More than 2,500 PRS licence holders, including some theatres and concert venues, will be affected by the changes, which come into effect next month.

Photo of concert

The royalty rate for live popular music will increase for the first time since 1988, following a landmark ruling by the Copyright Tribunal.

Affecting more than 2,500 individual licensing customers, the tariff for concerts and popular events will increase from 3% to 4% but drop from 3% to 2.5% for festivals meeting specific criteria, including an admission fee and a stipulated number of acts.

In addition, the minimum fee charged for events will be waived if music reporting requirements are met. Performance rights organisation PRS for Music will also incorporate a direct licensing mechanism.

The changes follow three years of discussion between PRS and live music representatives, including the Society of London Theatre, the British Association of Concert Halls and the Music Venue Trust.

Explaining the increase, PRS told AP it has an obligation to ensure that its licensing recognises the contribution made by songwriters and publishers to the live music industry and is “simple, efficient and fit for purpose”.

It stressed the large-scale concerts, events and festivals market has changed dramatically since 1988 – growing and becoming more diverse, and developing additional revenue streams.

It added that research had shown “the contribution of songs to live events was being undervalued”.

Phil Bowdery, Chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association, commented: “We have all worked hard to reach this agreement. It recognises the importance of the live industry but also, what is of huge significance, is that it recognises the sector’s diversity.

“By coming to this agreement, and the recognition of the common ground we share, we believe it works in the best interests of all parties involved.”

This is not the first time the Copyright Tribunal has been involved in changing tariff rates. In the early 2000s, following a decision by PRS to increase royalties for all classical concerts featuring copyright works from 3.3% up to 7.3%, the tariff was referred to the Copyright Tribunal and an agreement was eventually reached over a new 4.8% rate.

The changes will come into effect on 11 June 2018.

Author(s):