Business News Labels & Publishers Live Business

PRS says it has industry agreement on new live performance licence, now needs Copyright Tribunal approval

By | Published on Friday 8 September 2017

PRS For Music

Collecting society PRS For Music says that it is close to finalising an overhaul of one of its main live performance licences, what the rights body calls its ‘Tariff LP’ licence.

Concert promoters need public performance licences from whoever owns the copyright in any songs performed at the shows they promote. These licences are usually issued via the collective licensing system, which means PRS in the UK. Under its current ‘Tariff LP’ system, PRS takes 3% of ticket monies from any gig or festival in the UK where its members songs are performed, which is most gigs and festivals in the UK.

That system has been in place since 1988, though PRS has instigated two reviews in recent years, mainly because the live sector boomed in the 2000s.

Some in the live industry argue that, because PRS takes a percentage cut of ticketing monies, its members have already benefited from growth in the concert and festivals sector. Though some songwriters and publishers point out that the live sector has several revenue streams other than ticket income, including booking fees, sponsorship and booze. And some others have noted that the live sector is very top heavy, with most of the money made at the top, so that a fixed percentage rate across the board might not be fair.

Hence PRS reconsidering all things Tariff LP. After its first review, the society announced in 2011 that it would keep things as they were. But when a second review came along just four years later in 2015, it seemed certain this time changes would be proposed. Which, most promoters immediately assumed, would mean them paying more, hence two years of negotiations between the society and various groups representing the live industry.

PRS says that it now has the support of all the major relevant organisations for its not-yet-public overhaul of Tariff LP, which includes the Concert Promoters’ Association, Association Of Festival Organisers, Association of Independent Festivals, Society Of London Theatre, UK Theatre Association, British Association Of Concert Halls, National Arenas Association and the Music Venue Trust.

The proposed overhaul is now being sent to the Copyright Tribunal, the court that can intervene and set rates in the collective licensing domain when licensees and licensors can’t agree on terms. Copyright Tribunal approval is required, despite there seemingly being consensus within the music community, because the revamp overhauls a licensing framework previously put in place by the court in the 1980s.

If and when the proposed revamp gets court approval, more details of the new terms of Tariff LP will presumably be made public.