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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11153
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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We are a performing band in the UK, if we join the PRS to collect

Resolved Question:

We are a performing band in the UK, if we join the PRS to collect payments for us, will we in any way be giving up any of our rights to our music. In short, is it a good idea for an independent band who write and perform their own music to join the PRS ?
We are having a lot of radio play on internet radio - and some fm stations. We are also being offered a lot of gigs, some as charity events with no expenses payed. Would the PRS pay us travel expenses claimed from the venue?
Many thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

I am a solicitor with a particular interest in entertainment law and will help you with this.

PRS collects royalties for composers, writers and publishers when their music is performed in public, used online or broadcast. You may also want to register with MCPS which collects mechanical royalties.

You do not need to join either if you simply perform in a band but have no writing credits.

The way the royalties are collected is that radio stations, other broadcasters and venues have to put in a PRS return on what music has been played by them. They also pay a licence to PRS and MCPS which creates a fund to pay members who have authorised PRS etc to be their agency for the collection of royalties. The royalties are distributed in accordance with quite a complex formula. They will own your performance rights unless and until you withdraw from membership. They will not pay travel expenses nor will they own the songs. Nor will affect your ability to play your music where you want to for performance fees from the venue. Performance fees as paid for your effort in turning up to play. PRS royalties are to pay the songwriters for their efforts in writing the songs.

Happy to discuss further. If you expect any of your music to become commercially successful you should register. If you expect to be a live band with local popularity but not necessarily commercially successful the royalties you would get would probably not make it worth your while as they would be pennies.

Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It is a strong possibility that our music may become commercially successful, we write & perform our own songs. I have copyrighted the songs by sending them to myself via recorded mail and registering the songs for distribution through Ditto who collect royalties from iTunes, Spotify etc. We are gaining air play progressively larger, including broadcast in USA &Canada.
I have heard many artists register with PRS who are in this position.
In short would you advise that we join PRS?
Kind Regards
Dave
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
In the circumstances you describe, yes I would. You should also register with MCPS if you intend to remain independent and unless you are signed or intend to sign to a record company in which case they will collect mechanical royalties and distribute your share under your agreement with them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
At the same time I registered with ditto, I also created a record label, which we will probably manage and distribute cd's through, by having these pressed ourselves. In these circumstances, would we still still need to register with MPCS ?
Thanks again
Dave
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Yes you should, unless you register the record label with MCPS. If the writers own the record label either one can register.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am a co writer of the songs and own the label.... So it would be good to register the label with MPCS ?
Thanks
Dave
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
As long as the label then enters into a contract with you and the other writers for distribution of the royalties to the individuals.
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