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So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)

the lemonade lady 06 Aug 02 - 12:54 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 02 - 01:20 PM
smallpiper 06 Aug 02 - 01:40 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 02 - 01:56 PM
harvey andrews 06 Aug 02 - 02:52 PM
Dave the Gnome 06 Aug 02 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Ballyholme 06 Aug 02 - 03:35 PM
alanabit 07 Aug 02 - 06:40 AM
the lemonade lady 10 Aug 02 - 05:33 AM
Pied Piper 10 Aug 02 - 07:24 AM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Aug 02 - 10:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 10 Aug 02 - 11:32 AM
Susanne (skw) 10 Aug 02 - 05:48 PM
Murray MacLeod 10 Aug 02 - 06:58 PM
Joan from Wigan 11 Aug 02 - 01:16 AM
harvey andrews 11 Aug 02 - 07:04 AM
pavane 11 Aug 02 - 10:06 AM
fogie 12 Aug 02 - 07:16 AM
nutty 12 Aug 02 - 07:19 AM
Trevor 12 Aug 02 - 07:58 AM
treewind 12 Aug 02 - 08:06 AM
pavane 12 Aug 02 - 08:38 AM
the lemonade lady 13 Aug 02 - 06:00 AM
Herga Kitty 13 Aug 02 - 09:33 AM
Alio 13 Aug 02 - 11:00 AM
nutty 13 Aug 02 - 01:10 PM
harvey andrews 13 Aug 02 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Miss Emily Latella 13 Aug 02 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Miss Emily Latella 13 Aug 02 - 03:54 PM
the lemonade lady 14 Aug 02 - 08:18 AM
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Subject: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 12:54 PM

As you know we organised a small folk weekend in Bishop's Castle this May. It was a great success. We asked people to pay for camping and we organised a ceilidh for which we charged on the door. The ceilidh band gave me a playlist and we submitted it to the PRS (Performing Rights Society). They were satisfied with that, but are unhappy that we can't send them a list of all (ALL) the songs sung in the pubs, so that copywright can be sorted out etc.

When I questioned them about sessions held all over Britain, every evening of the week, asking if they were going to ask all pubs to do the same, the answer was "that is our intention". So not only are we having difficulties with PEL, we now have PRS to deal with as well.

Our little 'do' was non-profit making. We'll have to fund raise to pay the PRS for trad/contemp songs sung in the pubs next year, which will be 13-14-15th June BTW if we can afford to do it.

Sal


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 01:20 PM

Do they share an office with The Ministry of Silly Walks? As Geoof the Duck said, about a similar issue last year "Don't tell them what you are doing, if they don't know about it, they can't give you any hassle"
There are serious problems in the UK, 9Unemployment, the Health service waiting lists etc, Crime, the transport situation, roads & rail etc, etc, and yet there are people sat in offices in Whitehall etc making silly rules up that don't seem to benefit anybody.john


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: smallpiper
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 01:40 PM

But jOhn they do benefit people. Think of all the money that people who write songs and tunes are loosing because we are playing their work in public for free. Now I think that I am right in saying that most composers/writers in the tradition don't mind having their music played/sung as long as they are credited for it. Look what happens when they are not... people use their music and make millions from it without paying the composer a penny. i.e. Flatley in one of his dance videos used Caliope House (a tune composed by Dave Richardson from Boys of the Lough) Flattley made millions Dave had to take him to court to get anything is that fair?


