I’ve been watching the Electric Proms on the TV (click play above to see one of them). The whole thing turns out to be a very fine thing: another example of what you get when you crunch together the BBC’s guaranteed audience with unparalleled cultural clout and production values to die for: would any artist in the world have refused the opportunity to appear?
So I’m left with a few questions: I suspect that some of my readers may be able to help with these:
- Who owns the rights to the concert recordings? Were they purchased on terms that will allow the BBC to make further use of them?
- Will they be available to licence fee-payers in perpetuity in some kind of archive or will they be subject to the seven-day catch-up window like last year’s? [answering my own question: this press release says the seven day window applies].
- Was there any discussion of trying out new licencing methods or was the old recording industry model the only one on offer? Did the BBC consider using its influence to encourage more permissive/open arrangements?
- Has any of the secondary material—the BBC New Music Shorts, for example—been commissioned on a CC basis or similar?
- Does anyone care about all this? The concerts were great (So far I’ve loved The Streets and Nitin Sawney best) but would anyone be bothered if they disappeared into a vault next week? Should we just accept that the old-world rights regime that’s so transparently broken elsewhere should apply here?
- If this year’s concerts go the way of last year’s and disappear in seven days, would the BBC consider trying a different model next year: explicitly advancing a CC-based festival, for instance. The Open Proms, maybe?