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Competition Authority publishes ‘issues statement’ for PRS review

By | Published on Thursday 10 December 2015

PRS For Music

The Competition And Markets Authority has published an ‘issues statement’ in relation to its previously reported review of specific undertakings made by the music publishing sector’s collecting society PRS all the way back in 1997.

The CMA recently considered whether or not to review an assortment of ‘market and monopoly remedies’ that had been agreed between the UK’s competition authority and specific institutions or groups in years gone by. That included the 1997 remedies agreed with PRS, which, as a collecting society, is of interest to the CMA because any form of collective licensing – where a whole group of rights owners chooses to license as one – raises some monopoly concerns.

The PRS undertakings where among those the CMA decided should be fully reviewed, because of all the changes that have occurred in the music space in the last two decades. And, as the ‘issues statement’ was released yesterday, the collecting society welcomed the move.

PRS said in a statement: “Anyone involved in this industry will clearly recognise the extensive changes that have taken place over the last 20 years both in the external environment and within PRS – these changes have also been recognised by the CMA in their press release, which expressly refers to the online market and the implementation of [the EU’s Collective Rights Management Directive]”.

Noting that the CMA review only relates to the specific 1997 undertakings – and is not a wider review of the society’s operations – PRS added: “We therefore agree with the CMA’s decision to assess whether our undertakings are still fit for purpose in this day and age, or whether it would be preferable to amend or remove any undertakings which are no longer deemed to be relevant or necessary. We look forward to cooperating with and providing any assistance required to the CMA”.

You can read the CMA’s issues statement here.