Mission to MOLA

As I creep towards decrepitude (I'm nearly 56!) I look back at at fabulous 40 year professional life as a bass player, and I have seen some amazing places and met some incredible people, including being privileged to meet and shake hands with Ella Fitzgerald.

Since 2005 I have been in a "day job" as well, as Performance Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly known as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) where I manage all performance material and advise on copyright and associated institutions (PRS, PPL) as well as doing lots of gigs at night.

Right now, I'm pretty excited as I've flown out to New Orleans for the MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarian's Association) Conference which is happening over the weekend of 11-14th May.

It is great to get the chance to meet people doing the same job as me, as there is normally only one in any institution, so one tends to be a bit "out on a limb"! At the conference there will be many interesting sessions, on new media licensing and Latin American orchestral music, to name but two. Also as part of the agenda, I have the chance to attend various concerts taking place in the city, and one that I dare not miss is the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra - a name to be reckoned with!

I shall be doing a daily update to this blog whilst in the USA, and let you know all of the news and events as they happen. This will include any gigs I attend, especially if I get some good traditional Dixie Jazz.

The fun started when I flew into Louis Armstrong International Airport - as the great man himself said often, "and that's Jazz!"

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Day two and it's librarianly paradise

The morning kicked off with a MOLA members business meeting where all conference attendees stood up and introduced themselves. Embarrassment over, minutes and reports were scrutinised, election votes counted, pearls of wisdom passed on. I am really looking forward to seeing the new MOLA website which will have all the current info but in probably a more user friendly format, with a social forum aspect as well. Goody goody because I have loads of new friends that I want to keep in contact with.

Then after a short break, it was into a session called "our world according to copyright". Fabulous! So many nuggets of information and so much food for future thought. Some very interesting ideas on orchestral excerpts. As a conservatoire librarian, this was heaven, as will be the session at 4pm which is an educational break out. But before that it's one called "do we need a licence for that?" - as all performance and orchestral librarians know, the answer is almost certainly yes, otherwise the question woukdn't be asked in the first place! More anon - ta ta the noo (as we say in Glasgow!)

That was a great session with representatives from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) these 2 prganistions are roughly equivalent to the PRS (Performing Rights Society) and the PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) in the UK. In both cases the organisations deal respectively with music ( all creators - composers/ arrangers, lyricists)copyright and performance copyright.

Also in attendance was a lawyer specialising in music copyright and he said one thing about it in general, website use in particular was that in many cases folk think that short excerpt use is acceptable without licensing, but he said "if your prospective audience is starting to enjoy it, you have probably used too much"! Fabulous! Many of my colleagues made valid points in the Q and A part of the session and one over-riding opinion was that organisations should not only seek advice from the librarian in programme planning (advisory capacity) bu also allow adequate time to ensure all permissions are properly in place in adequate time before the event.

There was chat about the licensing of (mostly "pops") music where copyright is shared between different owners on a percentage basis. This can lead to a great traffic of emails between the different owners and the librarian as the scenario goes a bit like this: Owner 1 ( say 66%) sets fee of a reasonable amount but says if owner 2 asks for a (percentage) higher rate, we want twice what they are getting,,,,.. This can wander back and forth for a while!

The day's learning is now over and the educational session was a joy. It's only the second time I have had the pleasure of talking with colleagues who do the same job as me - it really was quite an education, to make a lousy parallel! Topics included the use if practice parts, issuing of hire (rental) material to students, library/ collection security to name but a few. It was decided that we would keep email contact going after New Orleans. Gosh, I now have a support network! My plan for tonight is to try and hear some jazz. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I hate it when they make you stand up and talk in front of strangers 8-( It takes me back to the days of Mr Bowker, the English teacher at Erith Grammar, who would make each pupil talk about a random subject for two minutes with no prep time.......aargh!
    My head is reeling from all the issues you covered - how you will remember it all is a wonder to me!! Will you get a printed review of what was covered and who to contact or did you have to make notes as you went along? Your poor little fingers must have been scribbling hard, eh? Hope you had a good evening's worth of jazz to make up for it. 8-) Sx


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