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 01:56 PM

I do see your point smallpiper and agree with you to an extent, but there is a big difference between a stage show such as Riverdance, where people are charged maybe £50 per seat, and a few friends meeting up in a pub to make music for their own enjoyment.
If they intend charging session goers for playing tunes etc, then perhaps we will see a time when music is driven underground as is the case with alcohol in Iran/Saudi Arabia etc.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: harvey andrews
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 02:52 PM

I think John that the payments are covered by the licence fee paid to PRS for all entertainment in the venue. Premises that have live entertainment have to have a PRS licence by law. What they are trying to do is make sure that the share of said licence revenue which should go to the songwriters does go to the songwriters, otherwise it goes in to a big pot and the people who don't get radio and TV play, but do get SUNG regularly get none of it.By filling out a PRS form, which only takes a few minutes you will be ensuring that some of your favourite people get a fair deal.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 03:13 PM

We had the same issues with the PRS initialy. On reflection however I cannot think of a fairer way to ensure that the songwriters do get their share. I think the bigger issue with your 'do', Sal, is who should pay the PRS fee? Not you obviously as you are a not for profit organisation. So that leaves the people who do make the profits. Either the pubs or the breweries.

It is ludicrous that the publican or the brewer should increase his profit vastly due to live music happening and then expect the people who arrange that live music, at no cost to him, to pay him as well!

Mind you I do have doubts about the involvement of the PRS at traditional music clubs where only traditional music is sung or played. The really funny one is a club that has only traditional music OR the songwriters themselves performing. I think the PRS would be on a sticky wicket if they tried to take such a club to court for breach of any copyright. It would be impossible to get a landlord to stick his neck out over that though - far easier for them to pay the fee of around £300pa for a weekly live music club than to risk a huge fine in court.

Remember it is the responsibility of the venue to provide the PRS licence, much the same as the PEL.

Another factor you may be missing, one I am going to try out, is that the PRS will provide funds for encouraging new songwriting talent. How about running a songwriting workshop at your event? Or a competition? These are they types of event that they will sponsor and perhaps enable you to get something good back.

Hope this helps

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: GUEST,Ballyholme
Date: 06 Aug 02 - 03:35 PM

I'm just wondering how well PRS looks after composers/writers. I hosted a weekly folk radio show for 15 years on independent radio and religiously reported every second of music I used. I know the royalty payments are comparitively small for local stations but I do wonder just how many writers got their dues.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Aug 02 - 06:40 AM

I have got mixed feelings about this. In Germany all venues have to have GEMA (our PRS) licences to play any recorded music - CD, tape, radio or TV. They need an additional second licence for live music. I'm a GEMA member and in the mid nineties I received a few thousand Marks. It could have been for live performances, but this seems unlikely. The payments were always for the first quarter of the year, so I suspect that someone took one of my drinking songs, translated it into dialect and had a small, local carnival hit with it. The problem with GEMA licences for live performances is that very few pub owners are willing to pay for them - even when they are obligatory. Live music is a risk for most of them and singer/songwriters (the most likely to profit from GEMA) are also the most likely to lose the establishment money anyway. When I started here there were pubs which would pay fees. Now there are virtually none which will even allow singer/songwriters to play for door money. I shamefacedly admit that this situation has partly been brought about by the greed of people by myself, who on occasion have sent in GEMA claims. I don't intend to do so any more because it is plainly a form of parasitism which has clearly damaged a generation of musicians.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 05:33 AM

I've been told that if an establishment has paid for a PEL, PRS is also included in that payment. If this is correct why didn't the PRS tell me, and in that case why do we have to pay more on top?


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 07:24 AM

Hi Mrs Lemon. Simple. Don't tell the PRS? all the best PP.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 10:18 AM

Whether or not you tell PRS, chances are that they will find you! Something that I hadn't realised is that, in the case of festivals, the PRS arrangement has recently changed. To quote from an email the South Riding Folk Network received from them a few days ago:

"Previously any festival events that were held within PRS licensed venues, were charged to that venue. This meant that, in many cases, royalties for events were collected and distributed at many different times over the year.
To resolve this situation, from 1 January 2002, we will [sic] be licensing the festival promoter direct for all events held within a festival, regardless of the licensed status of any venues used. As such, PRS will no longer invoice individual venues for festival performances."

