Chapter

Workers’ Rights and Performing Rights: Cinema Music and Musicians Prior to Synchronized Sound

Annette Davison

in The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199797615
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979738 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797615.003.0014
Workers’ Rights and Performing Rights: Cinema Music and Musicians Prior to Synchronized Sound

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This chapter explores the role of the trade union and the collecting agency in relation to music in cinemas though the “silent” period and on to the emergence of synchronized sound. A brief history of the Musician’s Union and its relationship with other unions is followed by an investigation of the union’s role in supporting cinema musicians, and its negotiations with the principal employers’ organization, the Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association. This is followed by an introduction to the Performing Right Society (PRS), the institution established by publishers and composers in 1914 to collect revenue for the public performance of their music. Here the vital role that cinemas played in the establishment and survival of the PRS during its infancy is highlighted, alongside the periodically difficult relationship between the Musicians’ Union and the PRS, in part due to the society’s classification system for the licensing of music in cinemas.

Keywords: Performing Right Society; Musicians’ Union; Amalgamated Musicians’ Union; cinema musicians; performing right; Scotland; musical accompaniment; cinema music; copyright

Chapter.  9490 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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