Rock writers get remuneration from online database!

HUNDREDS OF rock and pop writers could benefit in the long-term from a deal on payment for downloads which beats anything the Freelance has heard of - at least since the excitable early days of the dotcom boom.

The Rock's Backpages (RBP) archive at  www.rocksbackpages .com  is an online library of thousands of articles by hundreds of writers from the 1960s to the present. It has just started to offer customers downloads of individual pieces at £2 or £3 a time - with 40 per cent (80p to £1.20) going to the writer. This shows the way to many a newspaper and magazine around the world. Many are currently selling paid-for downloads while trying to avoid any payment to freelance contributors.

RBP supremo Barney Hoskyns, a music journo and author himself, stresses that no one should get overexcited about an imminent cash bonanza.

The "micropayments" may take some time to stack up into something worth handing over. They will be added to other regularly accounted piles of pennies for each contracted writer's share of member subscriptions.

But meanwhile every writer featured does enjoy free access to the whole library, which is a valuable research resource, plus occasional boosts from syndication or licensing of articles for reuse in books.

In this area RBP are striving to establish a rate of £150 per thousand words (split 50:50 with the writer as per syndication) rather than accept the £100-200 regardless of length which publishers generally expect to pay.

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