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Busking cd problems

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Hi Folks

as some of you may know I have been busking since July 2011 and really enjoy getting out there. You meet some great people and it has improved my playing too.

I have been asked a few times if I have made a cd, so thought that I would look into what's involved.

Well I have tried recording myself at home using a Zoom 8 track desk, but I am not happy with the results. I have been recommended a small studio in Leicester that seems to charge a fee of £120 a day, which I didn't think was too bad. Obviously the cd then needs making but no idea of cost yet.

I then looked at the backing tracks needed, well I need a prs licence to make sure the composers get paid, and for a cd longer than 25 minutes and upto 500 copies cost about £163, plus depending on where I get the tracks from I will have to pay another licence (www.pocketsongs.com want $150 per track so wont be using them) Luckily forum member Chris has come to the rescue.

I thought that so that I didn't get nicked I would check with the council if I needed a street vendors licence, well the answer is yes and the very kind lady sent me an application form. I did say that I only busk 2 or 3 times a month and would guess that I would sell may 4 or 5 cd's in a month as the most. So I thought the cost of £2175 a year was very reasonable!!

So the revised plan is to have a sign that says cd's available, please ask and then give people a business card with my website address where they can buy it there.

The next step is to decide on the tunes and get them up to scratch.

regards

Dave:thumb:
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,020
So the revised plan is to have a sign that says cd's available, please ask and then give people a business card with my website address where they can buy it there.
I think you are likely to lose 80% of sales at least. It's good that you want to be legal, but can't you "give" them away to people who "give" you a donation.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
That was another thought, would it still not count as street trading though?

Dave

I have just emailed the council with this idea, will let you know when they reply.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
This sort of stuff is a minefield. One of my choirs had to pay royalties of £100 to Novello to print the text of a work in the programme. Nothing odd there if the composer is living, or his work is in copyright.

The work: St. John Passion. The composer? J S Bach - he's been DEAD for 250 years. Date of composition? 1723.

Why? The "New" Novello Choral Edition had a revised translation and text, which neatly keeps it in copyright.

We wouldn't have paid if we'd used the old translation as that was well out of copyright dating from 1860s....
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Have to say that I have bought buskers cds and I KNOW they didnt have any licence. I would do it and see if I got caught. I would not think I would get caught. I would not think most people would think you had to have a 2175-00 bit of paper to do that. Really, I would not bother. Just my opinion, nowt to do with the caff, I stress.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I have to agree with Pete. Have some handy and "give" them to those that ask and ask them for a donation of say £5 It works for me.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,020
I wouldn't actually "ask" for a donation, or it could be considered trading. Just make it obvious that optional donations are very great fully received. Most people are honest and won't just take a CD without making a donation.

This is a bit of a grey area, so I wouldn't actually ask the council if you can do this, I would just do it.

Our local residents committee has an AGM in a hut, which isn't licensed. They give away "free" wine and there is a big bucket labelled "donations" by the bar. People put in 50p or a quid, and there are usually a couple of City councillors there as well.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
When I queried the price of the licence I mentioned that in Leicester we have a group of Peruvian pan pipers every so often who do a big circuit of cities, and where they expected to spend this sort of money in each place they visit, don't think so! no reply on that one from the council.
Thanks for all the replies, I will keep you informed as this progresses

dave
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
366
When I queried the price of the licence I mentioned that in Leicester we have a group of Peruvian pan pipers every so often who do a big circuit of cities, and where they expected to spend this sort of money in each place they visit, don't think so! no reply on that one from the council.
Thanks for all the replies, I will keep you informed as this progresses

dave
Yes Ive seen the same Peruvian Pan Pipers in Stafford, Cannock, Iron Bridge and Bridgnorth, I've even got a CD... I think as they move around its very hard to nail them down legally... What does the street license cost without selling? I assume you need one.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
In Leicester you don't need a licence to busk as the council cover the prs end of things, but other towns may well be different.

Does anyone know who would check if I had a licence for selling, would it be the police or council worker?

Dave
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Some towns and cities have warden type people who roam the streets monitoring things like buskers, illegal street traders etc. I think they are the ones to watch. What I do is to have a single cd on display in my case. Wardens will say something along the lines of "I hope your not selling them!" To which I reply, "No but they are available on my web site, I'm just promoting them!" Sometimes they ask me to hide them from view so I do. I've never had an issue with anyone, but I always make sure I have a pleasant attitude towards them.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
I have had police and PCSO's walk past and not say a word, so once I have got it made I may well try it.
thanks

Dave
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,020
I have had police and PCSO's walk past and not say a word, so once I have got it made I may well try it.
If the police do question you, you could point out (extreeeeemly) politely and non-confronationally, that unlike the wide boys down the market selling pirated CDs and Rolexes, you actually bothered to get an MCPS licence.

I would hope (ha!) they are happier to have people earning money by busking and selling their CDs than snatching old ladies pension books.

But as Taz said, it's more likely the council wardens will take a "jobsworth" attitude, in which case it's may be all down to what kind of a mood they are in, however polite you are. If their solo purpose in life is to nick street traders, that's what they'll do.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
I have received a reply from my latest email to the council regarding giving away the disk and suggesting a donation. I mentioned that it was similar to the religious blokes who give you a book and then ask for a donation.
Here is the reply



Unfortunately this would still technically be street trading, as money would be changing hands. We allow religious groups to distribute printed material as they qualify for an exemption provided for religions under our Distribution of Free Printed Matter policy, but to collect money they would need to obtain a Street Collection Permit from us (so that is not actually street trading but a combination of an exemption to distribute printed materials coupled with an authorised charitable street collection). The only way for you to legally give away your CDs would be free of charge, where no money changed hands or to sell them a street trading consent is required.

The really don't want me to make this cd do they!!!
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Surely music is a religion. Closest I've got anyway. And buring a CD must be a kind of printing.>:)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Read between the lines of the reply. Gifts and collections at the same venue occasion are OK for religious groups, so why not for you? But direct sales are not allowed so make sure that's clearly not transgressed.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
anyone got a cassock I can borrow for busking!

Part of me says stuff it, and give them away and if people donate, great, if not, oh well hope they enjoy the music.

Will let you know what happens when I get that far.

cheers

dave
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,020
anyone got a cassock I can borrow for busking!

Part of me says stuff it, and give them away and if people donate, great, if not, oh well hope they enjoy the music.
If the artwork is minimal, then the physical cost of the CDs is surprisingly low, I would try experimentally giving them away with no obligation to donate. But somewhere on the CD sleeve you could have a notice saying: this is free, but if you enjoyed my playing here is my paypal address…that way you aren't even unofficially soliciting payment on the street. You may get close to nothing back, but you may just get a few gigs, like someone is having a wedding and they suddenly remember the CD that nice busker gave them. So include a phone number also.

re: CD manufacturing licence, I would be interested to know what the MCPS charge for a licence when you put "retail price = 0" on the application.
 

Filton

Member
Messages
243
As another thought, what about producing a simple CD with only maybe a couple of sample tracks on to give away, with a link to a paid download of the full CD?

That way people get the cover artwork but have to pay for the contents . . . . .
 
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