MU calls for better deal for musicians engaged at Edinburgh Tattoo

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is highlighting its concerns that the musicians engaged to perform in this year’s stage band at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (REMT) were not remunerated for their work.

The MU, having liaised with the members involved, entered into dialogue with the REMT organisers during the summer, advising them that asking the musicians to work for free was unacceptable.

Despite encouraging early talks, the organisers have not engaged fully with the MU, deferring any decision about this to a Committee meeting scheduled for October, months after the Tattoo is closed for 2019.

Caroline Sewell, Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Organiser for the MU said:

“The Tattoo is a hugely significant cultural spectacle, respected throughout the world and with understandably high-end production values, which sells hundreds of thousands of tickets during the month of August.

“The idea that the organisers are not able to pay musicians for providing their professional services is unfathomable, both to MU members and the wider cultural community who have been very vocal on the matter. The expectation for musicians to perform for no remuneration at an event of this magnitude is hugely damaging and sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Dave Webster, MU National Organiser – Live Performance, said:

“It is very disappointing that a company such as the REMT has not worked more proactively with us to reach a solution for this year’s event. In light of the Company’s apparent financial standing, we find it hard to comprehend their stance on this issue.”

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Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award Shortlist Revealed

The ten Shortlisted albums for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award were revealed this evening (Thursday 15 June) at a special BBC Music Day programming of the BBC Radio Scotland Quay Sessions.

The selected albums continue to confirm Scotland as a nation with incredible cultural importance, especially within music.

Last year’s SAY Award winner Anna Meredith visited the town of Paisley, host to this year’s SAY Award ceremony earlier today where she was greeted with a giant SAY Award logo outside Paisley Gilmour Street Station.

The SAY Award 2017 Shortlist is as follows (in alphabetical order):

C Duncan The Midnight Sun

Ela Orleans Circles Of Upper And Lower Hell

Honeyblood Babes Never Die

Konx-om-Pax Caramel

Meursault I Will Kill Again

Mogwai Atomic

Pictish Trail Future Echoes [Public Vote Winner]

Rachel Newton Here’s My Heart Come Take It

RM Hubbert Telling The Trees

Sacred Paws Strike A Match

The public can listen to and learn more about each album on The SAY Award Shortlist by visiting

2016 SAY winner Anna Meredith pictured today 15-06 in Paisley

2016 SAY winner Anna Meredith pictured today (15/06) in Paisley

Beginning in March, the process has taken almost 300 public submissions, to 20 Longlisted records, chosen by a panel of 100 impartial nominators, to the Shortlist of 10 albums; one of which was chosen by the public through a 72-hour online vote and the other 9 chosen by an independent panel of judges. This year’s shortlisted artists have each won £1,000, provided by long-term award partner Creative Scotland.  In addition to this, each artist will be awarded with an exclusively designed trophy created by the winner of The SAY Design Commission, Lisa Crockard.

The 72-hour voting window, which closed at midnight on Wednesday, saw Pictish Trail being voted on to the shortlist by the public.

Johnny Lynch, who goes under the guise of Pictish Trail said; “Wow.  Surprised, confused, humbled and mildly aroused to have won the popular vote for the Scottish Album Of The Year Shortlist.  Thank you to all those that voted for Future Echoes, and to all those who forgot to vote but who would have voted for a different album.  I couldn’t have done it without you. ”

Judges include Stuart Cosgrove (Writer/Broadcaster), Caroline Winn (Glasgow International), Roland Gulliver (Edinburgh International Book Festival), Amy Liptrot (Writer), Claire Gevaux (Help Musicians UK), Tallah Brash (The Skinny), Lauren Martin (Music Journalist), Andy Hannah (Line Of Best Fit), David Scott (University of the West of Scotland), Barry Price (Sub Club), Stephanie McWhinnie (TV Producer), John Williamson [CHAIR] (Glasgow University).

Composer and performer Anna Meredith also joined the show sharing news of her year since winning the coveted SAY Award for her album ‘Varmints’ in 2016.

