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Changes to PRS for Music’s Online Live Concert Licence

A summary of changes to PRS for Music’s Online Live Concert Licence following their consultation with PRS members and the wider industry.

Published: 07 May 2021 | 5:03 PM
Photograph of a musician holding a guitar, we can't see their face and the photo focuses on their hands on the fretboard.
“These changes address some of the previous concerns around the impact on grassroots artists.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

PRS for Music has announced changes to its Online Live Concert licence following consultation with PRS members and the wider industry. These changes address some of the previous concerns around the impact on grassroots artists, particularly those performing their own un-published material.

There will be a free ‘Discretionary Licence’

For artists performing their own work – for which they control all of the rights – a discretionary licence can be obtained at no cost. There is no limit on the amount of ticket money that can be generated under this arrangement, but all rights holders need to obtain a licence in order for the streamed concert to take place.

For example, if a singer streams a solo show performing material that they have co-written with their bandmates, all of the co-writers would need to obtain a discretionary licence in order that the singer can perform the material.

It is not necessary to submit set lists for shows using a discretionary licence, as royalties will not be payable for the performances.

Small online concerts can be covered by a fixed price tariff

For shows generating up to £1500 in box office, the small online concert rate allows licensees to use a fixed price tariff or to apply to PRS for a bespoke licence based on their exact ticket revenue.

The fixed price tariff is tiered according to the ticket revenue:

Up to £500: £25 + vat

£501-£1,000: £75 + vat

£1,001-£1,500: £125 + vat

A bespoke licence can be obtained by contacting PRS (applications@prsformusic.com), and will be calculated on the basis of:

10% of ticket revenue + vat or 3p per 5 mins of a song (or part thereof) per ticket + vat

Set lists should be submitted online by the artist/licensee in order that royalties can be distributed to the rights holders.

Small online concerts in 2020

PRS will not be pursuing small online concerts that generated up to £1,500 in 2020. Therefore, if you arranged and performed a show, but haven’t yet licensed the performance, you are no longer required to do so. If you have already obtained and paid for a licence for a small show during 2020, you should ensure that you have submitted the set list in order that royalties can be distributed appropriately.

72 hour viewing is now permitted

Tickets for live streams can now allow viewers to watch for 72 hours following the show, as opposed to 24 hours.

Large online concerts

The interim rate for large online concerts has been set at 10% + vat of event revenue, and will remain in place whilst the live sector operates under material restrictions due to Covid-19.

The live sector has expressed concerns around this rate and its retrospective application, given the circumstances around streamed shows in 2020.

MU members with queries should contact PRS directly in the first instance but the MU’s Regional Offices can also help if needed.

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