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Help with joining as a member

If you're looking to join PRS or MCPS as a writer or publisher or both, find the answers to your common queries here.

You can join PRS for Music from anywhere in the world - it doesn't matter where you're based. 

Simply follow the application process and we'll let you know of any extra documentation we might need as you complete the form.

Which organisation you should join depends on the way your music is used.  

  • Join PRS when your music is either broadcast on TV/radio/online or performed live.
  • Join MCPS when your music is released by a record company, downloaded or reproduced onto a CD, DVD or LP.

We recommend you join PRS and MCPS if both sets of criteria apply to your works or catalogues.  

Join

If you're a writer

There's a one-off membership fee of £100 to join PRS. There's a further one-off fee of £100 to join MCPS too, but you should only consider joining if your music is being released on a CD, DVD, LP or is being downloaded online.

See where that fee goes

If you're a publisher

There's a one-off fee of £400 to join PRS for broadcast, online and live performances. If your catalogue is being reproduced, copied or downloaded, we recommend you join MCPS too, for an additional one-off fee for £400.

More on the right membership for you

You can join PRS to represent your rights for certain territories, while your current society represents you elsewhere.

But please make sure you contact your existing society first. They may need to modify your agreement before you join PRS.

As part of our joining process you can choose which countries to exclude from our agreement. So you would simply need to select the countries covered by your existing society. 

Your application should typically take between five and seven days to complete once we've received your documentation.

If you join PRS, your official membership start date will differ from the date your application is accepted. If you were accepted between the 1 January and the 30 June, your official start is 1 January. If however you join between the 1 July and the 31 December, your official start is 1 July.

If you join MCPS, your official start date is when your application is successfully processed.

You can earn royalties for uses of your registered works from your official start date onwards. 

If you're in a band, any of your fellow members who contribute to the composition of your works should also join. This is so everyone with a writing credit can be paid their fair share of the royalties.

Your Mandates

When you become an MCPS member, you give MCPS authority to license your music/catalogue and then to collect and distribute royalties to you.

When applying, you can choose to exclude some categories of music use from the mandate you give MCPS.

For theatrical motion pictures, TV advertisements, radio adverts and TV programmes, you have three options:

  • MCPS Only: MCPS will license all music use on your behalf. Our licensing teams can work to get the best possible royalty rates for members and deal with all invoicing and credit control activities.
  • Member Only: potential music users will need to contact you directly to license the use of your work. Some members prefer this for specific categories of music use to keep full control of how their music is used, particularly where they have the resources to negotiate and license directly.
  • MCPS on First Call: MCPS can license music use if the licensee contacts us first (still asking members for approval). If the licensee contacts the member, they have the option to either license directly or pass the request to MCPS.

While you’ll choose options when first applying, you can change these in future – there’s a three-month notice period.

There are also mandates for the following, where the options are MCPS Only or Member Only:

All other non-retail sound bearing copies – this includes a wide range of schemes for products not typically sold by retailers.

For example: products for promotional use, the manufacture and distribution of DJ mix compilations, physical products for schools and churches, videographers and amateur groups. This category also includes specialist music products, background music for an exhibition and background music services. Licensing for small business owners who want to copy music for a very specific purpose, e.g. fitness instructors & DJ’s is also included in this category.

Premiums - products used for marketing promotions as an incentive to acquire other products or services - e.g. a free CD given to anyone test driving a car.

Digital memory devices – products for storage of digital data which are supplied with some part (but not all) of that storage capacity pre-loaded with music content, but excluding any product which falls under any other licence or specific scheme (e.g. one of the AP schemes).

Novelties – toys, gifts and other products which include a musical chip and are available for retail sale to the public.

Music quiz games – music quiz games available for retail sale to the public.

Non-core Covermounts – music used on free CDs and other products included with a magazine or newspaper for sale to the public in the UK. The ability to opt-out relates to the relevant works on any covermount product for which a single member of MCPS controls 50% or more of the works on the product.

Non-Core Karaoke – the use of music and graphic lyrics in karaoke products made in the UK, for sale to the public. The non-core element and ability to opt-out relates to the relevant works on any karaoke product for which a single member of MCPS controls 50% or more of the works on the product.

Non-Core Exhibitions – recordings made for use in public exhibitions. The ability to opt-out relates to the relevant works within an exhibition for which a single member of MCPS controls 50% or more of the works in the exhibition.

Your Annexes to Membership Agreement MA2

There are also annexes to your agreement with MCPS that you can include where we will then include these rights for us to represent as part of your membership. You can choose to exclude any of these, and if you’d like more detail, you can read the full Membership Agreement (MA2) and Annexes here.

Rental and Lending Annex – the right to make copies of physical product(s) with the intent to rent and lend and issue to hire.

Multimedia Annex – the right to use your work/catalogue in optical media, including all interactive music-based products, feature films, karaoke, games, training and educational products, and informational and biographical products.

Online Annex – the right to use your work/catalogue in content that is made available in the online environment where it involves the reproduction of copyright musical works.

You can view the latest copy of our rules and regulations easily online. They make up part of the contract between us and our members. 

Any changes to the rules or creation of regulations by the PRS Board are voted on in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) by members.  

Join

After you've submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email with details about what to expect and when. If you haven't, please check your mailbox's junk folder first. If there's nothing in there, please get in touch with admissions@prsformusic.com so we can investigate.

MCPS is the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society, which collects royalties for works that are released by a record company, downloaded or reproduced onto a CD, DVD or LP. You may need to consider joining MCPS if your works are used this way.

More on MCPS

Your PRS membership will begin on either the 1 January or 1 July, whichever is the closest date before your application was submitted. For example, if you applied in September, your start date will be 1 July. If you applied in June, your start date will be 1 January. 

If you've joined the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), your membership starts on the date that your application was accepted.

You can claim royalties for any performances or music usage from your start date onwards. Unfortunately, we are legally unable to collect money on your behalf from before your official start date. 

PRS for Music is made up of both PRS and MCPS. Both exist to ensure writers and publishers are paid fairly for their work, but they devote their time to different parts of the industry.  

MCPS collects and distributes mechanical royalties on behalf of their members. This includes works that are:

  • commercially released by a record company on a CD, DVD or LP
  • recorded and used by a radio or TV programme
  • recorded and used for an audiovisual or multimedia production
  • used online

PRS, on the other hand, collects and pays out performing royalties when works are:

  • performed live
  • broadcast on TV or radio
  • played in public
  • streamed online
  • used in film

PRS distributes these royalties four times a year, whereas MCPS makes distributions every month.

More on the royalties collected by PRS and MCPS

The PRS Code of Conduct covers the service you can expect from us across the entire business. We wrote it using input and feedback from selections of the members we represent and the organisations we do business with. For details of any complaints and more information, see the Code of Conduct page.


If you're a writer

We recommend you join once your projected annual royalties exceeds the membership fee, which is currently a one-off admission fee of £100. For more information, see what £100 in royalties looks like in terms of radio play, TV play and live performances. 

If you're a publisher

You'll need at least 15 works that are being broadcast on radio or TV, used online or performed live in your catalogue.

More on publisher membership

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