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Paying to have open mike session

Shaneo 11 Sep 07 - 07:01 AM
Girl Friday 11 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 09:01 AM
Santa 11 Sep 07 - 09:20 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 09:37 AM
Ruth Archer 11 Sep 07 - 09:43 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 09:50 AM
Santa 11 Sep 07 - 10:39 AM
Ruth Archer 11 Sep 07 - 10:50 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 11:02 AM
Ruth Archer 11 Sep 07 - 11:19 AM
jeffp 11 Sep 07 - 11:21 AM
The Villan 11 Sep 07 - 11:37 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 11:38 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 11:43 AM
jeffp 11 Sep 07 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,highlandman 11 Sep 07 - 12:17 PM
The Villan 11 Sep 07 - 12:28 PM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 12:43 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 07 - 12:47 PM
Shaneo 11 Sep 07 - 12:52 PM
The Borchester Echo 11 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM
stallion 11 Sep 07 - 02:24 PM
treewind 11 Sep 07 - 02:30 PM
treewind 11 Sep 07 - 02:38 PM
BB 11 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM
s&r 11 Sep 07 - 06:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Sep 07 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 11 Sep 07 - 11:13 PM
treewind 12 Sep 07 - 03:50 AM
BB 12 Sep 07 - 06:19 AM
Grab 12 Sep 07 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 07:21 AM
Ruth Archer 12 Sep 07 - 07:32 AM
Ruth Archer 12 Sep 07 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 12 Sep 07 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 07 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 12 Sep 07 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Russ 12 Sep 07 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 12 Sep 07 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Sep 07 - 11:45 AM
synbyn 12 Sep 07 - 12:45 PM
Nick 12 Sep 07 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 12 Sep 07 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,highlandman 13 Sep 07 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,highlandman 13 Sep 07 - 12:19 AM
treewind 13 Sep 07 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Fascinated(UK) 13 Sep 07 - 05:38 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Sep 07 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,highlandman 13 Sep 07 - 09:44 AM
IanC 13 Sep 07 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Russ 14 Sep 07 - 01:46 PM
Backwoodsman 17 Aug 08 - 06:46 AM
Simon G 17 Aug 08 - 08:45 AM
GUEST 17 Aug 08 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 18 Aug 08 - 08:31 AM
Simon G 19 Aug 08 - 04:51 AM
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Subject: Paying to have open mike session
From: Shaneo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 07:01 AM

The fallowing was copy and pasted from my web site's guestbook.
I find it hard to believe that The Preforming Rights Society would look for money from a publican for having an open mike session,
Is this true ?


hi love this site so much, i send it to everyone. i run the smallest
pub in rugby, England. we have an acoustic/open mike night. all our boys n girls get a beer for their troubles but we have to pay a fee to the performing rights society which far outweighs any profit we might make. its sad when musicians want to protect their music so much..at the end of the day, they should remember their roots. we all picked up a guitar and played someone else's song!!!music is the only free entity left on this earth, keep it, enjoy it but most importantly...share it with others


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Girl Friday
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM

As I understand it, PRS membership covers any music played in pubs etc. You can have any live performers for the one annual fee. If it's any good, your open mike could develop into a fully fledged folk club, andshould then take more over the bar.You could also book live acts at weekends.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:01 AM

The PRS collects fees from venues where live music is performed. These represent Performing Rights and the monies are redistributed to the owners of these rights, i.e. the composers and arrangers of the music performed.

You have beer delivered to your pub, do you not, for which the brewery subsequently invoices you and thus pays the people who worked to produce it.

Are you saying the songwriters should work for nothing?


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Santa
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:20 AM

Diane: Whilst agreeing with your final statement, I do have some queries about how this works. Does it mean that a session with only traditional songs will not have to pay the PRS? If it does, why? It is not using the work of any songwriter receiving monies from the PRS.

Surely each singer will make their own arrangement, to a greater or lesser extent. How is the line drawn in such a matter? If I may illustrate this with examples.

My wife sings the traditional ballad, the Rolling of the Stones, basically in an arrangement by the Canadian singer Eileen McGann. The songwriter can receive no payment for the use of the song: is this waived, and if so why not? Eileen McGann can presumably be paid for the use of her arrangement, but how does she receive this?

Meg also sings the recent song Jenny Greenteeth, by Nicole Murray (Cloudstreet) but has altered this to match her range and abilities. Nicole Murray deserves the songwriting monies, but what about the arrangement? What changes are required to make it a different arrangement, and hence avoid charges?


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:37 AM

It seems a bit of an odd set-up if the session apparently refunds the licensee for the PRS fee. I wonder if the same happens in respect of the PEL, or is the OP confusing the two?

If the song is of no known authorship it clearly cannot be PRS (or whichever body applies depending on country) -registered. If, however the arranger's work has been registered with the appropriate administrator, s/he will get the due fee.

