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 you can get paid for that creativity.
PRS for Music 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.
In this article, we invite them to share and break down the five first steps to registering for music royalties.
What is PRS for Music?
PRS for Music is home to the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). It is owned, governed and run by its members.
The company 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.
When should I join PRS for Music?
It's worth considering joining as a member if you create your own music and it can be:
- Played on the radio.
- Used on TV.
- Streamed or downloaded online.
- Played by DJs and/or bands in music venues and/or at festivals.
How much does it cost and what’s the long-term benefit?
There is a one-time payment for a lifetime membership of £100 (including VAT) for PRS and £100 (including VAT) for MCPS. The membership covers countries all around the world thanks to our ‘reciprocal’ agreements with like-minded organizations in other territories.
Depending on the amount of royalties you’ve earned, you could access funding opportunities via the PRS Members’ Fund, which provides support and advice to 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.
What is the difference Between PRS & MCPS?
PRS 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, gyms, music venues, nightclubs and festivals. It also covers radio and television broadcasts.
MCPS 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. In essence, MCPS seeks to preserve your music copyright while getting you paid.
The balance between performance vs mechanical royalties varies depending on the use of the music, as shown in the splits below:
- 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.
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.)
How do I join PRS for Music?
PRS register is entirely online including signature and payment on the website. You’ll need a debit/credit card to pay the joining fee and a form of ID (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.
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