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More bad news? PRS Tariff on virtual events...


Teebs

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My intention was to join the PRS, PPl and MCPS this year ahead of my next EP release.

That will cost me £200 (I think/hope those fees include VAT).

I'll be putting on 2 live streamed shows this year (that's the plan anyway) which will cost a LOT more to do than a conventional venue gig and even though I'll be performing my own music I now have to buy a license to do so. A license for each event will cost £27 (or £54 if I manage to sell enough tickets to gain more than £251).

They clearly use the term revenue. As my events will make a loss, I will be charged for the privilege.

 

What I can't work out....

Answering my own question.

edit>>> 

Quote from the article:

"...A PRS spokesperson clarified that only members of the PRS and international societies represented by the royalty collection agency or performers playing the works of PRS members would be required to obtain a license...."

 

I don't have much sympathy for them. They used to issue many threatening letters to a company I used to work for about our use of radio for the staff.

The letters were so threatening the boss did buy a PRS license for a few years, until we clocked the site we were on had piped music, fully accessible by the public and they were never hassled by the PRS, so we didn't renew.

 

 

Edited by Woodwind
answered my own question
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I had a long spat with the PRS a while ago about the 2 licences we have to pay for - 1 for our public area and 1 because music can also be heard in staff-only areas like the store room.

They were adamant we needed 2 licences. After getting nowhere arguing about this I asked how the royalty money was distributed - they said it was shared among its members. I pointed out that our playlist was highly eclectic, and if I had to pay royalties I'd like to ensure that those whose music I was playing actually got the money. They said it wasn't possible to work that out; so I offered to give them a print-out of our playlist to make sure it wasn't just the already highest-grossing artists were getting other folks' legitimate royalties. They couldn't work with that, but assured me royalties would be properly shared out - they had no answer when I asked "how do you know what we've played?"

So it's yet another tax...

And I also discovered recently that I have to pay £40 a year to the information commisioner's office because I have CCTV!

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21 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

 

So it's yet another tax...

 

Exactly.

Once a member As a writer You can do pretty well from PRS payments if your music makes it to mainstream radio and TV etc etc, but this is dependent on the show submitting your details to the PRS properly (and this doesn't always happen).

It annoys me that the license my old boss had to buy went to pay the big stars when we didn't listen to any of that music

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27 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

And I also discovered recently that I have to pay £40 a year to the information commisioner's office because I have CCTV!

£35 if you pay by direct debit (I've just signed up) I think every limited company in the land has had an email.........

😎

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11 minutes ago, Woodwind said:

Exactly.

Once a member As a writer You can do pretty well from PRS payments if your music makes it to mainstream radio and TV etc etc, but this is dependent on the show submitting your details to the PRS properly (and this doesn't always happen).

Then do it yourself. It's quick and easy and there is no reason not to.

If your compositions are any good their ability to generate performance royalties will well surpass the life of the band that originally recorded them. I still earn performance royalties on songs I recorded and released over 40 years ago.

And as I write and record more music my back catalogue builds up, which is more potential royalty earning sources.

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15 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Then do it yourself. It's quick and easy and there is no reason not to.

If your compositions are any good their ability to generate performance royalties will well surpass the life of the band that originally recorded them. I still earn performance royalties on songs I recorded and released over 40 years ago.

And as I write and record more music my back catalogue builds up, which is more potential royalty earning sources.

I will be later this year when my EP comes out. I've just paid my tax so 200 quid is too much to drop at the moment.

The music I've had played on the BBC over the last couple of years has been to sporadic too have justified the cost of joining previously.

 

Despite my negative comments about the very heavy handed approach the organisation has about enforcement of listening licenses with small business, it does offer very good funding opportunities for musicians at various stages of their career.

Edited by Woodwind
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My astonishment at how poorly organised this country is in getting setlists (from in-person or online gigs) registered with performing rights companies is undiminished since the last time we talked about this topic. 🤦‍♀️

Even if the music venues don't do that (they really should be obliged by law), all it takes is for one band member to spend a few minutes on the computer; in the case of a mostly unchanged setlist, copy and paste will take care of most of the work each time.