The PRS doesn't (as far as I'm aware) go round looking for unregistered writers/arrangers to hand out payments. It's up to authors to register their work.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:43 AM

Arrangements are not covered by PRS, and songs listed as trad/arr on CDs are not subject to PRS.

PRS ensures money goes to the people who have written the songs. This is their "product"; they get paid when it is used. If a song has no attributable source, it is not subject to PRS.

As someone has said, you can pay the annual PRS membership fee to cover you if you run a pub or club, which is cheaper than paying per event.

"its sad when musicians want to protect their music so much..at the end of the day, they should remember their roots."

Songs are registered with PRS, who then collect the money due from the venue, regardless of its size or profit margin. This is not a choice made by the indivisual artists. They can't say, "Collect my rights from that big venue, but leave that little folk club alone."


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 09:50 AM

Sorry, should have been clearer.
A trad/arr song/tune on a CD attracts mechanicals, a payment which becomes due at point of sale, based on returns from retailers to the publisher.
This is actually handled by the MCPS, a close relative of the PRS, in fact living in the same house I think.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Santa
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 10:39 AM

Excuse my ignorance, but it is still not completely clear to me.

Fees are collected even if the songs sung have no known composer. I accept that few folk clubs/sessions could or would operate with such a restriction, but some might. If I formed The Society for Appreciation of Child's Ballads, would dues be required before anyone sang at a meeting? And those dues would go to boost the income of who? (Whom?)

Fees are paid to the songwriters/composers in proportion to sales, not performances. OK, I can see how it has to work that way, but sales stop after a certain time. How is the pooled money shared out? Is that based on total sales? Sales in any given year? Do performers have to keep rereleasing their songs in order to get paid for them?

How is the money split between songwriter and arranger?

How does it work with arrangements of traditional tunes? Do they have to be described as Trad/Arranged (performer on CD), so that the money goes to the performer, or who gets the money otherwise? This question arises from tales (perhaps misunderstood) told in other threads, of performer(s) receiving money from traditional rhymes, claimed by their arrangement.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 10:50 AM

Sorry, Diane - I confused the issue slightly. When using the CD example, I was trying to say that traditional songs, the sort that would be listed as trad/arr on CDs, are not subject to PRS. Recording rights are different, of course (and I'm not so good with them). But Santa, if a song is traditional, it is not subject to a PRS charge if it is sung. But Diane says there IS a charge if a traditional song is recorded - i bow to her superior knowledge.

Arrangements are not subject to PRS.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:02 AM

Yes, an MCPS charge dependent on sales as returned by the publisher annually.
This may be split between publisher and artist (if different) according to the terms of contract.

A venue nowadays usually/always (Ruth?) pays for a blanket annual PRS licence as in broadcasting and no longer completes PRS returns. So going round all your participants asking them exactly what they're going to do at your event no longer applies. It is the venue that is licensed, not the individual concert/session.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:19 AM

Unfortunately, we still do the event-by-event returns. I say unfortunately, but it's my administrator who deals with it, bless her.

For us, it's cheaper: the percentage we'd have to pay if we didn't do the returns is substantially higher than if we fill out the forms - hence the forms get filled out.

Dunno if it's to do with differnet charges applying to different sizes of venue, but that's my assumption.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: jeffp
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:21 AM

Are you sure that mechanical fees are based on sales? In the US, mechanicals are paid based on copies made.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:37 AM

I did the yellowbellies 1 and 2 CD's and paid for the number of CD's that I planned to produce and sell. I think I paid about £80 one off fee for MCPS for a charity CD producing no more than 500 CD's.
There is a scale based on the type of Cd etc.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:38 AM

When a copy is made of a music recording, it generates a music royalty which should be paid to the person who wrote that music. Thus a pressing plant ought to insist on MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) registration and show this as an imprint on the packaging, and reputable ones do.

It is from these imprints that retail outlets inform the publisher how many copies have been sold and these are to artists.

There are, however, those producers who get round this by running off CD-R copies rather than press from masters, and these are the recordings which will not, obviously, show up on MCPS returns.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:43 AM

. . . TextEdit took a bite out of my sentence . . .

" . . . how many copies have been sold and these are collated and, in turn, returned to the MCPS who will calculate and distribute what is due to artists . . . "


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: jeffp
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:49 AM

So, songwriters' royalties are paid per copy made and artists' royalties are paid per copy sold? That makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:17 PM

Getting back to performance rights, as opposed to mechanical:
I gather there is a difference between the two sides of the pond on how the royalties are distributed. As I understand it, in the US the fees are collected from the venues by the rights management agencies, then distributed to the copyright holders by means of some formula. As far as I can tell, this formula pays little or no attention to the actual selections performed in small venues, and is probably driven more by radio play than anything.
So if one of my songs is played a thousand times in small clubs but never gets above the ASCAP radar, they will have collected (in theory) a thousand royalty payments on my behalf and yet I will get none.
I hope the British system is better. In fact I hope I misunderstand the US system; if someone can explain to me where I am wrong or, if I am right, why this is fair, I might reconsider my bad attitude toward performing rights management.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:28 PM

Well I spoke with somebody here in the UK who had a small hit some time ago (not folk) and he was fuming as he didn't get any royalties and from my memory, it was for the same reasons Highlandman.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:43 PM

jeffp

If you are saying royalties are paid to the song/tune writer per performance and recording artists/publishers' royalties are paid per copy sold, yes.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:47 PM

Higlandman - google Les Hurdle and you will find an endless stream of information about what is wrong with ASCAP/BMI.

