera for Performances of Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde, in wales £20,000

So far it has donated £291,250 from 2010 and 2011 from the royalties of the West End production of The Mousetrap, the Agatha Christie play. Wirghtontrust provides grants to young musicians who are studying music between the age of 8 and 18, with the usual payout between £100 and £800 pounds either as a one of payment or annually for up to three grants per person. The Concertina Charitable Trust is another example of a charitable trust, as they support organizations that provide musical entertainment for the elderly. There are indeed many more.

The main way that the government help with charities, is that through gift aid they can gain extra money from your donation by claiming the tax back on it. For example if I give £10, then it is worth £12.50 to the charity, as basic rate tax of 20 per cent is added on or whatever your income tax is. This benefits the charities greatly, as every amount that is raised by the musician can be greatly increased.

So, what has been the benefit of this? Well, as part of the events is concerned some of the biggest and best concerts with some of the greatest bands. From the music listeners perspective it has brought together bands and musicians which are popular, and from the music makers perspective it has given them a spotlight and a form of advertisement as these events are often televised. For both producer and music listener each has a ‘feel-good’ feeling about attending a charity event, and a charity event is a one of a kind event whereby new songs written for that occasion may be played and it is the only time when a concert is for one cause and one purpose. It is the same with album and music releases in aid of charity: The music consumer feels like he/she has contributed towards charity, the music producer gets publicity, and it goes towards the benefit of society which improves due to the money that it has been given. Charitable trusts and foundations do an incredible amount to help music makers, as a lot of the grants go toward funding events which keep the music scene alive, gives music makers the chance to perform, a chance to make themselves heard, and allows the ordinary individual to make a charitable donation while receiving more than a warm glow in return. Also, these grants go towards up and coming musicians which can give them much needed funds for their instruments, lessons, and education studies. This means that the music listeners in society continuously hear new music, new ideas, and see new artists on the scene due to the music scene not becoming stagnant.

I do believe that these charitable concerts, albums, and charitable bodies greatly contribute to the charitable organizations that exist today, and this in turn creates a better world that we live in and thus happier people.



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