PRS membership categories

There are three categories of PRS membership:

  1. Standard
  2. Voting
  3. Principal Voting

These categories determine the member’s right to attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting and the number of votes to which they are entitled, as detailed in the following table. The categories also determine a member’s eligibility to stand for appointment or re-appointment to the PRS Board and to nominate another member to stand.

* if meeting criteria under 'Additional voting rights of Principal Voting membership'  
Standard Voting Principal Voting
Access to Annual Report & Accounts Yes Yes Yes
Attend Annual General Meetings No Yes Yes
One vote on a show of hands No Yes Yes
One vote on a poll or postal ballot No Yes No
Ten votes on a poll or postal ballot No No Yes
An additional 10 votes on a poll or postal ballot No No Yes*
To nominate or be nominated for the PRS board No No Yes

A member’s category is determined by their length of membership, their PRS royalty earnings and the extent to which these earnings meet, or exceed, set financial thresholds. All new members are admitted as Standard members but a member may qualify for promotion to Voting or Principal Voting membership in a future year as a result of the annual promotion process which is overseen by the PRS Board.  A member who has been promoted to Voting membership may be promoted to Principal Voting in a future year. 

The thresholds which determine qualification for Voting and Principal Voting membership are set by the PRS Board and approved by the membership in a general meeting. Up until 2018, each threshold was calculated by reference to a percentage of total payments to members in the previous financial year/s. Following a detailed review which considered the impact of the increase in PRS distributions in recent years on a member’s ability to meet or exceed the thresholds, members agreed at the 2018 AGM that, with effect from the 2019 promotion process, the threshold amounts should be fixed and adjusted annually by the percentage change in RPI (retail price index) published in December for the previous year.

Standard membership

New members and members whose earnings do not meet the qualifying criteria for promotion to Voting or Principal Voting member status are known as Standard members.

Voting membership

Promotion to Voting membership is granted on the basis of total royalties generated by the member’s works in the previous one to three year period. If at any time during that period the Standard member was a member of an affiliated society, the total will include royalties paid by PRS to the affiliate. To become a Voting member, a writer or publisher must have been a member of PRS or an affiliated society for no less than one year. The current thresholds (to the nearest £1) are:

Writers

Publishers
£1,288
£6,439

All successor members join as Voting members.

Principal Voting membership

Principal Voting membership is granted in perpetuity if a member’s total royalty earnings reach a higher royalty threshold in two of PRS’ three preceding financial years, including royalties collected by PRS and passed on to an affiliated society for distribution.

The threshold (to the nearest £1) is detailed below. A member’s earnings would need to reach the threshold listed in 2018 and either 2016 or 2017 as well:

Financial Threshold 
Writers £9,015
Publishers and successors  £45,073

Additional voting rights of Principal Voting membership

A Principal Voting member will be eligible for an additional 10 votes in a poll or postal ballot if the member’s total royalty earnings reach a higher threshold linked to the date of their admission to membership as detailed in the following table. The eligibility of a member for additional votes is certified on an annual basis.

 
Admission on or before 1 Jan 1999

(aggregate receipts for period 1 Jan 1999 to 31 Dec 2018)
Admission on or before 1 Jan 2017

(aggregate receipts for period 1 Jan 2017 to 31 Dec 2018)
Writers £90,150 £180,300
Publishers and successors £450,730 £901,460