Ruth, why do you say that the PRS does not collect PRS fees in respect of the arrangement on a trad/arr song? I think it does exactly that and asserts that many variants of traditional songs are in fact reproductions of some arrangement or other.

Distribution is based on complex formulae and partly informed by cue sheets that should be filled in for any public performance of words music or arrangements, but singers and performers of thier own compositions only can elect to self-adminster the performing right and collect directly from the venue. This arose out of litigation by U2 against the PRS with which I was indirectly connected.

THere is greater knowledge about that aspect of the topic in the heads of James S. Wolsey solicitor of Cushbawm in Ireland and Amanda Harcourt the former secretary-general of BASCA and now the legal Godmother of Pop Idol. Guy Fletcher knows more than a bit as well, but plays his cards carefully.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Shaneo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:52 PM

So what most are saying is, if you have a sing-song, an open mike, or session with your friends and fellow musicians in a pub, then the landlord must pay royalalties ?.
I thought that it was paid if the pub had a juke box or other backround music.
This seems strange , if you were to only play songs that were 'out of copyright' , gone traditional, 200 years old, would the payement still have to be made.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 12:58 PM

Other recommended reading on the current state of UK performance/mechanical rights can be found at the MCPS/PRS Alliance site.

Whether it works properly and equitably is another matter but, as Richard says, you need to be in it to (maybe) win it. I haven't argued with Ruth over trad/arr because, although in theory the PRS rights are the same as self-written, the results are very hit & miss to say the least.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM

So the venue pays the PRS, but there is no record kept of what songs are sung, so the people who wrote the songs sung, assuming these are modern songs, don't get any money out of it. Is that really how it works? If so it sounds a pretty good scam.

When someone is performing publicly and being paid for it, it makes sense that some of the money involved should go to the songwriter. But in a situation where no payment is being received by the singer, any kind of charge for using the song just seems inappropriate to me.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: stallion
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:24 PM

I think the PRS thing whiffs a bit, a blanket cost shared out amongst the "biggies". I think songwriters should get the money for their work but I would doubt that any of the writers of the stuff we perform would get a meg from the PRS. We paid our whack to the MCPS for our CD licence knowing that the writers would get that money. I do produce a list of all the songs featured in our sets with the writers so it wouldn't be difficult for the PRS to sort it out, maybe we ought to send a list of all the peoples work featured in folk clubs and request the PRS to send them a payment.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: treewind
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:30 PM

If the pub is paying the PRS for a license than they should be sending in PRS returns for the music performed there. If a list of what was sung, and the authors, was sent to PRS then PRS would in fact add a small amount to the accounts for all the songwriters who were PRS members.

Of course, the venue never actually fills in the PRS form details, but if it's a folk festival the performers fill in the details and hand it back to the festival organsisers, who then send a big bunch of paper to PRS, and the money gets paid eventually, maybe a year later.

Whether or not anyone thinks it's right, the PRS rule is that a venue is licensable even if no money changes hands in connection with the music, i.e. it makes no difference whether the performers are paid or whether any charge is made for admission.

Ruth A: PRS do pay arrangement royalties for performances of traditional material. In that case they are paid to the performer, just as they are when the performer is the songwriter.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: treewind
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:38 PM

"a blanket cost shared out amongst the "biggies""
Not any more.
Anybody who writes songs or performs traditional material (which is by definition in their own arrangement) can and should join the PRS and if you perform at enough venues where PRS returns are filled in or if you qualify for the "small gigs scheme" (which basically means if you do any gigs at all) you can fill in returns and get payments.

It costs a one-off payment of £100 to join, and we got most of our money back on the strength of one Sidmouth Festival.
And we're not pop stars...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: BB
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM

"When someone is performing publicly and being paid for it, it makes sense that some of the money involved should go to the songwriter. But in a situation where no payment is being received by the singer, any kind of charge for using the song just seems inappropriate to me."

This has been argued before, without success, although many people agree with you - but the argument, presumably, is that the venue makes money out of it.

In effect, most songwriters are not concerned about getting royalties on performances by unpaid performers, as it gets their songs out there and known, therefore they have the chance of being picked up and recorded, when they should get royalties out of them.

