June is British Black Music Month (BBMM) highlights domestic black music in all its forms, through discussions, album anatomies, concerts, club nights, courses, radio specials, and networking, which actually kicks off late May till mid July. This year, it will also be launching the £10,000 New Music Entrepreneur Grant.
The BBMM initiative, which has been going since 2006, was started by the Black Music Congress (BMC), which is a forum for discussing black music issues with a British bias; networking; and a pathway to music industry education.
As a precursor to setting up the scene for this year’s BBMM, the BMC and BritishBlackmusic.com recently organised the Copyright + Music Industry + Music Industry Education: 2010, Where Are We At? Conference, with guest of honour Minister for Intellectual Property & Higher Education the Rt Hon David Lammy MP, and host Brent South MP and Young Citizens & Youth Engagement minister Dawn Butler.
It was the first time an African-led organisation had convened a conference of that calibre, and also for the first time in the UK music industry’s history, the conference which took place at the House Of Commons, drew upon the widest constituency, from key to marginalised stakeholders, plus ministerial representation.
The aim was to connect the dots, by highlighting the latest positions on copyright issues and practices within the music industry, covering copyright terms and exceptions, the live music bill, “digital economy” issues such as persistent illegal downloaders. The minister, also spoke about moves to towards "model contracts", which will greatly benefit African and marginalised artists, as they tend to have not so good deals.
Representation came not just from the usual industry bodies such as UK Music, MU, and PPL, but also stakeholder sectors covering legal; musicians; songwriters; music and media education lecturers and students; rights groups; and consumers, which included Consumer Focus, Open Rights Group, and Universities Of Hertfordshire and Westminster.
It just happened that the minister in charge of copyright, which is the bedrock of the cultural industries, and the minister for youth, who heard the view of young people towards copyright, the music industry, and their ways of consuming music, were African.
In terms of the music industry, we have not got that far yet. Yes, Africans can be seen singing and dancing, producing, and running a small label, but few are represented in the higher echelons of power. These are some of the issues that will be discussed during BBMM.
For more information about the upcoming conference resources or BBMM, email firstname.lastname@example.org