The SAY Award winner will be announced on June 28th in the elegant surroundings of Paisley Town Hall in support of Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. The winning artist will pick up a £20,000 cash prize also provided by Creative Scotland.

The SAY Award is produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), in partnership with Paisley for UK City of Culture 2021, Creative Scotland, Black Bottle, TicketWeb and PPL. The award, which was launched in 2012, celebrates, promotes and rewards the most outstanding Scottish albums released each year. Respected by artists and valued by the industry, The SAY Award is responsible for a surge in musical discovery and an explosion of impassioned debate on social media. Previous SAY Award winners are Anna Meredith (2016), Kathryn Joseph (2015), Young Fathers (2014), RM Hubbert (2013) and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat (2012).

Andy Hannah, SAY Award Judge and Journalist for The Line Of Best Fit said: “It’s clear from previous winners that SAY award and the judges have chosen records which absolutely deserve all the plaudits which came their way before and after. It also brings vital, beautiful pieces of music to a wider audience – which can only be a good thing. As for this year, creating a shortlist isn’t any easy task when there are a number of records to get excited about. For me, it’s an honour to get to champion a handful of albums which have improved my life in the past 12 months.”

Robert Kilpatrick, Projects and Operations Manager, Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “On behalf of the Scottish Music Industry Association, I’d like to say a huge congratulations to the 10 fantastic albums that have been Shortlisted for this year’s SAY Award. The Shortlist, without doubt highlights the strength and diversity of the recorded output of our country’s artists, and we look forward to celebrating all 10 titles at The SAY Award ceremony later this month, where this year’s winner will be revealed.”

Jean Cameron, project director of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, said: “Once again, the SAY Award shortlist shows the diversity and quality of Scotland’s music scene and we can’t wait to welcome the acts on the shortlist to Paisley Town Hall later this month for the ceremony itself.

We are delighted to be the SAY Award hosts for another year – not only does it show off Paisley’s unique venues and ability to host, but to have attracted one of the most prestigious dates in Scotland’s musical calendar to the town is a real thumbs-up for Paisley’s growing reputation as one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “One of the best things about the SAY Award Shortlist is that, year after year, it encourages music fans to take their ears into another territory and listen to something they haven’t heard before. Other awards can only look on in envy as the SAY Award puts traditional harp and flamenco-hued guitar next to thunderous power-pop and soundscape electronica, in the full knowledge that every album here is absolutely worthy of your undivided attention. All of these acts either put their own distinctive stamp on their chosen genre or bend the rules out of shape to create music that’s thrillingly hard to define. Creative Scotland is proud to support a shortlist that’s as uniformly great as this.”

Emma Casey, Global Marketing Manager for Black Bottle, said: “We’re delighted to be an official partner of The SAY Award this year. We’re proud of our roots in Scotland and passionate about doing things differently, so it’s great to celebrate the work of these talented Scottish musicians who have all created their own unique sounds”

Jonathan West, Director of Marketing & Artist Services, TicketWeb, said: “I really didn’t know how the panel were going to get the shortlist down this year. It’s really cool that the public have nominated Pictish Trail. He’s become a real icon of Scottish music over the last decade so it’s beautiful to see there’s still a place in the hearts of music fans for him. Bring on the ceremony, we can’t wait to be back in Paisley!”

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive, PPL, said: “For decades, Scotland has been a thriving hotbed of musical talent, nurturing artists as diverse and varied as Orange Juice, Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura right through to Biffy Clyro, Chvrches and Young Fathers.  This is why, at PPL, we think it is vitally important to continue our partnership supporting the SAY Awards, an event that recognises and puts on a spotlight on some of the best music coming out of Scotland.”


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Some UK artists denied entry to the US to perform at SXSW

Musicians’ Union reacts to UK artists being denied entry to the US to perform at SXSW

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is dismayed to learn that at least five musicians have had their permission to travel to the United States (US) to perform at the international showcase festival South By South West (SXSW) unexpectedly revoked.

The MU had reassurances that SXSW falls into the very narrow exemption, which allows artists invited to perform at official SXSW showcases entry to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (ESTA).