What concerns me far more is the money PRS get from these small venue licences, when no returns are filled in. That is when, presumably, the money is divided between the 'big names' of the entertainment/song-writing world. And, by and large, no money goes from the folk clubs/sessions to the songwriters represented there, nor to EFDSS or anyone else publishing traditional songs. Nor would money be able to go to a body such as the National Sound Archive for those songs, as has been suggested in another thread.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM

No, the point is that a "Public Performance" of a copyright work (which can include an arrangement) is an act restricted by copyright and cannot occur without the permission of the copyright owner. The PRS takes an assignemtn of the relativ eparts of copyright from its members, and enforces those rights. The question as a matter of law is whether the performance is "public" or not.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: s&r
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 06:10 PM

The PRS have an arrangement with the folk world it is claimed, where monies collected from folk events are ring fenced and not paid to pop superstars.

We were told that our properly licensed venue had to void their licence for the duration of our festival, and the festival then has to pay a percentage of gross ticket sales to the PRS. We argued unsuccessfully for a long time: we couldn't afford to defend the litigation that was a likely outcome of not giving in, so we gave in.

What gripes me personally is that our relatively unsponsored festival pays money to the PRS, then the PRS foundation sponsor the Cambridge F F club tent.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 06:16 PM

Still sounds like a great scam to me.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 11:13 PM

Hi all,interesting discussion.From the posts it seems:
1)The PRS licence premises where money is being made from music-that answers the initial poster's quote.Bit of a bummer for that landlord,but presumably it covers all their music-barTV or incidental radio,tax-deductable of course.Some rich person might want to argue it out under Human Rights if his clientele are denied freedom of expression if he stops coughing up.

2)In many decades of session playing traditional&modern 'folk' in PRS licenced places I've never been asked for a list of tunes and from the posts there seems no obligation to do so.How,then, do they know who to pay the 1.5p's to?I can't avoid the conclusion that,after deducting a slice for themselves,for their own convenience they pay say,10% to Sir Paul,2.5% to Bono,1%to Cole Porter's estate etc..etc.
Would it ever occur to them to bung,for example: A.Cutting,J.Kirkpatrick,J.C.Frank's estate(all probably paid up members)or that they are collecting cash on behalf of Jane in the local ceilidh band,whose one tune that I knock out regularly does not warrant outlay of £100?

3)Right or wrong?:
It appears they really would expect a place selling coffee etc. to cough up even if it were dedicated entirely to performing Child(traditional) ballads.Even not making money and putting the onus on the premises to prove they are not.

4)To Anahata,excellent commentary,as ever.Do I read you right?
i.e.If I perform traditional stuff I become the arranger and therefore should consider paying PRS £100 and make a list each time in order to collect dosh for my amateur pastime.Did you have to get your return endorsed by the licence holder?what sort of money are we talking about?

NB: a)not being facetious,facet..er,taking the piddle
b)If anyone does comment please avoid allusions to recorded work-it's a different issue.
Regards F(UK)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: treewind
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 03:50 AM

re:(4)
Mary's the PRS member so I'm not the expert.

First: yes, as I said PRS credits performers' own arrangements of trad material in the same way as a singer performing his own songs.

Second:
We fill in PRS forms for festivals where we're booked guests. That's straightforward: you collect the forms at artists reception, and if you're efficient (as Mary is!) you fill them in as you go and hand them back at the end of the festival.

For guest bookings at folk clubs we use the "small gigs" scheme. For that you can do the return online, and it's modelled on the assumption that you have a more-or-less fixed set list which you perform at each gig. (I'm not sure how variations are accommodated). The venue doesn't have to be involved at all but is mentioned in the return. It is possible that a venue that isn't paying PRS license fees and gets flagged in many "small gigs" returns might end up being chased for license fees by the PRS, but one has also to consider that the PRS doesn't have the human resources to bother much with that until the amounts are significant.

For sessions and singarounds we don't do anything. The venue (e.g. pub) may be paying for a PRS licence, for a variety of reasons as suggested above by others (recorded background muzak etc.) and it's a one way traffic as far as I can see.

We do get returns from use of our three albums as well. The details (which are listed and sent to us by th PRS) are interesting. Occasionally a track gets played on the radio, and apparently one song is popular at an aerobics class somewehere and there is also a small blip of usage at a (non-folk) dance club. The mind boggles...

Did you have to get your return endorsed by the licence holder?what sort of money are we talking about?
I think you have to do that once with your get your "small gigs" list to demonstrate that you are a professional gigging musician. As for amounts, quite unpredictable but as I said the cost of membership was covered by a couple of festivals and a handful of other gigs in less than two years, and from then on it's all profit (that has to be declared in the tax accounts!)

If you're mainly doing it as a pastime, it might take a few years to get a return on your investment.

Anyway, don't ask me, ask the PRS

The system's not perfect, but it's probably the best approximation than can be done with limited resources, and it's a lot better than it was. The PRS has had a bad reputation, and that was well earned in the past, but it's had to pull its socks up since then.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: BB
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 06:19 AM

"The PRS have an arrangement with the folk world it is claimed, where monies collected from folk events are ring fenced and not paid to pop superstars."