This shifts responsibility from the venue to the event organiser; presumably PRS feel that they will attract more payments that way. It's a pity that they have left it so late to let us know; though it's a relatively simple issue in our case (a one-day festival back in May) we will still have the tedious job of contacting all the performers to see if any of them can remember what they played or sang. In past years, the venue (the local industrial museum which funds and co-promotes the event) has dealt with PRS so far as I know.

Yes, I know we should have kept a record at the time; how many people do, though, I wonder, unless specifically asked to? In fact, I can recall only one non-traditional piece surfacing all day in the area I was involved with that was not being performed by its writer, and that was sung by a member of the public, so to speak. I look forward (not) to seeing the form PRS are sending us...


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 11:32 AM

That recent change is indeed a worry, Malcolm. I wonder how many festivals will close because of it? Or how many people will not be able to afford to go with an increased ticket price? Silly really, isn't it. The people that are supposed to benefit - the songwriters - have less work and less pay as a direct result of the PRS. Wonder how many will work that one out? Guess I had better get the song lists for our performers this October then...

Anyone know how it works with singarounds that are 'fringe' events to the festival itself? Are they still licensed at venue level? Is it just the formal concerts/ceilidhs or whatever that are PRS licensed?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 05:48 PM

Sounds like one solution may lie in going to private places for sessions wherever possible! It's mad! And if the situation is anywhere near that in Germany, increased revenue will only benefit those who earn the lion's share of GEMA fees anyway. A few years back GEMA members voted in a new system which makes distribution even less fair than it used to be, and gives even more share to the high earners and even less to those who get along singing their own songs. (BTW, GEMA isn't interested in who is singing a song - even if it's the author, if he or she is a GEMA member the place gets billed - which makes sense! So some artists I know don't list the songs they actually sang but hand in the same list of their own stuff every time.)


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 10 Aug 02 - 06:58 PM

DtG writes "On reflection however I cannot think of a fairer way to ensure that the songwriters do get their share."

I can only concur. Our hotel pays a PRS licence (for playing CD's over the PA system ) and I had a phone call yesterday to say they are sending a "researcher" up in September to check the songlists for the live music sessions we will be holding from mid-August onwards.

I have no problem with that. It isn't going to cost us any extra money, so what I shall probably do is, as well as listing authored songs by their correct author, attribute authorship of "trad" or "anon" songs to the songwriters I like the best.

So the list will be something like
1 "Lakes of Pontchartrain" author Martin Simpson
2 "Star of the County Down" author Harvey Andrews
3 "Bonnie Glenshee" author Janis Ian
etc. etc.

Murray


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 01:16 AM

In order to collect royalties, a songwriter must be a member of the PRS. I have been a songwriter member of the PRS since 1979. We recently had a PRS rep visit the folk club, handing out leaflets to our songwriters. She insisted she wasn't recruiting, just giving out info. However, I was appalled to learn that, while when I joined the membershop was free - now it costs a songwriter £100 to join. So not only do lesser-known member songwriters lose out through programmes not being submitted to the PRS, many of them won't even be able to afford to join in the first place! I should point out that, in order to join, a songwriter these days has to have a commercial recording behind them (back when I joined, it was sufficient to have your songs sung live in public). It seems that the PRS are moving further and further away from "grassroots".

Joan


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 07:04 AM

Thank's for the thought Murray, but ti won't work! We writers have to submit our song titles for registration with the PRS and as I didn't write "County Down" I wouldn't get a farthing. However, if you would like a list of some songs I have written and registered.....No, only joking. It's a curse being an honest man!!


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: pavane
Date: 11 Aug 02 - 10:06 AM

Just like every walk of life, entry barriers are being raised. Then the government claims a shortage of expertise and issues fast-track work permits to non-EC workers. But I suppose that's thread creep.

Another catch-22 though. You need industry experience in order to get into the industry!


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: fogie
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 07:16 AM

Oh my Gawd, this is getting complicated. Bang goes the band turning up and playing what seems right at the time. Now we ought to keep to an agreed tune list. By the way what constitutes a changed tune??? different arrangements? A few different notes ? Can we change a lyric or two to bypass this regulation??


