Twitter community responds to funeral music rights plea

In under two hours Twitter provided help and a positive resolution to a request to play 'The Archers' theme tune at a funeral despite performance rights concerns.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor
Credit:Nick Palmer

Twitter is used for all sorts of reasons. Brands advertise products, spread news, hold conversations and talk to customers.

It is also a powerful way to crowd source help and get advice from friends, followers and connections of followers.

My friend Sue Black (@Dr_Black) is an influential tech geek. She is the founder of the <goto> foundation.

The foundation aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software and helping to build a tech savvy workforce.

She is also a prolific user of Twitter with over 10,600 followers. She has used Twitter to great effect to secure funding to save Bletchley Park from housing development.

The historic site of code breaking activities in the UK, Bletchley Park is the birthplace of Colossus, the worlds first computer and the place where Alan Turing worked out how to build a machine to break the codes created by the Enigma machine.

The energetic Dr Black is also writing a book called Saving Bletchley Park. Through her reach on Twitter the book funded through crowdsourcing with publishers Unbound reached its donations target for publishing within five days -- faster than any other book ever.

Now Twitter has been used to help with a much more distressing issue. Sue’s best friend Hazel Lapierre died of cancer during the holiday break, only a few months after being diagnosed. Hazel’s funeral is today.

Her family want to play the theme tune from the BBC Radio 4 show, The Archers. The part that everyone recognises starts 14 seconds in on the YouTube video.

This theme tune is created from two parts of the five part Barwick Green music. If the music is licenced under PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), then any public place that has purchased a PPL licence can play the music.

Unfortunately the crematorium would not play the music. At 4.36 pm yesterday Sue turned to Twitter for help:

“I'm shocked to find that we can't have the music we want at Hazel's funeral because it isn't commercially available :(( Thanks Wesley Music”

Her Twitter followers suggested that she got directly in touch with BBC Radio 4 on Twitter. At 5.22 pm Sue tweeted:

@BBCTheArchers Hiya, Can you please give us permission to play your theme tune at my best friends funeral tomorrow? Wesley Music will....”

The BBC team responsible for The Archers called and gave Sue permission to use the music, confirmed by email. At 6.01 pm the company who own the master rights to the music also confirmed that it was ok to use the track.

Jem Stone created a story of the tweets showing that in just 86 minutes the problem was solved by the Twitter community. Sue thanked her followers.

“Thank you so much to all my fab friends on Twitter and to @BBCTheArchers for saving the day. You are all wonderful xxx #ILOVETHEBBC

It is a very sad day for friends and family attending Hazel’s funeral. But, thanks to Twitter and the BBC, the mourners get to hear the music she loved so much.

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