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PRS RATE HIKE SPARKS FURY

British PRO PRS for Music has announced an admin rate hike for royalty collections, igniting fury amongst the Featured Artists Coalition and the Music Managers Forum, who accuse the PRO of penalizing songwriters for its own business blunders.

From October’s distribution onward, fees charged on international collections will double for some of the biggest music markets, while Sweden and New Zealand will rise to 8% from 3%. For royalties collected by U.S. societies, the new rates are 2% (from 1%), and for societies where PRS collects more than £10m annually, the rates will be 4%. For all other markets, the fees are 8%. Admin rates on royalties earned from TV and radio have risen by 0.5%, while public performance rates are up 3%. 

The FAC has said the reason for the rise is “to compensate for several distribution blunders last year and potentially also, to support other problematic business decisions.” The MMF claims it’s down to “historic failures within PRS' own distribution systems and pensions commitments.”

Both the FAC and MMF have called for further clarification on the rationale behind the decision, how it was reached, and confirmation on whether the raised period will be limited. (The PRS announcement suggests five years). 

In related news,  outgoing PRS for Music CEO Robert Ashcroft told the BBC that there’s a growing divide between those who are able to make a decent living as songwriters and those who can’t, thanks to the lowering value of a stream.

"We have 135,000 members, and somewhere around 25,000 out of them make a real living out of songwriting,” he said. “If you're in the middle or at the lower end of the earning spectrum it's getting harder and harder.

"In the old days if you sold a CD or a song on a CD you got money. Now of course you actually have to have people actually listen to your song. The more people listen, the lower the value per stream."

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