Jump to content
NickD

PRS... Not the instruments.

Recommended Posts

Any relevant,  semi-relevant almost relevant, or irrelevant but amusing advice appreciated on the above.

We're going in to start recording 10 original tunes this month and I'd like to protect them if I can. Not that I'm expecting any great interest, but I'd like to make sure they're mine, so to speak. 

I've been looking at registering as a writer with the PRS, it seems reasonable and appears they just take a cut of anything they collect after the initial fee.

As far as releasing the songs we're planning on Bandcamp only to start with, would that cause conflict with the PRS, looking at Bandcamps T&C's it states that uploaded music is royalty free, I assume that's to get round PRS trying to collect from the artists own outlet?

Also can anyone direct me to any useful articles about the relationship between writing and publishing, or am I correct in thinking that as a writer I own the publishing unless I pass that right onto someone else?

It's completely new territory for me, and from the edge it looks like a minefield.

TLDR - How do I get original songs out without getting ripped off? 🤣

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, NickD said:

TLDR - How do I get original songs out without getting ripped off? 🤣

 

The songs are your intellectual property, so by that token they're protected whether you register with the PRS or not. If Ed Sheeran decided to nick a chorus, you'd be able to prove that he'd stolen it from you and take him to court for it.

If you feel this could happen, then sign up for the MU who offer legal protection.

When it comes to royalties, PRS can claim these for you if your songs get played. To generate anything like a few pence, they'll need to be played thousands of times. Having had these conversations before in bands (once when Vodafone nearly used one of our songs for an advert*) the classic response to this is, 0 spilt 10 ways is still 0.

Personally, I'd only consider registering with the PRS if there's the possibility your song will receive airplay on the radio, TV or be featured in an advert or whatever. Until that point, I'd consider it a generous gift to the universe.

(*Vodafone didn't use the song and the German label we were signed to sent us back thousands of unsold copies of the album which still remain festering in locations throughout the UK.)

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the PRS.

You'll also be able to collect performance royalties on your songs when you play them live as well as when they get played on the radio or television.

A lot of the copyright information supplied by Bandcamp and other on-line music services such as aggregators is aimed at musicians and bands in the US where the mechanism for collecting performance royalties is somewhat different to that in the UK and Europe. Don't sign up for any service on-line that purports to collect your performance royalties for you. If you are a PRS member you won't need it.

In the UK you don't need a publisher. All performance royalties go to yourself (and you co-writers) unless you have specifically assigned a proportion to a publisher. In the US it is somewhat different as a lot of collection agencies will assume that you have a publisher and hold back the publisher's share. You can get around this by setting up your own publishing company and assigning them a proportion of the performance royalties. However it is only cost effective if one of your songs is picked up to be used on a US film or TV show. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Join the PRS.

You'll also be able to collect performance royalties on your songs when you play them live as well as when they get played on the radio or television.

A lot of the copyright information supplied by Bandcamp and other on-line music services such as aggregators is aimed at musicians and bands in the US where the mechanism for collecting performance royalties is somewhat different to that in the UK and Europe. Don't sign up for any service on-line that purports to collect your performance royalties for you. If you are a PRS member you won't need it.

In the UK you don't need a publisher. All performance royalties go to yourself (and you co-writers) unless you have specifically assigned a proportion to a publisher. In the US it is somewhat different as a lot of collection agencies will assume that you have a publisher and hold back the publisher's share. You can get around this by setting up your own publishing company and assigning them a proportion of the performance royalties. However it is only cost effective if one of your songs is picked up to be used on a US film or TV show. 

This is much better advice than mine. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Burns-bass said:

When it comes to royalties, PRS can claim these for you if your songs get played. To generate anything like a few pence, they'll need to be played thousands of times. Having had these conversations before in bands (once when Vodafone nearly used one of our songs for an advert*) the classic response to this is, 0 spilt 10 ways is still 0.

Personally, I'd only consider registering with the PRS if there's the possibility your song will receive airplay on the radio, TV or be featured in an advert or whatever. Until that point, I'd consider it a generous gift to the universe.

This is wrong. The performance royalties from being played on even local radio are quite substantial. My one quarter split of a song played on BBC Radio Nottingham was a couple of pounds for each play. On 6 Music it was considerably more.

