Leading music industry bodies have hit out at the Performing Rights Society (PRS) after it announced a licence fee for small livestream performances that could have a financial hit on grassroots artists.
Livestream shows have been an alternative source of income for artists during the coronavirus pandemic, all the way from Dua Lipa‘s ambitious Studio 2054 show to smaller, stripped-back affairs from emerging artists.
However, the PRS proposed a new tariff last month of between 8-17% for livestreams, a rise from its usual 4.2% gross from live gigs.
While the tariffs drew condemnation from the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF), they have now been implemented by the PRS alongside a flat fee for shows that generate less than £500.
Organisers of shows that take up to £250 will pay the PRS £22.50 plus VAT, while the fee will double for shows grossing between £251 and £500.
— Music Venue Trust (@musicvenuetrust) January 27, 2021
Responding to the new tariffs, the Music Venue Trust said: “It is extremely important to the grassroots sector that the songwriters whose work sit at the heart of our ecosystem are adequately and reasonably paid for their work. A fixed rate Tariff is not a mechanism by which that will be achieved, and the methodology and rate proposed by PRS for Music will not result in grassroots songwriters being paid for their work.
“We remain available to discuss the realities of streaming during this crisis with PRS for Music if they wish to have an informed discussion on it. Unilaterally announcing ill conceived new Tariffs in a crisis is not such a discussion.”
As The Guardian reports, the new tariffs have prompted the cancellation of livestreams from Bradford’s The Mill, which was set to host livestreams for Independent Venue Week this month.
“We already paid for a limited online broadcast licence from them, and a venue licence, so to be hit with this extra charge that we haven’t been able to account for in advance – we don’t know if we’ll be able to continue,” said Mill director Jim Mitcham.
NME has contacted the PRS for comment.
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