Rock The House – a chance to win quite a lot of stuff….

Posted on March 11, 2011 in Ronnie's News

I have been invited to be a judge for the Macclesfield area for the Rock The House initiative. Rock the House is a music competition for unsigned bands and artists launched by an MP called Mike Weatherley. He is hoping that the competition will also help raise political awareness of issues around music copyright and protecting the intellectual property of artist’s work.
Now at first glance it may look like a politically motivated move to show that MPs can be in touch with the yoof, but I prefer to look at it as official recognition and appreciation of artistic talent and through IP protection rewarding the creative talent accordingly. So it is something worthwhile and there are some great prizes on offer as well, such as…

• A winners’ reception and performance at the House of Commons
• To perform live at a top music venue and two festivals in 2011
• Yamaha gear and instruments
• Invaluable PR and promotional exposure
• Network with top industry professionals
• A masterclass from a top sound and lighting engineer
• Opportunity to record an original CD
• Chance to record a music video
• A photo shoot with an internationally published music photographer
• Plus loads of other runner’s up prizes

The competition also aims to recognise and reward venues who regularly showcase live music, however as a venue that puts on live music my participation as a judge in the competition means that Ronnie’s has to remain exempt from the competition.

We are happy to take the risk of putting on live music events, whether that’s open mic, a performance by resident band Rough Twist, a Macc Sabbath event or a Battle of the Bands competition. Putting on quality entertainment is a key ingredient of what we do at Ronnie’s. Our rewards come if people like the entertainment we serve up by turning up week in week out. If that happens I am happy so the venue doesn’t need the kudos of an award. We are only ever as good as our last gig after all.

As a venue owner though I am interested in the intellectual property protection part of this initiative. Ronnie’s as an entertainment venue pays pretty hefty licence fees to the PRS and PPL. These fees are paid to the performing artists and writers, so nothing wrong with that in principle. However as most of the live bands we put on are unsigned and tend to perform their own stuff none of the PRS and PPL fees raised from Ronnie’s is relevant to them. Yet we pay big licensing fees for the privilege of serving up live music entertainment. By the same token, the music our excellent DJs play isn’t main stream pop so it’s debatable whether the recording artists we promote through the DJs’ sets will be getting much of the licensing revenue raised at Ronnie’s either. The curious way they raise and distribute the revenue means that the likes of Simon Cowell’s artists will receive the vast proportion of the money we give the PRS and PPL yet we wouldn’t entertain the idea of playing most or indeed any of that sort of music in our venue.

So the very fact that this is a government led initiative (regardless of particular political preferences) will this eventually lead to a fairer distribution of the licensing revenue for the artists we promote at Ronnie’s? I would much rather that more of the licence fees we pay went to the relevant artists and not Mr Cowell. And that’s not based on any form of resentment of Simon Cowell’s success; I quite admire and respect the man. But the type of audience he earns his living from is different to the audience the type of audience the likes of the Virginmarys perform to, therefore a fairer system of distribution of intellectual property fees would be welcomed by the many aspiring artists that perform all over the country, not just in Macclesfield.

So hopefully the competition will be a big success. Any bands interested in applying should go to the Rock The House website and download the application form and forward along with an MP3 of their track to David Rutley our local MP at david.rutley.mp@parliament.uk

Entries have to be in by 31st March, we will then hold a final event at a date to be announced for the four finalists to compete for the chance to play at the winners reception at the Houses of Parliament.

See you soon

Ronnie

11 March 2011
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