A new deal signed between the British Broadcasting Corporation and the MPA (Music Publishers Association), acting on behalf of its members, is enabling the BBC to grow its global audience for contemporary classical music.
The agreement was brokered in July this year and allows BBC contemporary classical coverage published in the U.K. to be broadcast to a potential audience of 650 million across 56 countries, via the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) network.
As a result, coverage from the 2009 BBC Proms programme has proved highly popular with European broadcasters, most notably in the form of Rebecca Saunders' "Traces" -- published by Frankfurt-based Peters Edition -- which received its U.K. premiere at the BBC Proms Aug. 27 and has since been taken up by 21 international broadcasters.
A number of other classical works premiered at the BBC Proms this year have also proved popular including Louis Andriessen's "The Hague Hacking" - published by Boosey & Hawkes - and world premieres of works by Ryan Wigglesworth and Michael Nyman all set to be aired in 10 to 15 countries.
Previously, if the BBC wanted to offer classical music programming to outside broadcasters, the corporation would have to pay supplementary fees to music publishers before they could do so.
The new arrangement renders that arrangement obsolete by way of a 'buy-out' deal, which entails the BBC paying an initial hire fee to publishers that allows them to broadcast a specific piece of music on the BBC as often as it wants, as well as syndicate the programme to international broadcasters at no extra cost.
According to Jenny Goodwin, assistant chief executive of the MPA, this new deal gives the BBC "the flexibility they need to offer almost as much [classical] programming as they want to, whereas before they were constrained by having to make supplementary payments to publishers."
"What we have done is sort out a deal whereby there is certainty for the BBC and certainty for the publishers," Goodwin tells Billboard.biz, adding that this new deal specifically relates to hire fees - a publishing practice relatively unique to classical music, whereby an orchestra or classical ensemble hires the sheet music for a particular work or score direct from a publisher.
"This is just a really good example of publishers and the BBC recognising that if they change the way in which things have always been done then it is to the benefit not only of the publishers, but also to the composers that they look after and it helps the BBC to fulfil part of its remit, as well as the broadcasters oversees and the audiences of those broadcast networks," Goodwin continued. "It really is a win, win situation all round for everybody."