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PRS for Music opens dialogue with Bermuda businesses and musicians 

17 December 2013 

Visit with Bermuda businesses identifies wide appreciation for music

Bermuda flag 

PRS for Music, the organisation that represents over 100,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, is listening to a wider group of businesses and musicians after a recent trip to Bermuda.

By law, businesses such as radio broadcasters, hotels, bars and clubs must first obtain permission from the owner of every piece of music that they intend to play. This means potentially having to contact thousands of songwriters, composers and music publishers worldwide to obtain their agreement. PRS for Music was established to simplify this process and provide businesses with a licence that allows them to legitimately use music.

Copyright law exists to protect the work of songwriters whose music is enjoyed the world over. PRS for Music is part of a network of affiliate organisations that work across 150 territories globally to ensure its members receive the royalties they are rightfully due. 

International Licensing Managers Jackie Church and Ryan Homes spent a week in Hamilton, Bermuda from 25th – 29th November to meet with government officials, hoteliers, restaurateurs, broadcasters, concert promoters and representatives from The Bermuda Music Users' Group. They also met the Chewstick Foundation and the Musicians Federation to explain the benefits of PRS for Music membership to Bermudian songwriters.


Jackie Church, Head of International Licensing, said: "We know that music is an important part of Bermudian culture and is core to many businesses like broadcasting, events and hospitality. We believe it’s only fair that songwriters are respected and can share in the benefits their music brings to such businesses.

"It’s been a valuable experience to spend time with businesses and musicians to clear up any misconceptions and ensure clarity about the importance of music licensing in Bermuda. We were also delighted to meet Bermudian songwriters – both established and new. Some of these already receive royalties from the global music community through PRS for Music and we look forward to more Bermudian songwriters joining us. We are continuing a dialogue with representatives in Bermuda to ensure we properly understand concerns and work to address them."

If Bermudian businesses have any concerns or issues they would like to discuss they can get in touch on 1-877-457-0079 (toll free) or email bermuda@prsformusic.com.

Notes to Editors:

For more information, visit:

Contact: Olivia Chapman, Media Relations Manager
olivia.chapman@prsformusic.com / +44 (0)207 306 4229

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 100,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.  As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced. PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914. 

PRS for Music provides music using organisations with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences.  In an industry worth £3.8bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £630.8m in 2011 PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With 150 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music’s network represents over 2 million music creators. 
www.prsformusic.com  / www.m-magazine.co.uk


What is a Music Licence?

When a song or piece of music is written, the person who wrote it owns the copyright and therefore has the right to decide how and when it should be played.  Music is then released to the public, allowing individuals to purchase a song which they can play at home. However, if an individual then wishes to play that song to a wider group of people (for example on their business or organisation’s premises) it is classed as a ‘public performance’. If you want to make a ‘public performance’ you must first seek permission from the copyright owner of that song before you do so. This permission is known as a Music Licence.

Why do you need a Music Licence?

The Copyright and Designs Act 2004 says that if you play music in your business or want to include it in your product you need clearance to do so from the owners of that music. PRS for Music represents the owners and can get you the clearances you need. We are membership organisation of songwriters, composers and music publishers, enabling you access to the world's music in the most efficient way.

What is a ‘public performance’?

Music is performed ‘in public’ when it is performed outside the domestic circle or home life.  This includes music performances in premises such as an office or staff canteen, as well as concert halls and shops.

Who has to have a Music Licence?

Any location or premises, outside of home, where music is played. The owner/proprietor of the premises is normally responsible for obtaining a Music Licence for the public performance of copyright music.

If you have any questions about this you can contact us by phone between 10am and 1pm on 1-877-457-0079 (toll free) or email us at bermuda@prsformusic.com.

Why is PRS for Music licensing businesses in Bermuda?

As well as its UK operations, PRS for Music is also appointed to operate in selected countries around the world, usually former or current British overseas territories.

Where can I go to verify the need for a Music Licence?

If you would like to verify the need for a licence please contact the Registry General (www.gov.bm).

I only play the radio, isn’t this already covered by the radio and TV station's licence with PRS for Music?

We are sometimes asked why a music licence is needed to cover music played via TV or radio in a business premises given that radio and TV broadcasters are also required to obtain a Music Licence.  It should be made clear that these are two different licensing requirements which cover very different activities.

The Copyright and Designs Act 2004 requires radio and TV service operators to obtain permission from the copyright holder to cover the broadcast of music. This covers the activity taking place when music is disseminated through the airwaves or otherwise by a broadcaster to many homes and other places throughout Bermuda.

Our licences with broadcasters do not cover playing in public in restaurants or bars for instance.  This is a separate requirement and copyright law stipulates permission is required to play or perform music in public in a business premises – irrespective of the type of device used.

What does PRS for Music do with the money it collects in Bermuda?

PRS for Music pays the royalties collected to its writer, composer and music publisher members. It only deducts a small administration/commission fee to cover operating costs.

We have agreements with societies all around the world covering millions of music creators. This means we send our affiliates royalties whenever their members’ musical works are licensed and played in the territories we look after, this includes Bermuda.

Bermudian songwriter members are able to receive royalties from PRS for Music directly or via its affiliates (for example BMI, ASCAP, SESAC) and our aim is to ensure the songwriters of the music we represent get the royalties they are rightfully due.

If you are a songwriter and would like more information on becoming a member please visit www.prsformusic.com/joinus

What does PRS for Music do for its members?

PRS for Music is a membership society. Music creators – writers, composers, publishers – join PRS for Music and give us permission to license to use of their music. PRS for Music issues licences on their behalf to premises and events all over the UK.

All licence fees collected from music users are distributed as royalty payments to our 100,000 members and to our affiliated societies worldwide.  PRS for Music only deducts its administration costs. Many of our members are small businesses who rely on their income from royalties.

What does PRS for Music do for the music users?

Music users require permission from the rights holder of every piece of music they want to play.  Collecting societies, like PRS for Music, exist to simplify the arrangement between the millions of music-users who require permission and the music creators who can provide a licence.

By obtaining a Music Licence and paying the appropriate fee, a music user can legally use any copyright music that PRS for Music controls – which means just about all the copyright music in the world.

I am a songwriter/composer in Bermuda, how do I join?

If you are a songwriter and would like more information on becoming a member please visit www.prsformusic.com/joinus.

Contact us

Press Enquiries

Coral Williamson
Communications Executive

Stefania Pavlou
Communications Manager, Media Relations

+44 (0)20 3741 4777

Marketing Enquiries

Ben Dancer
Marketing Executive


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