I have been in many discussions about the role of PRS I have been asked the following question numerous times by new composers and bands.
When should I join PRS?
In short I would say it is a judgement call on your part. In my experience, there are certain old school managers / music industry advisers that will have you believe it is the first thing you need to do in order to get paid. This is not strictly true!
PRS collect money from performances and broadcasts of your musical works. However, due to the huge task of monitoring this, PRS use a system of census that actually means that your music can be played yet missed by the census.
I think PRS do a great job for many composers / artists, but I do not think joining up should be the first thing you consider doing. In my opinion, I think it is worthwhile paying the admin fee and joining if you know that your works are being broadcast on major Terrestrial TV channels. If you are just being played on local radio for a few weeks a year, it is extremely unlikely that you will get any revenue. If you do it probably won’t recoup your admin fee.
So, in short, don’t join because somebody that apparently knows the industry tells you to.
Do some research, get the facts and join only when you think you will benefit financially.
- www.prs.co.uk – Performance royalty collecting society UK
This guy knows what he is talking about and has a detailed article about royalties.
This is cut and paste from the www.prs.co.uk…
Methods of using performance data for royalty distribution
census – full returns of all music played.
Where revenue is sufficient, PRS will distribute it to all the works performed. While it is the Society’s desire for this to be applied to all performances, at present it is only achieved for national terrestrial broadcast performances and certain major concerts.
sample – a subset of returns of all the music played.
In many cases the cost of collecting and processing details of all performances would be more than the revenue available. In these cases PRS collects information about some of the performances and uses that to represent all of them. These samples might be certain days in a broadcasters schedule, or certain concert events and are selected at random to reflect their overall value.
projection – returns of music from one source used to distribute another source
There are many uses of music, such as CDs and tapes for background music in shops and restaurants, where the actual value of each performance is probably only a few pence. In these cases it is too costly to create an effective sample. Instead PRS creates a statistical calculation of other music data based on a small survey of actual performances.