Yes, but this only applies to festivals, not your local pub where there's a session or a folk club. If the pub is PRS licenced, and the guest is a member of PRS, then, as Anahata says, those guests can claim through the 'Small Gigs' scheme, but the licence money for all those thousands of other songs/tunes goes, as has been said, to the 'big stars' (not of the folk scene).

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Grab
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:04 AM

Reading the PRS site, it's enforcing *copyright*.
So rRe F(UK)'s point 4, I guess it'd depends on whether you've put together a copyrighted arrangement. Simply diddly-diddly-ing live wouldn't give you a copyrighted arrangement.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:21 AM

I'm not sure it goes to big stars.

As I understand it; money is collected by licence - the price set has little to do with how much copyright material may be played at the venue - it's a blanket fee. Royalties are then paid out; specifically in the case of 'Concert Venues' where setlist sheets are required, non-specifically (on a pro-rata basis) at other licenced venues via the Gigs and Clubs scheme (a new and very good innovation). The rest stays in the pot, and is used to fund other things such as Cambridge and many other festivals.

All royalties are divided between the creators. So if you have registered an arrangment of a publicly owned work (trad) you get all the money, but for that performance ONLY, because there is no-one else with whom to split the dosh. If someone else plays the same piece it cannot - in under the definition - be your arrangement, therefore you get nothing. If, however, they have registered an arrangement ,then they will get ALL the money - for that performance only. If not - as is usually the case with sessions etc. - the money stays in the pot to be used for education and other good works.

It may be possible to make a case that someone has copied your arrangement, and so you get the royalties for their performance, but I don't know of any cases. It would be very hard to prove - becauss even a different voice counts as an arrangement.

I do know a chum of mine gets a few pennies for a downloadable ringtone, of a trad reel for which he has registered an arrangement, but I don't think it's him playing on it - so there may be more to this than I understand.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:32 AM

"Ruth, why do you say that the PRS does not collect PRS fees in respect of the arrangement on a trad/arr song? I think it does exactly that and asserts that many variants of traditional songs are in fact reproductions of some arrangement or other."

because that doesn't seem to be how we pay PRS here...we pay the fee on songs registered with an attributed author.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:36 AM

"So the venue pays the PRS, but there is no record kept of what songs are sung"

We do PRS returns for every gig. If the band doesn't fill in the PRS form, we have to follow it up.

But if you're talking about pubs and clubs who buy the blanket licence, there is no record. We're a 500+dseat venue, so presumably different rules apply.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:39 AM

Thanks,Anahata-and Barbara for further clarification.
So,even a funster can claim.Hmm...30 tunes in a session at say £0.015 ea.,2to 3 sess. per wk.then Sidmuff,Towersey and the rest non-stop(possibly ruled out per BB-are Bedford,Radway,Swan,Horseshoes et al actually part of the festival? worth including anyway).
Could be lucrative if I can be arsed to list,or even remember,them all.
I'd better belt up-if just the session 'catters did that it would swamp the PRS.Or worse they might oblige me to to do it.
That brings me onto my Fascination-thanks very much for the link,but I'm not inclined to engage them.I was once charged with assessing value for several sites-the PRS flagged up due to the high admin vs low outgoing & relevance (radio over tannoys).
They were polite but mulish-'the sky's blue-you play music that must have been made up by somebody so you pay,obvious ennit?-besides there's an Act of Parliament and our legal team won't hesitate...is that radio in the background?
So,thought I,they tie every scrap up with one of a million composers?dead likely,and...what about all the trad stuff??
They are also rumoured to use self-employed snoops to enforce their position.

Admittedly negative post-I can't put up another way of paying composers,although they might consider having a box on the return-'is any proportion of your entertainment traditional?'with appropriate reduction. FWIW I like the sound of the US situation even less.

Cheers F.(UK)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 07:45 AM

Here in the UK, Sam smith's brewery of Tadcaster that owns a few hundred pubs around the country decided that they no longer wished to pay PRS and took all music out of their pubs. Whilst this may have had some beneficial effect in removing irritating background music it also resulted in the death of all live music in those pubs. In Beverley (Yorkshire) the folk club of 30 years standing had to move out as did the jazz club and the regular acoustic session - all from one pub!


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM

The problem is how to have any system which is even beginning to be fair to composers - of any sort of music (if we were not fair there wouldn't be much new music around).

Venues fall into three categories: Concert Venues - green forms required, that's you Ruth, other licenced premises, Gigs and Clubs Scheme (basically an estimate, but better than nothing) an unlicenced premises - perform at your peril.

The reason PRS collect on trad on non concert venues is that at the point that the money changes hands (at the start of the licence period) there is no way of knowing what is going to be played, how much copyright, how much trad, and how much trad arr (registered and due).

