A sheaf of British currency
Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

A long-rumbling row over rates for session musicians in the UK has broken out into the open again, after the Musicians’ Union rejected the latest offer made by the BPI.

The Financial Times reported that the offer would up rates by 38% from the current minimum of £43 per hour for rock and pop sessions.

Classical musicians, who are treated separately under the rules, would receive a 15% rise. However, the union’s committee has rejected the proposal.

“Even with a 38% increase, the session rate has barely increased in 15 years and would remain lower than other equivalent Musicians’ Union recording rates,” said general secretary Naomi Pohl.

The BPI’s interim CEO Sophie Jones has criticised the union’s decision not to put the offer to a vote from its members.

“The demands that the MU are making on top of this generous deal, including royalty payments on past recordings where musicians have already been paid on agreed terms, are neither viable nor reasonable,” she said.

The crux of this dispute may be the question of whether session musicians should receive a slice of streaming revenues from the tracks they’ve worked on: the MU thinks they should, but the BPI disagrees.

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