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PRS UNDER FIRE (AGAIN) FOR LIVESTREAM TARIFF 

British PRO PRS for Music has launched a new online live-concert license for small-scale livestreamed gigs, seeking to impose a flat fee equal to a minimum 9% tariff. The Music Managers Forum and Featured Artist Coalition aren’t happy.

The tariff applies to events originating in the U.K. that take in revenues of less than £500 and intends to cover online music usage fees for PRS members’ repertoire. The cost is £45 for events taking in between £251 and £500 and £22.50 for those earning less than £250, depending on ticket sales. The tariff is said to be temporary until the live sector can reopen. 

“In normal circumstances, online live concerts are an incremental revenue stream to live performance,” a statement from PRS reads. “PRS for Music, however, recognizes that as long as the physical live sector remains closed, livestreamed concerts, whilst still a different form of exploitation to a physical gig or concert, are in part substitutional for physical gigs and concerts.”

The Music Managers Forum and Featured Artist Coalition argue that the tariff was launched without consultation with artists or their representatives, which was called for in a letter from more than 50 music managers in December.

“Even at its lowest, this rate is more than double the tariff for ‘in-person’ events,” a joint statement from the two organizations reads. “This is despite PRS removing a fixed-fee from small-venue shows in person and moving to a standard 4.2% of overall revenue only two years ago.”

By PRS’s own admission, the MMF and FAC added, “it is unclear if they have a legal mandate to license online shows on a global basis.”

FAC CEO David Martin and MMF Chief Exec Annabella Coldrick further stated jointly: “All of us want songwriters and composers to be paid fairly and efficiently for the use of their work, but this is not the way to go about it. Once again, we would urge PRS for Music to stop acting unilaterally. They need to urgently listen to the growing concerns of artists and their representatives during the pandemic, implement a waiver for performer-writers to opt out of such fees and commit to a full and transparent industry-wide consultation before issuing invoices to cash-strapped artists.”

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