Also don't forget if your band is regularly playing live you can get performance royalties from this too. Last time I looked the PRS pubs and clubs rate was £6.00 split between all the songs performed live at a gig. That might not sound like much, but bear in mind that most small bands don't bother to report live performances, so there is a good chance that that whole £6 will go to the songwriters in your band each time you play. Also for bigger gigs and festivals the rate is higher. If you are out gigging regularly it soon adds up. My last band funded all our studio time (3 EPs and a full-length album - approximately 15 days in total) from our PRS royalties, that's roughly one gig a week over 5 years, plus radio play.

From 40 years of recording and releasing independent music I now earn a couple of hundred pounds a year from the PRS. It may only be a few pence here and there for each song, but I'm still getting royalties from recordings made and released in the 80s and 90s as well as those I'm making with my current band.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

This is wrong. The performance royalties from being played on even local radio are quite substantial. My one quarter split of a song played on BBC Radio Nottingham was a couple of pounds for each play. On 6 Music it was considerably more.

Also don't forget if your band is regularly playing live you can get performance royalties from this too. Last time I looked the PRS pubs and clubs rate was £6.00 split between all the songs performed live at a gig. That might not sound like much, but bear in mind that most small bands don't bother to report live performances, so there is a good chance that that whole £6 will go to the songwriters in your band each time you play. Also for bigger gigs and festivals the rate is higher. If you are out gigging regularly it soon adds up. My last band funded all our studio time (3 EPs and a full-length album - approximately 15 days in total) from our PRS royalties, that's roughly one gig a week over 5 years, plus radio play.

From 40 years of recording and releasing independent music I now earn a couple of hundred pounds a year from the PRS. It may only be a few pence here and there for each song, but I'm still getting royalties from recordings made and released in the 80s and 90s as well as those I'm making with my current band.

That's why I said your advice was better than mine 🙂

I just turned up and played the songs (badly).

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you just run (part of) this by me again.

I play in a rockabilly band where we currently perform just two originals written by the band leader. We play them at every gig, and we play mainly pubs.

Were we to register the band leader for PRS, are you saying that he could or at least might be able to 'claim' back £6.00 after each live gig?

This sounds dangerously like money for nothing (and your kicks for free).

  

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Happy Jack said:

Can you just run (part of) this by me again.

I play in a rockabilly band where we currently perform just two originals written by the band leader. We play them at every gig, and we play mainly pubs.

Were we to register the band leader for PRS, are you saying that he could or at least might be able to 'claim' back £6.00 after each live gig?

This sounds dangerously like money for nothing (and your kicks for free).

  

Yes, and no. The £6.00 is split between all the songs you play, approximately based on their duration. When you submit your set list you should also include all the covers that you play as well. The band leader's share of the royalties will be £6.00 minus the proportion that goes to the writers of the other songs you play. For example if your band plays 10 songs of which two are originals and the rest covers and all the songs (or at least the registered versions) are roughly the same length then he'll get approximately £1.20, so long as there are no other bands on the bill (or if there are they haven't also submitted set lists).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to follow up with such an obvious question, but what happens if we submit a 'set list' comprising just the two originals?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks Guys, much appreciated.

I can help but think I'm overthinking it, they'll probably only be heard by me, and my neighbours whether they like it or not. I just want to do it properly, as there's about another 15 tunes apart from these, and if I can try to get into a position where the first batch subsidise the next batch a little, that would be useful. I'm also looking into registering with the taxman, if I can establish that it would allow any small income to be set against the development of further recordings, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

Sorry to follow up with such an obvious question, but what happens if we submit a 'set list' comprising just the two originals?

I think eventually one of your gigs will be visited by someone from the PRS...

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

I think eventually one of your gigs will be visited by someone from the PRS...

Or they’ll assume you’re the Blues Brothers pretending to be the Good ole Boys and you’ll be fine. Rawhide!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

18 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

Sorry to follow up with such an obvious question, but what happens if we submit a 'set list' comprising just the two originals?

 

 

As someone who works for PRS and has worked on live music teams I can tell you that we easily spot stuff like this and put it to one side unpaid until further information is received.

Anyway, I can't imagine why you would want to rip off your fellow musicians/songwriters..... and I'm sure you'd appreciate it if someone played one of your songs somewhere and told us about it so you could receive your money....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also been doing some research on this, following this brief discussion on here a few months ago. I still think it sucks that so few people seem to bother or care about doing it properly re. performing rights. Another thing that surprises me is no countersigning. In most other places in Europe at least, you can't just submit a setlist to the PRS or equivalent without the venue confirming the setlist - and the date of the gig - are real.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

I've also been doing some research on this, following this brief discussion on here a few months ago. I still think it sucks that so few people seem to bother or care about doing it properly re. performing rights. Another thing that surprises me is no countersigning. In most other places in Europe at least, you can't just submit a setlist to the PRS or equivalent without the venue confirming the setlist - and the date of the gig - are real.