Yet most musos can't be ar$ed.

@Happy Jack and I helped Damo And The Dynamites' frontman sign up to Sentric, as opposed to PRS, mainly because they don't require payment of an upfront fee. They are mostly a publisher but also do royalty collection, and work out as slightly more expensive once you look at their cut on any earnings you get from your music. In our case, so far it would only be a matter of pennies, so we're not fussed.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
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1 hour ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

My astonishment at how poorly organised this country is in getting setlists (from in-person or online gigs) registered with performing rights companies is undiminished since the last time we talked about this topic. 🤦‍♀️

Even if the music venues don't do that (they really should be obliged by law), all it takes is for one band member to spend a few minutes on the computer; in the case of a mostly unchanged setlist, copy and paste will take care of most of the work each time.

Yet most musos can't be ar$ed.

@Happy Jack and I helped Damo And The Dynamites' frontman sign up to Sentric, as opposed to PRS, mainly because they don't require payment of an upfront fee. They are mostly a publisher but also do royalty collection, and work out as slightly more expensive once you look at their cut on any earnings you get from your music. In our case, so far it would only be a matter of pennies, so we're not fussed.

Regarding Sentric, as you pointed out they take 25% (IIRC) of everything regardless of whether they have generated the income or not. As a publisher they ought to be pushing to get the works you have registered with them out to people who might want to use them, but AFAICS they fit more the modern definition of a publisher in that they make your works available to any interested parties looking for a particular style of music but that is it. And what should it be any different when they can take their cut of the performance royalties for doing absolutely nothing. IME to make full use of Sentric's services you should create instrumental only mixes of all the works as well as the standard versions with vocals on them, because a lot of what they actually manage to place with TV and film producers is background music where those pesky vocals just get in the way.

Edited by BigRedX
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55 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

Regarding playlists on the radio, I thought the ISRC codes embedded in each track direct royalties to the correct songwriter?

Only if the broadcasters in question are required to submit full playlists for every programme they broadcast. IME anything smaller than BBC Local Radio does not.

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I have a small amount of experience regarding PRS by way of questioning licence fees for playing music in my tattoo shop. My MP at the time was David Milliband and via him questions were asked at the Commons Mixed Media Committee. Long story short, the way their company is set up, they appear quite benevolent and all I got from this was a letter on House of Commons stationery. I do not belief they work in the best interests of musicians, but rather to maximise payments to Directors.

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Ah, the old 'big bad PRS' thread raises it's ugly head again....

 

A few points:

If you aren't a PRS member - you won't earn. That is unless you are published, get airplay/streamed and your publisher is honest enough to pass you a few scraps. If you are receiving commercial broadcast or airplay.... or you're gigging regularly in medium sized venues (oh, them were the days) then it's worth joining...

If you are a PRS member then radio & TV airplay gets reported regularly and to a generally high standard by the Broadcasters, but if you know of any broadcast that you haven't received money for after approx 6 months then you can tell PRS direct.

PRS has an unclaimed royalty file for all members who know they have had airplay but haven't received money (possibly due to incorrect or missing reporting). You can find your unpaid works there and claim them.

If you are a PRS member and gigging then YOU should report your live performances. If they were ticketed events in arts centre size venues or above then they should be licensed to pay out on the % of box office. If they are smaller pubs etc then you may be able to claim a small compensation using the 'gigs & clubs scheme'. Do NOT leave it to the venue, or your band manager to do this, even if the venue ask you for a set list! Neither have any interest in you getting your money (unless you were stupid enough to give your band manager a % of PRS royalties...). It's called the music business, take care of your OWN business when you can...!

