'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time to Pay - The PRS Licence

After a brief visit to Vigo, Spain, yesterday, Robin was asked to perform again last night.
After the success of his latest concert, there was a request for him to play at a private function, for a select audience.
He agreed and the performance went well.
Robin now has eight days to work on his next programme and enjoy some of the fantastic places he is about to visit.
He will also be working on the pieces he will be playing in August with Izzy Cooper, and all his usual scales and arpeggios, so he won't be short of things to do.

Meanwhile back at home, I read a report by Tamsyn Kent, 'Employers told to pay up for music.'
Basically, it is estimated that more than half a million businesses across the UK are playing music illegally.
By law, if playing music at work, then you need a licence.
The Performing Right Society (PRS) collects the money and pays the artists.
So, if you are one of those businesses that doesn't have a licence, or feels that the fee for a licence is too high for entertaining your workforce, then I hope you don't mind if I call in a help myself to some of your stationary, or oil, or the odd sandwich, or whatever.
It's a small fee to most businesses, but it's a part of any musicians livelihood...


Anonymous said...

"Time to pay"? Yeah right! Time to change the law more like.

The PRS runs around as though it's some kind of law enforcement agency in a class of its own.. does stupid things like trying to make businesses pay for "licences" when a customer's car, parked in its car park, plays music with the windows down..

Most people recognise that the PRS is a completely incompetent, money grabbing organisation. Especially with its new structure of Online Music Licences for websites using royalty-free music under licence from clueless "musicians" whose own licences extend permission to communicate the works online without further fee and fail to point out that they're a member of a performing rights organisation.

We publish/distribute anything that would require PRS online licensing though our US subsidiary and serve it from servers outside the UK. Although, we now prefer to deal with people who are not members of any performing rights organisation as they are generally more clued up.


Anna said...

So, you've remained anonymous and don't identify your company. Yet you are happy to make a living out of other peoples talent.
I guess you won't mind me calling in to help myself to your office equipment then....(see original post to understand.)

Somehow I don't think we will ever agree on this matter.

Anonymous said...

If you help yourself to physical things (like stationary, oil, or a sandwich) then you are STEALING! Each item you take has a value - an actual cost associated with it - and for every unit you steal I'm left out of pocket. This is called theft.

Playing music isn't stealing by any stretch of the imagination. If a small business has a radio playing music to staff in the back room or a TV in the staff room, that doesn't cost the artist/writer/musician/publisher or anybody (other than the business) anything. If that radio/TV is switched off, musicians won't be any better off, in fact they'll be worse off as less people will hear their work, less people will know about it & buy a copy themselves, radio stations will have less listeners, less ad-revenue & thus spend less on music.

The music industry is doomed to fail very soon and yet its still clinging to yesteryear and failing to adapt to a changing market with different needs. It will fail even sooner if it doesn't stop cutting its nose off to spite its face.

Anna said...

See, I said we'd never agree...

You obviously use the known loopholes to contribute to the difficult situation that the world of music faces.

Yes, it is stealing to help yourself to a physical item and you would be out of pocket. But for every unit of music not paid for, the artist is also out of pocket. Not so different really...

There are many difficulties within the music industry, but denying artists their fee is not the solution.
Unless some of these problems are resolved then the world of music will be dominated by amateurs, (who are able to make a living elsewhere), and the world will be a poorer place.

Anonymous said...

the solution is simple, and as we mostly all pay a licence to the broadcaster in the first instance it is they who should be responsible to pay the prs, not the listener. or how about pasying the artist directly, eliminating ther cost burden of the prs and allow the policing of payment to the musicians union

Anonymous said...

it should be covered by your subscription or tv licence, and the broadcaster should pay the artist directly eliminating the need for the prs in this issue, giving more money to the Artist.
As an artist, i have never received a penny from prs but prefer material reachin a wider audience to further sales. The approach of the prs is short sighted and simply stifles new artists and deters new audiences becoming regular listeners

Anna said...

You may be interested in the post I ran today, Friday 16th January, 'PRS Revisited'.

Anonymous said...

I think you would agree that we need music in this world. In order to encourage musicians to continue to create quality music, there needs to be a way in which they are supported in their craft. Copyright exists to encourage artists to create works which can later be put into the public domain for anyone to use. Performance Rights exist for that same reason.

Say I create some contraption that enables you to do your work better. I can sell that contraption and make money from that, and you would buy it if you think that investment will make your work earn more money. In the same way, you put music on your website, or play music in your store, because you believe that it will help increase sales. Therefore, you should pay for the right to use that music.

I agree that if the artist themselves have a separate arrangement with you regarding the use of their works, then the PRS shouldn't be involved, however, just because you don't agree with the system doesn't mean it necessarily needs to be changed.

Anna said...

Thanks for joining in Ben!

Andy said...

I have three problems with the PRS license:

1. As I understand it, a radio station already pays for a license. If I have to as well, to listen to the radio, then this is the equivalent of me paying for a sandwich from a deli and then also having to pay the maker of the bread and cheese.

2. The PRS has become hideously bullying in applying the ill-defined legalities. If I listen to 5Live, I need a license just because of the jingles. Surely that is crazy?

3. There is a minimum fee that needs paying. I usually work alone for 4 days a week; there are no customers in the workplace. The charge isn't really fair for companies with 10 or less employees.

There is also, of course, the PPL license to consider.

I can generally understand an artist's point of view but not with points 2 and 3 in particlar.

My days are mostly quiet since the PRS started harassing me.

Andy McGregor

Anna said...

Hi Andy,
Thanks for getting in touch and expressing your views.
It certainly is a difficult area, especially for a small business and I don't think there is an easy answer to the problem.

colin said...

Hi You could aways play Royalty Free Music Radio in your store like we do and many more restaurants and businesses are doing, Great Music, Great Djs NO PRS FEES

So give it a Go


Anna said...

Sorry but I won't be giving the site you mentioned 'a go'.
I am not a store, I represent a musician.
Any store which repeatedly states, "The company gives no guarantee that the information or guidance on this page is completely accurate" gives me cause for concern.
All I want is for musicians to receive the money they are due for the work that they do.
Every day I am alerted to new sites selling, or giving away, our music, often without even acknowledging Robin as the performer.
This loses us income from both PRS and MCPS.
It's a constant struggle to police and a sad reflection on society.
I realise that some bands etc. just view this as extra publicity, and hope to make up the shortfall on tours, but it is very different in the world of classical music.
Do you realise how expensive it is to record with an orchestra, for example?
Unless musicians make money from their recordings new pieces just won't be heard.
Also, I am far more likely to go to a restaurant with live music than I am with a radio playing...