British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors

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British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors logo
Industry Music
Founded 1944 (1944)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) is a professional organisation based in London, UK, representing songwriters, composers and lyricists. In 2011 the Academy had more than 2000 members.[1]


BASCA logo

In 1999 The Association of Professional Composers (APC) and the Composers' Guild of Great Britain (CGGB) merged with the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors to provide a single, more powerful amalgamated organization to represent its membership.[2] The organization's current name was adopted in March, 2009.[3] Sir Tim Rice was elected first president, and Guy Fletcher and David Stoll served as joint chairs of a nine-member Board of Directors. Three executive committees were established to administer Pop and Theatrical Music, Concert Music and Media. BASCA now has four genre committees representing Songwriters, Classical, Jazz and Media composers.

Members of BASCA include emerging songwriters and the United Kingdom's "most experienced and successful writers." A partial list of the members includes David Arnold (an Academy fellow), Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies (fellow), George Fenton, Guy Garvey, Howard Goodall, Elton John (fellow), and Paul McCartney (fellow).[3][4] Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards are members, as are Sting, Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, George Michael, Alex Turner, Benson Taylor, Chris Martin, Mika and Thom Yorke.[5]

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors was founded in 1944 to represent composers of classical music, with Ralph Vaughan Williams elected as first President. The Songwriters' Guild of Great Britain, later known as The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors was founded in 1947 by Eric Maschwitz. The Association of Professional Composers was founded in 1976 by George Fenton[3][6] to represent composers of film and TV music.[7] In 1958 the Composers' Guild of Great Britain began publishing the journal Composer, and also published a number of catalogs of available works. In 1967 the organization established the British Music Information Centre.[8]


Elton John (2011)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (2008)

In 1955 The Songwriters' Guild of Great Britain established the Ivor Novello Awards to honour excellence in British music writing. The award is considered to be "prestigious."[9] In 1974 the Academy established the Gold Badge Awards for individuals who make outstanding contributions to Britain’s music and entertainment industry, sponsored annually by PRS for Music. The organization also presents the British Composer Awards for excellence in classical and jazz music, also sponsored by the PRS for Music and in association with BBC Radio 3.

The Beatles have won 15 Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors as well as 7 Grammy Awards.[10][11][12][13] See also List of awards and nominations received by The Beatles.

BASCA established the fellowship in 1999, and it was first awarded in 2000. Fellows are:

Other services[edit]

The Beatles (1964)

According to the organization's executive director, BASCA exists to support and protect the professional interests of songwriters, lyricists and composers of all genres of music and to celebrate and encourage excellence in British music writing. Members of BASCA include United Kingdom's most experienced and successful songwriters, like the Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Chris Martin and Gary Barlow.

Its aims are:

  1. To campaign as a leading force in the domestic and international political arenas
  2. To celebrate excellence through world-class awards ceremonies – the Ivor Novello Awards, the British Composer Awards and the Gold Badge Awards
  3. To inform our members in a constantly changing environment through our publications, websites and seminars
  4. To foster a sense of community amongst British songwriters, composers and lyricists
  5. To encourage the next generation of professional music writers.

The organization administers Academy Recordings Limited (ARL), a non-profit company for music distribution through digital download. It also provides pro bono legal services, model contracts, a tax helpline, professional development seminars, online promotion, a collaboration service, networking opportunities, publications and newsletters.[3]

On behalf of songwriters generally, the organization urged the website Spotify to explain their methods of providing compensation to artists whose songs are distributed. In an interview with The BBC, Patrick Rackow, former BASCA CEO, claimed that the amounts were minuscule, and opined that uncertainty, fear and failure to pay fair compensation could undermine the relationship of Spotify and the artistic community that wants it to succeed.[9] It has also worked in concert with the Featured Artists Coalition and the Music Producers Guild in information campaigns and legislative lobbying to protect rights of performers and musicians and for "artists to have more control of their music and a much fairer share of the profits".[14] Shrouding royalty payments in an obscure box consisting of smoke and mirrors is not good: “I think that harms Spotify, it harms the writers' perception of Spotify and this is a service that they want to support."

Noting that record label companies own part of Spotify, the BASCA president claims returns were "unlikely to filter down into payments for the artists", who have a difficult time making a living as even middling songwriters.[15] This is seen as a balancing of the creative and financial rights of the creators of music with the rights to free speech.[16]

Spotify manager Daniel Ek told the BBC that: "The truth is that the amount of money an artist makes per stream is increasing because we're getting more and more people to become subscribers, our advertising revenue is growing month-on-month."[15]

BASCA is currently involved in the process to select the United Kingdom's entry in 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. It has had involvement however with the contest in previous years, prior to 2016.

The organization was actively circulating petitions challenging the BBC's plan to close down 6 Music.[4]

Amy Winehouse (2007)


  1. ^ "The Response of the British Academy of Composers Songwriters and Authors to the call for evidence of the independent review of intellectual property and growth" (PDF). March 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Founder of UBR (18 May 2009). "British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors". The Unsigned band review. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Petition to BBC". Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "BASCA presents Songfest, an exciting new songwriting festival". 25 August 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Fenton, George (1950-)". Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Hunter, Nigel (9 January 1999). "3 UK Composers's Guilds Officially Merge" (PDF). Billboard: 35. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Michael; Bourne, Joyce (1996). "Composers' Guild of Great Britain". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. 
  9. ^ a b Leach, Ben (14 April 2010). "Spotify accused of ripping off artists amid claims it pays just £100 for a million plays". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Harry, Bill (2000). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Revised and Updated. London: Virgin. ISBN 978-0-7535-0481-9. 
  11. ^ "The Beatles' chart records and awards". Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Beatles Inducted to the Walk of Fame". Hollywood Walk of Fame. December 25, 1998. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Interesting Facts About The Beatles". Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  14. ^ "Featured Artists Coalition Attacks Peter Mandelson's Filesharing Plan". 10 September 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Youngs, Ian, Music reporter. "Songwriters condemn Spotify deals". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "ABOUT RIGHT! FREEDOM OF MUSIC & SPEECH". Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers. 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (1968). 60 years of British hits, 1907-1966 / The Song Writers' Guild of Great Britain. London: Song Writers' Guild of Great Britain. p. 127. 

External links[edit]