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: nutty
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 07:19 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Trevor
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 07:58 AM

So, at our festival, which is in essence a series of sessions - the only paid performers and the only entry fee was for the dance on Saturday night - are we supposed to make a note of everything played or sung in the pub seshes and then tell PRS so that they can tell us how much of it was not public domain and give us a bill? I suppose if we want to keep our costs down to make best use of our lotery and local authority funding, we could have a steward in each session whose job it is to stop anybody if they start to sing something other than public domain. I suppose PRS could provide us with a list.

And should somebody also be doing this for our normal sessions in the local pubs?

And who is the 'organiser'? Is it the person whose name appears as the contact for the session in the listings mag, or is it the licensee who is hosting the session?


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: treewind
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 08:06 AM

Fogie, you can play whatever you like, as long as you fill in the form afterward to say what you did and who wrote it.

I've only been asked to do that once, for a ceilidh of all things. We just put "all tunes traditional arranged by " which was near enough the truth.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: pavane
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 08:38 AM

So what about those traditional songs (or tunes) whose authorship has been claimed by more recent writers, who may be PRS members?

I am sure some examples can be found in the threads (e.g. Will ye go, lassie which I seem to remember is aka Balquidders Braes written in the 1790's)

Lots of Bob Dylan's early songs fall into this category as well!


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 06:00 AM

So the answer is to stop playing music altogether. Let's have a 'No music' Day and let the PRS catch up with all their backlog....they must have one!

Thinks: if we stop making music altogther, they'll be out of work!


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 09:33 AM

I was given a PRS form with my artist's season tickets at Chippenham and Sidmouth, and I entered the song titles I sang at programmed events (including trad). But the idea of obtaining and completing forms for singing informally and unpaid just sounds like part of the PEL bureaucratic nightmare.

I usually keep a note of what I've sung to avoid excessive repeats, but with luck I won't be able to remember what I've sung in the pubs in Whitby....


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: Alio
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 11:00 AM

Sorry Harvey! I call myself to be a (reasonably) intelligent person, but it's taking me a lot more than a "few minutes" to understand the PRS form for our festival (Saddleworth), never mind fill the damn thing in! And the practicalities of trying to identify all the singers and the songs is not easy when you've run a festival over several venues. I'm hoping that if I leave it on the office desk long enough it will disappear into the black hole that it came from!


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: nutty
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:10 PM

What happens in the case of singer/songwriters at a festival??
Do you send in a PRS form so that they can be payed royalties on songs that you have already payed them to sing??


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: harvey andrews
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 02:15 PM

Yes Nutty.When I perform my own songs in a concert hall, arts centre, festival etc I fill in a PRS form and the share of the gate money that goes to PRS for that performance should end in my bank account rather than Elton John's. I can assure you it's not a great sum. If a song doesn't make it to the charts, no matter how popular it is on the folk scene it will earn pennies.It's impossible without hours of accounting to work out what percentage is radio play and what live, but if I say that my most played song has not earned me £2000 in PRS in 21 years you get some idea of what the folk scene brings in terms of reward for writers. One TV theme tune for a childrens series earned me much, much more in one showing than that folk club favourite in all those years. I don't want to make my personal circumstances part of the debate but as a long time pro I post to Mudcat so that I can help those who aren't pros understand our feelings on certain matters. I hope my postings are taken in that spirit and that they offer some insight.


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: GUEST,Miss Emily Latella
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 03:51 PM


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: GUEST,Miss Emily Latella
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 03:54 PM

I think the PRS is a very nice electric guitar. Isn't that what that sweet Carlos Santana plays? But I don't understand - I thought you folkie types played those Martins and such.

Thank You


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Subject: RE: So what do you think of the PRS? (UK)
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 08:18 AM

????? #%-o

Alio: I'm afraid the PRS won't leave you alone if you don't send it. Their like terriers after a rat (or should I say 'Cat?)

Sal


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