We are aware of many artists who have been allowed into the US and will be performing, but for a few it is a very different story. The Department of Homeland Security, which administers the Visa Waiver Programme, has revoked the ESTAs of five UK musicians leaving them no time to allow an alternative O, P or B Visa to be sought.
Three of the musicians perform in two bands; none of them have received any reasoning from the US authorities as to why this revocation has come about. This renders the advice – that performing under an ESTA for an official showcase is acceptable – as unreliable.
It remains unclear as to whether this is specific to SXSW, or part of a much wider strategic change; the MU is working with partners in the UK and US to uncover the true situation. That said, it would appear that O, P and B Visas with their associated costs and time constraints would appear to be the only safe option for artists performing in the US, whether for an official showcase or not.

Dave Webster, MU National Organiser for Live Performance, and Chair of the Music Industry Visa Task Force, says:

“We have escalated this to the highest level in the UK to try to ascertain what is going on. It is appalling that these artists have been denied the opportunity to showcase at SXSW. The US Embassy in London has provided no explanation. A letter from Nigel Adams MP and Kerry McCarthy MP requesting an urgent meeting with the US officials has been sent.
“Since the formation of the Music Industry Visa Task Force in 2015 some progress on these issues has been made, however this latest development represents a huge setback.”
Horace Trubridge, MU Assistant General Secretary says:

“The amount of public funding that has gone into getting our UK artists to perform at SXSW this year will have been wasted. It is outrageous that these ESTAs have been revoked and more outrageous that the musicians affected have not been told why.”


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Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award – Public Vote Open

SAY Schedule:

Monday 13 – Wednesday 15 June: Music fans get their say in the 72-hour public vote
Thursday 16 June: The BBC Quay Sessions announces the SAY Award shortlist
Wednesday 29 June: SAY Award winner announced at Paisley Town Hall ceremony

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award public vote is open from Monday 13 June until midnight on Wednesday 15 June, giving music fans all over the world 72 hours to choose their favourite album from The SAY Award Longlist. The public’s choice will be guaranteed a coveted slot on The SAY Award Shortlist, due to be exclusively revealed as part of a special live edition of BBC Radio Scotland’s The Quay Sessions on Thursday 16 June. Hosted by Vic Galloway, the show will also feature live performances from previous SAY nominees Fatherson and last year’s SAY Award Winner Kathryn Joseph.

The public have been able to stream the 20 longlisted titles in full and for free over the past four weeks at and can now cast their votes in support of the album they think should make the shortlist of 10. The album with the most votes at midnight on Wednesday will automatically make the list, earning a guaranteed £1,000 and the chance to be hailed Scottish Album of the Year 2016 and earn the £20,000 first prize. The winner of the public vote will join nine other shortlisted titles chosen by The SAY Award’s independent judging panel.

This year’s longlist represents another great blend of Scotland’s emerging and established talent and includes a diverse range of artists from internationally renowned Scottish bands and exceptional ‘artists to watch’ across all genres including hip-hop, classical, rock, electronic, indie, electro-pop and trad/folk, championing household names and exhilarating new discoveries alike.

The incredibly strong longlist lineup includes Primal Scream, FFS, CHVRCHES, Emma Pollock and Steve Mason, who feature alongside Isle of Lewis born trad musician Iain Morrison, Edinburgh-raised composer Anna Meredith, Celtic piper Jarlath Henderson and award-winning baroque ensemble Dunedin Consort, as well as previous winners Young Fathers and a first time nod to Mercury Music Prize 2015 nominee C Duncan.

Produced by The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), and now in its fifth year, The SAY Award has grown to become the most prestigious music prize in Scotland. Previous winners include Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat (2012), RM Hubbert (2013), Young Fathers (2014) and last year’s winner Kathryn Joseph who will be performing live as part of The Quay Sessions special on Thursday 16th June.

This year’s prestigious SAY Award ceremony will be held in Paisley Town Hall on Wednesday 29 June – the award’s first time outside of Glasgow in a two year partnership with Renfrewshire Council to support Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. Presented by regular hosts Vic Galloway and Janice Forsyth, the ceremony is attended by the cream of Scotland’s creative industries and will feature live performances by last year’s winner Kathryn Joseph, newcomers Bossy Love and White and the powerful folk ensemble Treacherous Orchestra.

