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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss PRS call for a Busking Day (82* d) RE: PRS call for a Busking Day 14 Jun 10


Howard,

Every gig in the land is potentially in the system by means of the Gigs and Clubs scheme. This is compiled by the artist retrospectively, so neither the venue nor the club is aware that it's happening. A majority of my PRS income arrived this way.

The chief problem as I see it is that a lot of folk people don't want to put a value on the music they're using for their enjoyment. And if you feel the writer and arranger's work has no value, then of course any licence fee however small is disproportionate and exorbitant.

But if you compare the licence fee with, say, the price of soap in the Gents, or the heating bill, or the beer or any other essential resource, then it's actually incredibly cheap. But only if you value the work of the people who own that music and the costs it took to make it available for your use.

Now, some say that 'folk' music should never be owned - but that's a different issue.

Even if we could define and isolate the music enjoyed in folk contexts, which we absolutely couldn't anyway, we'd not have the CDs, records, books, radio stations and music TV programmes which distribute it. We'd have lots of home-grown local music, which would be be great, but we'd be loosing something in the process. And where would you draw the line? Some 'folk' 'writers' (PLEASE note my inverted commas) might be happy to release their rights to a creative commons type sytem (and I have campaigned for a check box option for non-revenue-earning use myself), but others would not - and they have every right not to. Copyright exists, and it's a necessary function of society. (Note the word 'right' buried right there after the word 'copy').

As for this nonsense about 'not passing on royalties to the actual composers due to an inefficient distribution system' please read my post above again.

Considering the staggering complexity of the marketplace for performed music, the PRS system is almost miraculously efficient. Not perfect - but 1,300 in one year for the likes of me? Come, on, give the guys a break. I think that's damn good. Ok, they pay the chief exec too much, but you can't accuse them of unfairness or inefficiency - well you can, but only if you're more interested in mud-slinging and stirring up trouble than the truth.

I repeat. If you're not getting much money, it's because not many people are using your music. And that'll be me next year, so I'm not bragging ok? If you want to make a mint out of your couple of songs that people sing in the club, fine - but the licence fee will have to go up a lot. You can't have it both ways.

Now, I do agree that public domain music should NOT be charged for, unless it is being performed, as arranged, by the person/people who registered that arrangement. I was well into negotiations on this when I retired (having crossed swords with the MU, who hold the opposite view about it). And we were waiting with baited breath for the promised new special transferrable club licence which would exempt all PD music in non fee-earning situations.

But it's not been announced. Why, I wonder?

Could it be because not enough people are prepared, as Dan and I have been, actually to engage with PRS - and too many remain content merely to snarl at them from the undergrowth, and often in ways which completely miss the rights, legal issues and practical costs of the situation, while promoting misinformation and encouraging misunderstanding and conflict?

I do hope not. Because if so then all my efforts will have been wasted.

Tom


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