You could say they should pay back the money to the venues at the end of the year, once they do know what's been played, but that would cost a bomb and not be viable, so they fund good works with it instead.

The pub where you have your trad session may well have a covers band on other nights etc, plus juke box or muzac.

You either have a system that rewards writers - and while far from perfect this works after a fashion - or you have no system, and no royalties. Apart from the human rights issue (why should composers go unpaid when novellists and painters earn a living, for example),   it would seriously diminish our aural lives.

Remember these laws apply to al genres of music, not just folk.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:12 AM

Hi,me again-there were some posts while I composed the last missive.
My comments all relate to the annual blanket charge system.
Where a band fills in a return stating the composer,and presumably they're paid one-for-one I don't have an issue.(Although,how much work would PRS put into tracking down an unregistered composer?there must be stacks in the folk world-crikey,it gets worse)

Tom,I didn't get the impression that Anahata or Mary had submitted any concrete arrangements before or after claiming.
Cheers K.(UK)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:26 AM

Concrete music? M and A? Now that, I WOULD like to hear!

PRS don't even try to track down unregistered composers. If you're not a member of PRS you have no copyright protection through them.

I'll let Anahata explain.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 08:27 AM

If you're not a member of PRS - or any affiliated collection society* - you have no copyright protection through them.

And it is a society, not a company or a government agency. We own it.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 09:22 AM

I was struck by GUEST's claim that "Sam smith's brewery of Tadcaster that owns a few hundred pubs around the country decided that they no longer wished to pay PRS and took all music out of their pubs."

In that situation, who won?
What did they win?

I am a musician but neither a performer nor an author.

If I were an author, I am not sure what my answer to the following question would be:
What do you prefer?
Your music is played, but you receive no financial benefit.
Your music is not played.

The financial results are equivalent.
The non-financial results are not.

Would I prefer to be unknown and unrewarded.
Would I prefer to be known and unrewarded.

Tough call.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 09:32 AM

Would I prefer to be unknown and unrewarded.
Would I prefer to be known and unrewarded?

The latter, presumably, but to rule out the third "Would I prefer to be known and rewarded" is to rule out common law and ethics. I repreat; why should composers not earn from their efforts as any other writer or artist?

You see you can't ring fence folk songs, and treat the writers differently to other types of music, just because of the way the material happens to be used - you could never decide where to bang in the posts. (Youd have to define Folk Music in law for a start - and the best of british the the one who tries)!

Law and ethics are as they are because they have been delveloped over time to bring fairness to the sharing of intellectual property, which happens to include folk songs, both ancient and modern.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 11:21 AM

Yes,it's me freeloading again.Please note my use of 'traditional'rather than 'folk'-it's slightly easier to define.
It was McGrath's scam comment that prompted me to jump in.Also nobody here has suggested composers should not be paid. So,to pursue what might be questionable:

Tom: a society owned by us? one that obliges promoters to join if they want to use any sort of music? Who hath set them up to judge us?
As I understand it PRS is a self-appointed organisation operating in place of Government under (a rather dusty)Act of Parliament i.e.a quango (no perjorative intent).

Russ cites Smiths*,once patrons of live music-hypothetically,why should such a company not have the option to give J.Kirkpatrick or Acker Bilk a free pint in return for customers playing their tunes,or even to the players for their delightful arrangement of trad.ones?None of those parties can be happy about Macca &co copping from their efforts.No fees,no admin.,direct reward.

*as it happens I'm not convinced that PRS were Smiths only irritation.
Regards F.(UK)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 11:45 AM

Copyright exists in law. The PRS are merely a collection and distribution agency, tasked to handle these activities on behalf of members. You don't have to be a member to police your copyright - you can always make your own private arrangements - with every outlet in the world! What I meant was that PRS is owned by its members (I guess even a quango is ulimately accountable to the public in a free democracy - but that's a moot point), and to a certain extent we can, and do, agitate for changes.

You'd have to define 'folk' if you wanted exemptions for folky activities - 'traditional' already has a clear definition. You could prevent people from registering arrangements if enough people agreed, and many would. The trouble is, it would prevent arrangements of other out of copyright material, not just traditional folk songs. There is a separate debate on this re Creative Commons Licences.

Some argue that it would be better if no royalties were ever collected on copyright-free music, and some festivals which favour traditional material have argued that they should not need a licence. PRS have issued a cheaper festival tarrif as a compromise, but not everyone is happy about it, and I don't really know enough to comment.

Sorry, I thought Russ was suggesting it might be more important to be known than to be paid.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: synbyn
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 12:45 PM

Performance rights: yes, the writers should be recompensed- the PRS does collect from all venues. But it then distributes on the basis of Radio & TV plays principally, establishing a percentage of total income and paying out under the headings of eg jukebox & karaoke royalties. The weighting heavily benefits those with such broadcast exposure. When local radio is entirely registered as opposed to sampled this might alter for the better, but for those of us whose work is principally sung in live performances in pubs by other singers there is no automatic payment. Money distorts all- supermarket broadcasts of 'Yesterday', should they count every time, and if not, why not? we might end up with less. There is an argument for PRS to untie the link between broadcast and payout, and that argument should take place within, probably.