The full SAY Award 2016 longlist is as follows (in alphabetical order): 

Admiral Fallow

Anna Meredith

Auntie Flo

C Duncan


Django Django

Dunedin Consort

Emma Pollock


Hector Bizerk

Hudson Mohawke

Iain Morrison

Jarlath Henderson


Steve Mason

Miaoux Miaoux

Primal Scream

Rachel Sermanni

The Revenge

Young Fathers

Tiny Rewards


Theory of Flo


Every Open Eye

Born Under Saturn

J.S. Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata

In Search Of Harperfield


The Waltz Of Modern Psychiatry



Hearts Broken, Heads Turned

The Bell That Never Rang

Meet The Humans

School Of Velocity


Tied To The Moon

Love That Will Not Die

White Men Are Black Men Too

Stewart Henderson, Director of The SAY Award said: “The purpose of The SAY Award is to engage with as many music fans as possible, to generate debate and discussion and most importantly, support for the music that we all love. The public vote invites people not only from Scotland but from all over the world to have a say in which longlisted album is their favourite, and by helping to secure a place for that album on our shortlist, they will have materially benefited the artist in question. With the Hyundai Mercury Prize now adopting our public vote/judging panel format, it’s clear that The SAY Award remains ahead of the curve and one of the UK’s most progressive arts prizes.”


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Friday Deadline for FREE ‘One Step Beyond’ music project for 16-25 year olds.

The deadline for Lamp House Music’s project ‘One Step Beyond’ is this coming Friday – 3 one_step_beyond_FLYER_front.jpegJune 2016 at 9pm.
The acclaimed Music School and Rehearsal Studios based in Haddington are keen to remind young people of this fantastic opportunity – particularly those who have been busy with exams at school and college and therefore have not yet submitted their application.

‘One Step Beyond’, with support from Creative Scotland, offers free places for youth music bands and solo artists, ages 16-25, based in East Lothian and Midlothian.

‘One Step Beyond’ will run in July/August 2016 and aims to enhance participants’ knowledge and experience of the music industry whilst equipping young people with the tools to assist them with the next step in their music careers.

Lamp House Music’s ‘One Step Beyond’, which was announced in April, will provide the opportunity for up to 50 young people to work with music industry experts, completely free. Each band/artist involved will rehearse at Lamp House Music (Haddington), record two songs in professional recording studio, The Sound Café (Penicuik), plus take part in various Music Industry Workshops – including a Music Marketing & Branding Session to include professionally produced photographs and band logo forming part of a bespoke Press Pack for bands/artists to use alongside their completed tracks, as a valuable promotional tool to support their future musical careers.

At the end of the project, participating bands and artists will perform in a Live Showcase to an invitation-only audience to include several renowned music industry professionals who will be offering advice and feedback to all of the performers. The Live Showcase venue has now been confirmed as Queen Margaret University’s Student Union.

Callum Maguire, Education Manager at Lamp House Music, said, “In recent weeks, young people have been very busy with exams at school, college and university – but with exams now over, we are keen to remind youth bands and solo artists from East Lothian and Midlothian, of this fantastic opportunity, which is fully funded by Creative Scotland. But the closing date for applications is this Friday – so there’s no time to delay!”

In addition, Lamp House Music are working in partnership with Edinburgh College – offering their students paid work experience on the project as Assistant Sound Engineers. Students will work alongside professional engineers at The Sound Café in Penicuik, in the recording part of the ‘One Step Beyond’ process. Applications for this are also to be submitted via the Lamp House Music website, by Friday 3 June 2016.

To apply, bands/artists (and Assistant Sound Engineers) must complete a short application form available online or from Lamp House Music. The deadline date for all applications is Friday 3rd June 2016.

More information can be found at or by calling 01620 825630.

‘One Step Beyond’ is supported by Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative – Access to Music Making Programme – £16,520.


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