Industry weighs in on PRS tariff as deadline extended

Industry figures have reacted with caution to news that PRS for Music may increase its tariffs, after the organisation revealed that a review to see if the tariff is still ‘fit for purpose’ has been extended to 30 September (from 8 June).

The music publishing collecting society’s tariff, which currently claims 3% of gross box office receipts per event, was originally set in 1988. The revenue raised is designed to compensate members of PRS for use of copyrighted work. More than 2,000 licensees and organisations have been contacted to give their perspective.

Andy Inglis, director of artist and management company 5000, said the tariff already causes some small operators to suffer. “If PRS are planning on charging small venues more, then they are idiots, and I say this as someone whose artist has benefitted from the Momentum Music Fund,” he said. “Set up tariffs based on an ability to pay. Means test the venues. Too much work? Hire more staff. You have plenty of money to do it.”

T in the Park director Geoff Ellis told Access that the PRS charge needs to recognise that festival builds are a different proposition to gigs. “While festivals may be primarily concerned with music, there are many other elements.”

Meanwhile, the AIF welcomed a dialogue on the issue, but warned that an increase in the tariff could be catastrophic for smaller festivals in particular. “These festivals are already spending vast amounts on their production, and 3% is a huge chunk for many budgets,” general manager Paul Reed said.

WHAT DOES PRS DO?

• Manages the rights of more than 100,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK

• Has 100 agreements with affiliated societies in 150 countries

• Collected £665.7m in 2013 for its membership from broadcasters, digital services, music sales, public performance, and international use of members’ repertoire – a 3.7% increase on 2012

• 90p in every pound collected goes direct to members

• Currently manages around 14.7 million musical works and, in 2013, loaded 137 billion uses of music

• Operates more than 40 different tariffs, starting from £44 per year • Songwriters and composers do not get paid to write music, they get paid when that music is used

• Through its foundation, is the largest funder of new music in the UK