Just waiting for someone to use one of mine on a film score as traditional...!


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Nick
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 12:48 PM

>>I was struck by GUEST's claim that "Sam smith's brewery of Tadcaster that owns a few hundred pubs around the country decided that they no longer wished to pay PRS and took all music out of their pubs."

>>In that situation, who won?
What did they win?

Sam Smiths saved a certain amount of money by not paying PRS and not having PEL (I actually think much of the music that was played in some Sam's pubs including the one that we played at was probably not properly licensed at the time but that is history). I was told from a reliable source that they estimated a certain small percentage loss in sales from removing TVs, music and live music - which they then achieved by the time honoured method of creative accounting. The real downturn has been much greater in many places perhaps reflected in the number of pubs currently being run by reliefs and their difficulties in attracting managers.

I was also told that PRS made Sam's an attractive offer for the fees on their premises but that is from a less good source so there may be more to it.

In the two letters and the telephone conversation I had with Humphrey Smith he did indicate, however, that PRS WAS at the root of the decision.

There are various previous threads about Samuel Smiths and music going from two and a half years ago -
Obit Samuel Smiths
Have Samuel Smith's banned music?
Oh the nostalgia. I still really miss the lovely room in the Blacksmiths Arms in Farlington where we used to play which was acoustically lovely and a great setting.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 02:47 PM

UK Copyright exists as soon as a work is created & PRS is an expedient way of royalty collection,alternatively authors can make a private arrangement or pass it up-ok,understood from the outset..

However,what rankles still is this:when a music venue opens up pretty shortly a letter turns up from PRS asking for their annual fee,to be distributed as they see fit, or face an injuction under the relevant Act.
It appears to be no defence to state that a) a high proportion of the music is live undocumented performance-a common situation for quite a few pubs I know.And/or b)they make direct arrangements with composers-admittedly unusual.
From Synbyn's note ( re.media plays apportioning)composers of pub rock probably loose out just the same as folk & jazzers.

Cheers F.(UK)
Cheers


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 12:09 AM

I gather further from reading here that there is some sort of means for the UK PRS to collect information on music played in small venues. If so, and if they *do* anything with that information, that is a move in the right direction. ASCAP and BMI, as far as I have been able to learn from their websites, care not a whit for small venues. They have no mechanism to accept returns from anything smaller than a stadium concert. So airplay really drives it all.
Hence I shall stick by my rather dim view of the whole scam and sit on my two hundred and something bucks.
Which is not to say that I don't respect copyright in my own activities, I just see no need to pay ASCAP/BMI good money for doing absolutely nothing on my behalf.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 12:19 AM

UK-ers, does your PRS also shake down -- er, request license fees from -- clubs where musicians play exclusively their own works?
Where I live, most if not all open-mike sessions have become strictly singer-songwriter showcases: no covers or trad material allowed, period. This evidently shields the venue from paying license fees.
But it sounds like this is no-go in the UK, do I understand correctly?
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: treewind
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 03:53 AM

It's not true that "no covers or trad material allowed... shields the venue from paying license fees".
In theory, by the PRS rules
1. licensing is applicable if there is any performance of music in public
2. A songwriter who is a PRS member can, when appropriate, collect royalties for a performance of his own songs, even when he's the performer. Indeed, many regularly gigging songwriters do this: it's a useful little income boost.

However, I'm sure there are hundreds of clubs and sessions in the UK that the PRS simply doesn't know about. Either they are so small that they don't care, or the venue might be a pub that already has a PRS license for other reasons (background recorded music) but nobody bothers with filling PRS returns and no doubt most of the participants aren't members anyway and don't know anything about it.

But being a "singer-songwriter showcase" doesn't, in itself, change anything.

What does seem to apply in the UK, compared with the USA, is that the dividing line between what's big enough to matter and the "below the radar" small fry is a lot smaller than a stadium concert. Certainly provincial theatres, arts centres, hotels and bigger pubs that have music are covered.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Fascinated(UK)
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 05:38 AM

Anahata.Thanks for responding to Highlander-as an unqualified funster I was going to bow out.
So then: All UK venues pay PRS (on a sliding scale roughly related to the number of people likely be entertained) if they play music.

This applies even in the unlikely situation where they only put on singer/songwriters.Should such a performer want royalties in addition to their venue fee they would have to join PRS (c.£100)and send them a list of on a standard form confident that eventually they will receive payment.

I'm guessing that such a list would need to include all numbers-self-penned,trad/classical.arr.by self,other writers due for royalties.
In the absence of such a list PRS will apportion payment according to playlists from media sources,who are obliged to provide them as part of their operating conditions.

