Saturday 2 January 2010

High-Powered Begging For Pennies

There are plenty of reasons why the government's new hardline approach to music is wrong-headed. But it's a struggle to take this one seriously.

Lord Mandelson wants to force anyone who plays music to an audience to have to buy an additional £81 a year licence from April. Previously charities were exempt.

The Association of Charity Shops gave warning that the plans could sound the deathknell for marginally profitable charity retailers across the country.

£81 per annum can do this? Or, to break it down, £1.56 per week?

Scores of marginally commercial charity shops would be forced to close because of charity trustees have a legal duty to shut a shop which is making a loss or barely in profit.

If the difference between their being profitable and not is just £1.56 per week, they can't be making much of a difference as they are currently operated, surely?

To ram home the point about this huge peril, the Association of Charity Shops has come up with some pretty daft reasoning.

The new tax would take vital funds away from good causes, he said: “Charity shops do not play music for private gain, but to help raise funds for charity.”

The alternative to paying the new charge was to stop playing music altogether.

But this would mean customers would not want to come to the shops, and volunteers might be less inclined to staff them.

Those I know to visit charity shops usually mention the potential for finding a bargain or the feelgood factor of helping a charity. I've yet to hear anyone mention popping in for a bit of a boogie, because the shop are showcasing the latest Black Eyed Baked Beans album, or that they are doing a 60s retro weekender.

One charity comes out with a tearjerker of which the Daily Mash team would be proud. It reads like gloriously subtle satire.

Charities gave an indication of the impact of the extra charge to the people they care for.

Mel Banham, head of fundraising at the Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Lincolnshire which has seven charity shops to raise funds, said the extra charge would mean it would have to find extra money to pay for 12 days’ midday meals for 170 patients.

Seven shops paying the charge equates to 2,040 meals (170 x 12) at 27p each, apparently. My, that must be a nutritious feast, right enough.

Then a second 'trade' body weighs in.

Liz Atkins, the organisation's director of public policy at NCVO, told The Daily Telegraph: “This change would impose an unnecessary bureaucratic burden and cost on hundreds of thousands of charities.

So, in one article, we have three fully waged spokespersons complaining about what is, in truth, a rather paltry sum.

Quite the parasitical circle jerk.


Paul Kearns said...

I have a recording studio and a huge catalogue of music. I hereby donate all the tracks (well almost all) that we have to charity shops - so long as they are willing to carry an advert in their shops stating where the music cam from and promoting ,my little record label and it's artists.

I am serious - someone's problem is someone else's opportunity.

We have masses of original material that we would love to get to a wider audience and dear old Mandy can do fuck all about what I, as the label owner decide to do with our output.

Simple really - anyone up for promoting this idea?

I (and the artists I have recorded) would love to allow this to be played as a promotional exercise.


Andrew said...

You are so wrong on this one. So I go into a charoty shop, and also donate to the PRS. Fuck them. So in futire every pound I donate (freely) to charity now has an automatic deduction to those corporate fascists in the government and the record industry. You are so wrong with this post it beggars belief. Get a grip you twat.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Andrew: Each donation you freely give already takes a big hit from admin costs anyway. £81 per year doesn't really make any significant dent in your giving.

And I did say that Mandelson's proposals are wrong-headed anyway, for the same reason that you point out. It's just that charities are not best placed to cry foul.

Simply stop the music or do as Paul Kearns cleverly suggested.

banned said...

More control freakery, very little of that £81 will ever get to recording artists once the cost of admin and enforcement are met.
Presumably this will mean the end of School Discos, Scouts and village hall mucicals, penshioners Salsa dance classes and suchlike?
Banning by stealth but to what end?

There were reports of the Performing Rights soc (?) demanding fees from individual taxi drivers who put the radio on to 'entertain' their passengers, dunno how far they got with that one.

JuliaM said...

I can't remember when I last walked past a charity shop, but I'm fairly sure I didn't hear any music inside...

"You are so wrong with this post it beggars belief. Get a grip you twat."

What exactly do you dispute? The facts and figures? The calculations made?

As banned says, this is indeed more government control freakery, but the way to oppose it is not by nonsensical hyperbole about losses that can be disproved so easily.

We need to fight back against this sort of thing (as Dick says in his opening passage) but we need to do it properly, and we need to be smart about it.