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Welsh language artists go on strike

By | Published on Monday 19 December 2011

BBC Radio Cymru

Welsh-language musicians are on strike. Or, rather, they have called on the BBC’s Welsh language radio station BBC Radio Cymru to stop playing their music in an ongoing dispute over royalties.

The Welsh Music Publishers And Composers Alliance accuses the Beeb of reworking the way royalties are calculated so that the money paid out to the writers and performers of tracks played on the Welsh language station are now much less. They are staging a three day strike this week, starting today, and have asked BBC Cymru to not play there music during that time period.

Commenting on the impact of recent changes in royalty levels, Dafydd Roberts, CEO of Welsh language record company Sain, told The Guardian: “It is certain to lead to a significant reduction in the production of new Welsh musical works”.

It’s tricky for the BBC, which is facing big pressures to cut costs across the board. The Corporation also argues that royalty levels are ultimately set by PRS For Music, and that the BBC in Wales has been working hard, talking to both the collecting society and local artists, to find a solution.

Radio Cymru bosses have said they will try to respect the wishes of those artists affiliated with the Alliance today, though are likely to return to normal output tomorrow and on Wednesday. Of course as it operates under a collective licence from PRS the BBC is not actually legally obliged to respect the Alliance’s protest.