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PRS closes live royalty consultation, no change

By | Published on Wednesday 23 November 2011

PRS For Music

Ah, and we were hoping for a long drawn out, bitter and twisted Copyright Tribunal dispute on this one. No, not really. The fewer royalty squabbles within the wider music business the better really.

PRS For Music has announced that it has closed its consultation on the live music royalty rate, and that the royalties charged for popular music events in the UK will remain unchanged at 3% of ticket receipts. Many in the live sector feared that when the publishing rights collecting society announced a review of live industry royalties last year that it would almost certainly result in an attempt to increase the fees charged to promoters, especially of big events.

PRS insisted that it had a totally open mind on the issue, but that the live sector had changed considerably in the last decade, and had seen considerable growth while the record industry declined, and that a review of royalty rates was therefore appropriate. The big promoters, fearful of a royalty increase, pointed out that as they paid a percentage of ticket revenues to the collecting society, its members were already benefiting from the growth in the live and especially festival sector.

Anyway, presumably proving it did indeed have an open mind, PRS confirmed yesterday that after an extended consultation period last year, that the current rate would remain. The society’s Director Of Public Performance Keith Gilbert told CMU: “As the organisation that represents the creators behind the music, it is right that we continually review our charges and approach, ensuring there is a fair balance between music users and creators. From the outset we made it clear that this was an open consultation, allowing us to genuinely evaluate if the current tariff structure was still relevant for today’s live scene. We received many helpful responses with feedback largely supporting the consultation process, regarding it as sensible to review after 20 years”.

He continued: “Responses showed that since the last review the live industry had changed significantly with live music becoming a more professional enterprise and thriving mainstream leisure activity. However as the market has grown, so have the costs associated with putting on events. After a number of discussions and reviews it was agreed that that no changes should be made at present. We will continue to work alongside the industry to ensure our tariffs both support the rights of the creator, whilst recognising the contribution of all parties involved in making the UK live music business the success that it is”.

A summary of the responses, should you be interested, has been published online here.