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Free PRS Licences for Small Online Performances of Own Works Announced

PRS for Music have announced that PRS members performing their own works in a small online ticketed concert can now obtain a free licence.

Published: 02 February 2021 | 10:20 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
Photograph of a sandy coloured electric guitar laid out on a wood table with a loop of amplifier cable and earphones also displayed.
The free licence deal will continue throughout the period the live sector is forced to close due to the Covid-19 crisis. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Please note: Our latest guidance on PRS for Music's Online Event Licencing Tariff is published here.

Listening to feedback from songwriter and composer members following the announcement of its small-scale Online Live Concert licence, PRS for Music has today announced a new provision – if a PRS member wants to perform an online ticketed live concert exclusively of their own works, where they will receive all the royalties due, they can obtain a licence at no cost to them.

The free licence will be available to any individual concert, which qualifies for the small-scale licence, with revenues below £500, throughout the period the live sector is forced to close due to the Covid-19 crisis where the qualifying member is the performer.

It is in everyone’s interests that small online gigs are facilitated

Naomi Pohl, MU Deputy General Secretary, commented: “The MU welcomes this change which will help many musicians putting on small-scale online gigs while in-person live events aren’t possible.

“We will continue to engage with PRS for Music on behalf of our members to ensure that any permanent tariffs for online gigs are appropriate and not prohibitive. Of course, we fully support songwriters and composers being remunerated for performance and broadcast of their works and we know their royalties have taken a hit during the current crisis.

“However, it is in the interests of everyone working in music for small online gigs to be facilitated and particularly where PRS members are performing their own works.”

Qualifying musicians can obtain a free PRS licence for small-scale online ticketed events by emailing applications@prsformusic.com

Other actions from PRS for Music

Today’s announcement is in addition to the decision previously announced that PRS for Music will not be seeking to historically license small-scale online concerts which took place throughout 2020. This means that any artist or venue which held a small online live concert will not have to obtain a licence retrospectively.

PRS for Music will be accelerating its ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders on an interim rate, while the physical live sector is closed, for online concerts in the coming weeks. They have said they are committed to agreeing a discounted rate for larger concerts as soon as possible to make these licences available to the market.

PRS is also promoting its updated online live concerts Q&A where anybody interested in finding out about the various licensing options can find answers to all the commonly asked questions. This includes a reiteration that many members can hold non-ticketed events on platforms like YouTube and Instagram under the terms of the licence they have granted to those platforms.

MU members can send any outstanding queries or concerns to Kelly Wood, Live Performance & Music Writers Official by emailing kelly.wood@theMU.org

A note for teachers

Please note: we are awaiting clarification from PRS for Music in terms of which licence, if any, it sees as applicable to online music teaching and why. Our interpretation is that the vast majority of MU members teaching via online platforms such as Zoom do not require a licence because of existing exemptions for education. More on this to follow.

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