Let’s be honest, admin is not the most exciting part of making music. Still, it’s important to get your business in order so can you get paid for that creativity.
PRS helps creatives do just that; they represent the rights of over 160,000 music creators and music publishers in the UK and globally. They’ve had years of experience supporting independent musicians, and work diligently to ensure music creators are paid their fair share for their work. So we’ve invited them to share and break down the five first steps to registering for royalties as a music creators
First off, who is PRS and what do they do?
PRS for Music is home to PRS (the Performing Right Society) and MCPS (the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society). It is owned, governed, and run by its members.
PRS for Music issues licenses to businesses and music users enabling them to use our members’ music. Money collected from these licenses is paid as royalties to members.
Registering Your Work: When to join?
If you create your own music and it can be:
- played on the radio, or
- used on TV,
- streamed or downloaded online,
- played by DJs and/or bands in music venues and/or at festivals,
It's time to consider joining PRS and MCPS as a writer member.
How much does it cost and what’s the long-term benefit?
There is a one-time payment for a lifetime membership of £100 (inc VAT) for PRS and £100 (inc VAT) for MCPS. The membership covers countries all around the world thanks to PRS for Music’s ‘reciprocal’ agreements with like-minded organizations in other territories. Depending on how much royalties you’ve earned, you could access funding opportunities via the PRS Members’ Fund, which provides support and advice to PRS members who may be struggling financially, physically, or emotionally. At this point, you are entitled to voting rights which enables you to influence who sits on the Members’ Council. The PRS Foundation also runs a number of initiatives that provide financial support for the creation, performance, and/or promotion of outstanding music.
Understand the Difference Between PRS & MCPS Before Applying
PRS (the Performing Right Society) is concerned with performance royalties that are owed when music is publicly performed (or played) to an audience. This includes music played in shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, and gyms, but also music venues, nightclubs, and festivals. It also covers radio and television broadcasts.
MCPS (the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) is concerned with mechanical royalties that are owed when music is reproduced or duplicated on either a physical or digital format, including CDs and vinyl.
Broadcasters (i.e radio stations) usually need mechanical licenses to cover synchronization (music with moving images), copying (from one format to another), and the right to supply (e.g. selling their programs abroad or to other platforms.) The balance between performance vs mechanical royalties varies depending on the use of the music.
- Permanent downloads 75% MCPS / 25% PRS
- On-demand streaming 50% MCPS / 50% PRS
- Webcasting services 25% MCPS / 75% PRS
These royalties are separate from those that may be owed to you by record labels for exploitation of the master copyright and sale of sound recordings.
How to join?
The process is entirely online including signature and payment at www.prsformusic.com/join.You’ll need a debit/credit card to pay the joining fee and a copy of some ID (e.g. passport, driving license, or birth certificate.) You can choose whether you are joining PRS, MCPS, or both, although you potentially won’t need to join MCPS if you have a publishing deal.
What Happens Next?
Once your application is approved, you’ll be assigned a unique membership number – also referred to as a CAE number or an IPI number. You will gain access to the member area of our website which includes tools to register your music, view existing registrations, submit live/DJ setlists, and more. Once we start distributing royalties to you, you can access statements and analytics tools that tell you where your music has generated money.
PRS for Music – join https://www.prsformusic.com/join
PRS for Music – help section https://www.prsformusic.com/help
“How To Register A Work” tutorial videos https://help.prsformusic.com/s/article/how-do-i-register-a-work
M Mag – curated content to inspire and empower you to thrive professionally, artistically and financially. https://www.prsformusic.com/m-magazine
PRS Members’ Day - https://www.prsformusic.com/membersday