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PRS Backs Down On Livestream License Fee Plans
Christian Eede , February 1st, 2021 18:43

The intention to introduce a tariff on events generating less than £500 were criticised by a number of UK music industry bodies last week

Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music, the organisation which collects royalties for performers in the UK, has backtracked on a plan to introduce a license fee on small-scale livestreams.

PRS for Music last week announced that organisers of live-streamed events who were registered with the organisation would need to play a flat fee in order to put on or participate in online events that gross £500 or less. (The planned tariff was set at £22.50 for events raising up to £250 and £45 for events generating between £251 and £500.) It hoped that this would lead to a higher proportion of funds being paid out to artists than the takings from physical gigs which are currently unable to take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This move generated criticism from a number of UK music industry bodies though, with Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd telling The Guardian that he thought the measure was "disgraceful" and would cause live-streamed shows by grassroots artists to "grind to a halt."

PRS for Music has now conceded on the matter, and live-streamed events that raise less than £500 will now bee covered by a free license. In a statement, the organisation said: "We are committed to agreeing a discounted rate for larger concerts as soon as possible to make these licenses available to the market."

Venues and PRS-registered artists participating in streams will also no longer need to retrospectively apply for licenses for gigs that have already taken place in a further reversal of last week's plans.