9 December 2015
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on 20 November that it will be reviewing the undertakings given by PRS to its predecessor, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC), in 1997. It has today published an issues statement on its website.
The CMA’s decision to review the PRS’s undertakings is part of its wider review of the 76 existing market remedies that were put in place by the CMA’s predecessors prior to 2005, the key purpose of which is to reduce burdens on business by assessing whether any existing market remedies are no longer necessary. This systematic review forms part of the CMA’s Annual Plan for 2015/2016.
The CMA sought views on 13 market remedies in July, including PRS’s undertakings; and we responded to say that we supported and welcomed the review. Anyone involved in this industry will clearly recognise the extensive changes that have taken place over the last 20 years both in the external environment and within PRS – these changes have also been recognised by the CMA in their press release, which expressly refers to the online market and the implementation of the CRM Directive. We therefore agree with the CMA’s decision to assess whether our undertakings are still fit for purpose in this day and age, or whether it would be preferable to amend or remove any undertakings which are no longer deemed to be relevant or necessary.
The CMA is conducting a very targeted review of PRS’s activities: in its own words, “This review will only be considering whether there are changes of circumstances relevant to the undertakings such that they should be varied, released or retained - it is not examining wider issues relating to the PRS or performing rights in general”. PRS is not being investigated in any way by the CMA. We look forward to cooperating with and providing any assistance required to the CMA.
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.
PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.