If you are playing music on a radio/playback system etc in your workplace or on the shop floor then you are using music to create a 'pleasant working or customer experience'. That music is therefore doing a job and should receive a payment. Do workplace radios etc pay out exactly what was played? Of course not! That would be ridiculous in admin time, effort and costs. There'd be no money left! It IS paid out across a huge sample of music of different genres receiving heavier rotation at that time.... and then also paid out across lower earning music as well to attempt to redress the balance. It's an imperfect system, but as musicians/writers we should be glad that someone is giving it the necessary attention on our behalf...

PRS is a non-profit making society, staffed by musicians, for musicians and is always trying to reduce costs/increase payouts. They are the #1 low admin cost/high payout royalty collection society in the World and have well known overseas composers flocking from other societies to join as a result. They also do solid work with new talent (PRS foundation/event sponsorship/showcases etc) and have a fund for older struggling composers going through hard times as well as other charitable, music promotional projects

Are they perfect? No, far from it. No company is, especially in an ever changing environment (Covid, streaming, no live music, Brexshit etc). There are ALWAYS improvements to be made.... but their heart is in the right place and they are a huge force for good in lobbying Govts and industry organisations in protecting and maximising member rights. Directors earn salaries commensurate with any other highly experienced music industry professionals within the non-profit making area, but there are no fatcats per se.... 

As for this new tariff. It was agreed after consultation with all the major music industry bodies, but it is a fluid thing and expect there to be changes/improvements with time & experience.

Sounds like I'm a salesman, right? Well, I'm just speaking from experience, having worked there for 25 years now, only on an average senior admin pay but proud to be assisting my fellow musicians and making a positive difference.

 

Edited by cetera
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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

Regarding Sentric, as you pointed out they take 25% (IIRC) of everything regardless of whether they have generated the income or not. As a publisher they ought to be pushing to get the works you have registered with them out to people who might want to use them, but AFAICS they fit more the modern definition of a publisher in that they make your works available to any interested parties looking for a particular style of music but that is it. And what should it be any different when they can take their cut of the performance royalties for doing absolutely nothing. IME to make full use of Sentric's services you should create instrumental only mixes of all the works as well as the standard versions with vocals on them, because a lot of what they actually manage to place with TV and film producers is background music where those pesky vocals just get in the way.

You're correct. What musicians can do is scour Sentric's website for ads requiring music for various uses in ads etc. - there seem to be a few - and apply if appropriate. So the onus would be on us to do the legwork in order for Damo's music to be put forward. As you say, they're getting paid for us doing the work (or not bothering to do it), which ain't ideal.

Damo doesn't have the spare cash to sign up to PRS, and at this stage we don't expect any significant earnings from his music. Things may change in the future - it's possible to leave Sentric, giving appropriate notice, and move to another company.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
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18 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Only if the broadcasters in question are required to submit full playlists for every programme they broadcast. IME anything smaller than BBC Local Radio does not.

Not sue about that....We submitted an EP to one of the independent blues radio stations, and they specifically asked if we had the codes embedded. Which we did.

 

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Same for our songs on some rockabilly radios - although not all of them. Some radios broadcast both online and on air, others only on one medium, but my impression is that a good number of them are registered.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
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TBH £200 does seem a bit steep, but I suppose it reflects the number of people who would like to join, but in reality have very little prospect of generating enough performance royalties to make the administration of their membership cost effective.

I was lucky enough to join some 40 years ago when it there was no joining fee, but you had to show that you had performance royalty generating works to register. My band had just had two tracks released on a compilation EP and had picked up airplay on Radio 1 so we qualified. Also back then in order to be able to register your works the main musical themes and lyrics had to be scored out on official PRS manuscript sheets. Not an easy task when your knowledge of written music was sketchy at best. IIRC it took me 2-3 days of work to score the important musical parts for each of the songs I wanted to register.

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6 minutes ago, phil.c60 said:

Not sue about that....We submitted an EP to one of the independent blues radio stations, and they specifically asked if we had the codes embedded. Which we did.

IIRC Many of the smaller radio stations are sampled on a periodic basis (one day a week or a month) rather than every single song that they play. Wanting the codes embedded is more for their convenience so they don't have to manually log the songs.

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