Incidentally-I don't read H.'s stadium comment literally.Rather a re-statement of the 'big name based on meia plays'situation.
Regards F.(UK)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 07:26 AM

Do they have exemptions for churches?


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:44 AM

Anahata, thanks for the clarifications.

In the US (excepting possibly where there are some local regulations) there is no license required for simply performing music of some kind, therefore a musician performing a piece which he/she owns is perfectly within the law, and ASCAP doesn't care about it. (There are other licenses and fees involved in operating public accommodations, but music performance per se is irrelevant to these.)

The "stadium" concert was admittedly hyperbole (my wife tells me a million times a day to stop exaggerating). I'm not going to take the time to look it up, but if I recall correctly there was a seating number, perhaps 2000, referred to on the ASCAP site. A small stadium then. :-) The point remains that only the big guns (Sir Paul and Eddie Van H) are likely to ever earn back their membership fees from ASCAP. BMI is a little more mid-list friendly, but not much.

McGrath, in US law churches are exempt from performance royalties if the music is used in a worship service. Concerts are not exempted, and if the service is recorded or broadcast, royalties apply. There is NO exemption from mechanicals if copies are made or the words are projected on a screen, which is unfortunately a common form of abuse in US churches.

Cheers
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: IanC
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 10:17 AM

In the UK, churches don't have to pay to sing hymns as it's not regarded as a performance.

They do, however, have to either buy the hymnals or pay for a licence if they make copies of the words or music.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM

This summer, Italian friends, weekend gig, Italian restaurant...all improv/trio/quartet. Fee demanded for Sinatra songs. Owner refused. Owner says, "Let them take it out of my register - this is not Nazi Germany!!!!!"

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 01:46 PM

Tom Blish,

Remember, although I am a traditional musician, I am neither a performer nor a composer.

My question was asked out of real curiousity.

I certainly agree that we cannot "rule out common law and ethics."

But in the real world we cannot rule out consequences either.

Remember also that I know nothing about the Sam Smith's affair. I'm a curious yank.

That said,
If I were a performer,
and a significant number of possible venues were closed to me because of a decision made by Sam Smith management
on the basis of PRS policy,
I'd ask myself if I were better off after the event than before the event.

I'd ask that question, but I don't know what my answer would be.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and AMATEUR musician)


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 06:46 AM

Very enlightening.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Simon G
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 08:45 AM

It amazes me that Landlords can afford the £8.99 per performance event the PRS demand. Most Open Mics, Sessions Singarounds wouldn't justify this fee in terms of additional revenue to the Landlord -- which just indicates how PRS are abusing their monopoly position on behalf of their members.

There is no annual fee option for pubs, they must pay per event. Even if only 1 person turns up a sing/plays in a singaround the fee is £8.99. Similarly if the session has 30 tunes but just one is an arrangement licenced by PRS the fees is £8.99.

I suspect most pubs with sessions/singarounds are economic with the truth when they declare their use of PRS licensed music. Which is not ideal and will be disaster for live music when the PRS catch up with them.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 10:30 AM

It is all just a scam. It is nothing but corporate fat cats finding a way to cash in on the struggling artists talent. Having to pay to voice your emotions and ideas that is sickening. The "Industry" is such a repugnant aspect of music it makes me sick. Musicians catering to it makes me ever more sick. We have the voices and we have the talent by which they have nothing we don't want to give them. We are all turning into the monkey and they have the grind organ. Sickening!!!
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 08:31 AM

Guest, even if if you are a "struggling artist" presumably you still pay for food and drink, pay for your instruments, pay for new strings etc? Or do you feel that because you're an "artist" you're entitled to steal them from others. I assume (I hope) the answer to these is "no".

If you don't have the talent to write your own songs, why then do you feel it's right to steal the work of those who have that talent? If they're truly your own emotions and ideas which you're voicing, then there shouldn't be a problem - join the PRS and get back the royalties for your own songs.

That's what this is about - if you're a performer you can get paid for performing, but a composer you can only get paid from royalties. It's the composers' rights which the PRS is set up to protect.

The mechanisms of PRS may be crude and inefficient, and are frequently criticised, but no musician should criticise the principle of copyright. If you're a composer yourself, it's a way of getting paid for your work. If you're not, it helps to ensure that there are songs for you to perform.


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Subject: RE: Paying to have open mike session
From: Simon G
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 04:51 AM

I fully support composers getting paid for their work. To be truthful I owe them a lot more than the piddling little amounts that find their way through PRS for the privilege of singing their songs at singarounds from time to time.

However the PRS price list is more than crude and inefficient. Pubs get the highest charges per capita in the price list, why? I suspect because they are easy targets for the PRS, the way they operate means that in most cases individual pubs are dealing with the licence and PRS can scare individual landlords into submission.

The solution is simple, we all move to community halls, which do pay an low annual fee to PRS so the extra cost of your singaround/session/open mike is £0.00.


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