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The Issue 

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) representing over 300 record companies

The Digital Service Providers (DSPs) AOL, Apple iTunes, MusicNet, Napster, RealNetworks, Sony Connect and Yahoo; and

The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) 02, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodaphone



UK songwriters and composers

The future royalty earnings of UK songwriters and composers - the creators of music – are under threat.


The MCPS-PRS Alliance Joint Online Licence (JOL) is the subject of legal proceedings. The JOL has been referred to the UK Copyright Tribunal by the BPI and a consortium of Digital Service Providers (DSPs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The objection is to the rate at which the Alliance licenses its 44,000 members’ works for use or sale online.


Since 2002 music creators, via the MCPS-PRS Alliance, have facilitated the growth of the legal online music market by providing online services with an inclusive licence to operate a number of business models to suit their needs – downloading, streaming, webcasting - through the Joint Online Licence. To further help the growth of this market, the creators and music publishers have supported this licence being issued at 8% of gross revenues – discounted from the headline 12% rate.


The BPI, DSPs and MNOs claim that 12% - and even the current 8% - is an unreasonable portion for the creator from online music sales and would like to see the amount reduced. At 8%, the creators earn 5-6p from a 79p download. At 12%, they would earn 8-9p. In the physical world, creators earn about 8p a track from the sale of a CD. So 12% would only bring about parity between the online and physical worlds.

Press contacts

PRS for Music
2 Pancras Square
T: +44 (0)20 3741 4777
E: press@prsformusic.com

Press Office Staff:
Emma Anderson

Kimberly Tan

Please note these contacts are for press enquiries only. If you have a general enquiry call the Switchboard on

020 7580 5544 

or visit Contact Us to find the number you need.

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