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The Ivors Academy 2019 round-up

As we near Christmas, CEO Graham Davies reflects on a fantastic year at The Ivors Academy making progress on all of our objectives.

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In 2019 we have been proud to reflect on the enormous contribution the Academy has made to composers and songwriters, in its many guises, over 75 years. We are a community of creators that draws strength from our history with an eye on the horizon to protect our songwriters and composers in an ever-changing industry.

2019 was also our first under our new name – The Ivors Academy of Music Creators. This bold and progressive identity has enabled us to increase awareness of our organisation and attract Apple Music as our new strategic partner. Increasing awareness is important if we are to grow our membership and have increased impact across our three areas of activity: Campaigning, Celebrating and Cultivating.

We have had a pivotal year, investing in our future and delivering several successes. Here are some highlights:

Membership

Growing our membership through increasing our activities and offering more benefits is central to our new strategy. Since January we have seen more Academy and Standard members join with notable successes coming in the new Under 25 Membership category, where over 100 members have joined in the last month. Ed Sheeran, four time Ivor Novello Award winner joined the Academy in 2019.

We also launched our Youth Network, established to create a community of partnerships between the Academy, aspiring young creators and leading universities, colleges and organisations, to act as an important source of knowledge sharing and career advice through mentoring and learning opportunities. As part of the initiative we’re holding vacancies across a newly established Youth Council advisory group, as well as a place on our Board of Directors for a full term.

For the first time in 2019, we started distributing royalties from CopyDan, for the reproduction (photocopying) of text and sheet music from Danish educational and religious establishments. We are delighted to have paid almost £300,000 to The Ivors Academy members and creators.

Campaigning

In Spring we held a reception in the House of Lords to launch our new identity and discuss our policy agenda. Included in these was our lobbying for the European Copyright Directive, which was approved.

Our Parliamentary Launch event at the House of Lords in May
Our Parliamentary Launch event at the House of Lords in May

We worked tirelessly over the year to put creators at the centre of the campaign by holding a busking stunt outside YouTube’s London headquarters, as well as recording a cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Just Say Yes’ to urge MEPs to support the Directive. Thank you to all The Ivors Academy members that got involved in this vital campaign.

L: Anna Pesquidous and Crispin Hunt in the studio recording 'Just Say Yes' ahead of the crucial Copyright Directive vote R: Campaigning outside Google with the music creator community © Jonathan Hordle
L: Anna Pesquidous and Crispin Hunt in the studio recording 'Just Say Yes' ahead of the crucial Copyright Directive vote R: Campaigning outside Google with the music creator community © Jonathan Hordle

As we go into 2020, we need to keep pressure up for this legislation, or a variant of it to be passed into UK law. We will be working with industry colleagues to support this endeavour.

Concerns from the media music community have been increasing through the year over the advance of buyouts, Coercive Commissioning Practices and the lack of a Code of Conduct to support media composers. Over 100 composers completed our survey of commissioning practice and we have established effective dialogue with broadcasters and commissioners including the BBC, Netflix and Sky. This work continues with an important position published over the last week in response to the aggressive moves in the US of Discovery Communication. We are forming an international coalition to fight these issues and will be seeking composers to get involved.

Another key focus for 2019 has been our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion. Wesley John has been appointed as our first Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager leads work we are doing with BBC Radio 3, Keychange and our Committees to increase equality in the future.

Celebrating

We had a very successful year of celebrating the art of music composition, songwriting and contribution to the music industry through our annual awards giving programme. With a rich history of over six decades, The Ivors continues to be the most important and influential event for music creators in the world.

Celebrating songwriting excellence at The Ivors 2019 © Mark Allan
Celebrating songwriting excellence at The Ivors 2019 © Mark Allan

And now for the first time, in December we built on this wonderful heritage to present The Ivors Composer Awards, previously known as The British Composer Awards, uniting excellence under one symbol of celebration. Contemporary composition in the UK is thriving, as clearly demonstrated through this year’s winners and shortlisted nominees. We’re proud to showcase the vibrant works of this community and to reach new audiences as we continue to promote the art and craft of classical, jazz and sound art.

The Ivors Composer Awards 2019, presenting Ivors Novello Awards for the first time in the event's history © Mark Allan
The Ivors Composer Awards 2019, presenting Ivors Novello Awards for the first time in the event's history © Mark Allan

Our much loved annual Gold Badge returned to The Savoy in October to celebrate the important contributions of those who enrich and inspire the professional lives of songwriters and composers. Hosted by Edith Bowman, the Academy presented Gold Badges to ten individuals – ten pioneers, legends and trailblazers – who have supported our members and community.

The Ivors Academy Gold Badge 2019, recognising outstadning contributions to the music creator community © Mark Allan
The Ivors Academy Gold Badge 2019, recognising outstadning contributions to the music creator community © Mark Allan

Cultivating

Our diverse programme of educational and inspiring member events across the year has attracted thousands of attendees from all over the country. Covering a wide range of themes and topics tailored to the needs of our membership, we’ve presented, partnered and had presence at a whole host of sold out seminars and panels, dedicated networking sessions and insightful workshops and conferences, in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Newcastle, Liverpool

L: Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis at The Ivors Academy with Songwriting Studies R: Our songwriting panel at BBC Introducing Live
L: Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis at The Ivors Academy with Songwriting Studies R: Our songwriting panel at BBC Introducing Live

Boards and Committees

The 60-strong Board and Committees of the Academy met over 30 times this year advancing debate, discussion and ideas for development of the organisation. The Ivors Academy relies enormously on this input being proudly run by and run for music creators.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

On behalf of The Ivors Academy team I would like to thank all our members, partners, sponsors and friends for your support for our organisation and wish you all a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

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