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Retail Tariff Consultation FAQs 

What are you announcing today?

We are announcing a consultation process on the PRS for Music Retail Tariff.

What is the purpose of this consultation?

PRS for Music is running a consultation on the terms of a new Retail tariff, reflecting our effort to simplify how we license this sector. We have recently embarked on an extensive programme to review and simplify our 44 public performance tariffs. The aim of this project is to create tariffs that are easy to understand as well as simple to purchase and manage. The driving principals of the new tariffs are to understand our customer’s music usage; deliver tariffs which are fair, simple to acquire and manage and; remain cost neutral for the customer base as a whole.

How have you approached this consultation?

PRS for Music has a long history of undertaking consultations on key issues that impact on its members. On this specific consultation we have thus far worked with British Retail Consortium, Federation of Small Business, Booksellers Association, the Association of Convenient Stores and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents in developing proposals that promote simplicity and transparency for both our customers and members. All our consultations are undertaken in line with our published Code of Conduct.

What does the PRS for Music Retail Tariff cover?

The tariff covers the charges we make for the performance of copyright music for the use of background music and In-Store Events controlled by PRS for Music, at any Shop, Department Store, Newsagent, Supermarket, Shopping Mall or similar establishment. You can see what is covered in the proposed tariff at www.prsformusic.com/retailconsultation

How do people take part?

For relevant licensee stakeholders, they should go to www.prsformusic.com/retailconsultation to download the relevant details and questionnaire. All relevant parties are also being contacted directly via email.

Where can I find the current tariffs applicable to the Retail Sector?

To view our current RS, GP & HR tariffs, please visit the following webpages:

What happens to the licence fees collected under the Retail tariff?

PRS for Music distributions are normally made four times a year, in April, July, October and December. We aim to include payments in the second quarterly distribution after the event has taken place. For example revenue from a May concert would be included in the October distribution.

Details of our distribution cycle here

How does PRS for Music distribute the royalties to its members under the Retail tariff?

There are a number of methods to track the music being played in different environments that allows us to distribute as accurately and efficiently as possible, including surveys on businesses and tracking radio play.

View our Distribution policy

What is the difference between PRS for Music and PPL?

Whilst PRS for Music collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers, PPL represents the rights of performers and record companies.

Why are you looking to consult with your customers as they approach the busiest time of the year?

We have been in discussions with our trade bodies who have identified this as an appropriate time to conduct this consultation.

Will PRS for Music continue to license music in Charity shops?

Yes, the proposed tariff will apply to the shop area and Tariff I will apply to staff areas that are not considered a staff canteen or rest room. The charity have the option to provide a reasonable estimate of the average number of employees and only the total number of hours that music is available in staff only areas (excluding canteens and rest rooms). This concession has been made due to the high number of volunteers, working on voluntary and varying shift basis. Where the only use of music in a charity shop is a brief check to ensure that donated CDs or tapes are in good working order, PRS for Music, at its discretion, does not charge a licence fee.

What is the ‘Working Order Check’?

It is at the discretion of PRS for Music that a licence fee shall not be required where the only use of music is for very short periods of time to demonstrate a device is in working order. For example: a musical instrument (in a musical instrument shop) or a repaired device (in a repair shop).

“I only use my TV and/or Radio for the news”

News programmes/channels use more music than people realise such as: opening and closing titles and music beds under reports. In addition, there may be music used within the sound bed of a commercial break which contain music written by our members. All broadcast news channels PRS for Music are aware of contain copyright music content, and accordingly a licence is required.

What music for staff is covered?

For shops and stores that have 4 or fewer employees the proposed background music charge will also cover music in all areas available to staff, including stock rooms and back offices. For premises with 5 or more employees only the staff canteens and rest rooms will be included in the background music charge. Any offices and/or stock rooms will need the relevant PRS for Music tariff, Tariff I – Music in the Workplace.

Do I need to pay extra for staff training films?

If the ‘Core’ charge of background music is purchased than all staff training films are included. Customers without a ‘Core’ charge for background music will be required to obtain a licence for any training films they perform, this will be subject to the minimum charge.

Detailed list of premises included – markets, galleries, pottery cafes

The proposed tariff will be applicable to all retail premises including, but not limited to; high-street shops, newsagents, department stores, bookshops, markets, galleries (where the art is for sale), pottery cafes, supermarkets, shopping centres and malls, bakeries, showrooms and garden nurseries Food shops that have a small seating area will be included in the proposed retail tariff, but restaurants that also sell their products will continue to be licensed under PRS for Music’s applicable tariffs.

What is considered an ‘In-Store Event’?

An In-store event is a performance at events associated with the retail activities of the premises such as fashion shows, Christmas shows, live and DJ performances. These events are defined as free of charge, open to the general public and do not require a ticket or advance booking, with the exclusion of promotional events that are invitation only (for example; store loyalty card holders).

Can you tell me what collective licensing is?

It is important, that wherever possible, our customers have an easy, efficient and transparent experience in obtaining a music licence. PRS for Music is dedicated to improving the experience and this is also something we want to achieve from the consultation. The value of collective licensing lies in PRS for Music’s ability to operate as one stop shop. We license over 14 million songs/compositions, we represent over 118,000 members in the UK and many millions more worldwide. We license approximately 350,000 establishments and in addition thousands of broadcast outlets. If PRS for Music didn’t exist all these parties would have to negotiate individually for the use of these compositions.

I don’t want to pay for a licence, because how do I know it’s going to the songwriter?

PRS for Music represents songwriters, composers and music publishers, and collects royalties on their behalf whenever their music is publicly performed. We distribute royalties to our PRS members four times a year; in April, July, October and December. View more information.

I’m a struggling business and your fees are adding extra financial pressures, why should I pay?

When a music-creator becomes a member of PRS for Music, they give us exclusive permission to license the public performance of their works. Therefore, you can’t get a licence to play those works from anyone else. Studies have shown that music can provide many benefits when used effectively in a business. Music in shops, stores and shopping centres plays an important part in the overall experience. It helps create the right atmosphere for your customers, and has a positive impact on staff morale and productivity.

Read more about the benefits of music in the workplace/retail.

Within the UK, everyone is required to comply with copyright law (as defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988). A Music Licence grants you the legal permission to play millions of songs, saving you the time and money needed to gain permission from the music creators directly.

When is the minimum charge applicable?

The minimum charge of £50 is applicable if a customer does not require the ‘core’ background music charge but only uses music in the “bolt on” category. Where the bolt on charges exceed the £50 minimum charge will be offset against the final total.

What will happen next?

We intend to review all responses thoroughly and maintain an open dialogue with respondents in the hope of arriving at a satisfactory solution for all parties.

Will you be publishing the findings of the consultation?

Yes. We intend to publish the findings of the consultation subject to any confidentiality provisions as detailed within the questionnaire.

When will the simplified tariff be implemented?

It is hoped that with a successful outcome from the consultation that PRS for Music will be in a position to launch the new simplified Retail tariff in conjunction with PPL and the proposed Joint Venture platform in 2017.

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