 

The band name/date/venue on the supplied set list needs to line up with the performance reporting by the venue, be this direct from the venue or on internet advertising etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which is fine, but laborious to prove in case of dispute. There must be a better way to do all this, in the computer/smartphone/cloud era. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the days when I did the PRS gig reporting for The Terrortones I think the only times I had problems with the set list was when it was for some weird venue that didn't actually have a PRS licence. Looking at my PRS royalties breakdowns, the vast majority of gigs that we did we were the only band who supplied a set list and consequently we got the full £6.00.

Sad to say, but if I was in a covers band, unless we played pretty much the same set every gig, I don't think I would bother submitting a PRS set list as the time and effort involved in tracking down the right songs from the PRS database is simply too great. I always diligently included the occasional cover that The Terrortones played, but finding some of them (especially any with a common song title) was a massive effort which involved cross-checking the Discogs and Wikipedia to find out who the song writers were so that I could correctly list the right song. Often making sure I had reported the right cover song from our set took much longer than all of the rest of the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see your point, but I hope that, for a band that plays mostly covers, that job would have to be done once, then info would be stored and retrieved as needed. Especially if the setlist changes little between gigs.

Incidentally, payment is apparently now around £10 per gig.

Quote

This is currently about £10 for each event.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

I see your point, but I hope that, for a band that plays mostly covers, that job would have to be done once, then info would be stored and retrieved as needed. Especially if the setlist changes little between gigs.

Incidentally, payment is apparently now around £10 per gig.

That's good to know. It's been a while since I last submitted a set list for the PRS. This is handled by other band members in the two bands I currently play with.

I believe that the gig reporting system has changed since I last did it, which may make it easier than before. Previously it was simple to find the songs that you had written, and also if your set list only changed slightly you could start a new submission by copying a previously submitted set list. However as I said, tracking down the correct song when it wasn't written by yourself or another member of your band could be a confusing and time-intensive process.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

I see your point, but I hope that, for a band that plays mostly covers, that job would have to be done once, then info would be stored and retrieved as needed. Especially if the setlist changes little between gigs.

Incidentally, payment is apparently now around £10 per gig.

 

Looked into this a while back and, unless my wine-sodden mind is mistaken (quite possible!), to qualify for payment don’t the venues the artist plays have to be part of the PRS’s gigs and small venues scheme?

At the time it seemed to me a stab in the dark (as part of a ‘toilet venue’  level band) as to whether it was worth paying the fee just for performance royalties In those kind of venues as, at least then, I don’t think there was a searchable database of participating venues, at least not prior to sign up.

Edited by mr4stringz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mr4stringz said:

Looked into this a while back and, unless my wine-sodden mind is mistaken (quite possible!), to qualify for payment don’t the venues the artist plays have to be part of the PRS’s gigs and small venues scheme?

At the time it seemed to me a stab in the dark (as part of a ‘toilet venue’  level band) as to whether it was worth paying the fee just for performance royalties In those kind of venues as, at least then, I don’t think there was a searchable database of participating venues, at least not prior to sign up.

Any venue that puts on or even plays pre-recorded music (jukebox, computer playlist etc.) has to have a PRS licence and therefore will be covered. I think the only gigs I haven't received a pubs and clubs payment for, was a very dodgy squat-style venue in Liverpool and a gig done in someone's house.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, oldslapper said:

81DC4C89-2C23-4F5A-B320-F8C2B5E96AE6.jpeg

Either you aren't that bothered about getting paid, or you are doing it wrong.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, oldslapper said:

81DC4C89-2C23-4F5A-B320-F8C2B5E96AE6.jpeg

 

1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

Either you aren't that bothered about getting paid, or you are doing it wrong.

I didn’t know musicians could even earn that much..........

Edited by Lozz196

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Either you aren't that bothered about getting paid, or you are doing it wrong.

It’s ok, it was supposed to be humorous. 
 

I don’t do music for money, or love, 


I just like watching people suffer....bit like my “humour” 🥳

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...