Help with my royalties
We want to solve any problems with straightforward explanations and easy ways for you to get them sorted.
Whether you need help with checking your royalty payments or registering and amending your works, the below information will help guide you through most actions to do with royalties.
Help with royalty payments
PRS pay performing royalties to members through four main distributions each year: in April, July, October and December. MCPS mechanical royalties go out each month.
To check which month you'll be paid in based on when your music was performed, see our distribution schedule.
If your music was performed overseas, you should check the overseas schedule.
You should receive a statement whenever a payment is made to your bank account. Please do log in and raise a query if this hasn't happened.
We can only pay out PRS royalties from your official start date.
Having two effective start dates means if you joined before July you can get paid for music used from January onwards in the same calendar year. If you joined before the new year in January, you can receive royalties for performances from July onwards.
You may be missing royalties for a number of reasons. Follow the checklists below to understand why and to find out what to do next.
If you're a writer or publisher
- Are you likely to have earned over £30 in royalties (or £60 if your royalties are paid into an overseas bank account)? We have a £30 minimum threshold on royalty payments to UK bank or building society accounts and a £60 minimum threshold for overseas accounts. Royalty payments falling below these thresholds are retained until the threshold is reached, and are then paid out at the next scheduled distribution. Once a year, in the October main distribution, we lower the threshold to £1.
- Check your bank details are up to date.
- When was your work used? Check the distribution schedule and the latest distribution update to see if those dates are yet to be paid out. Royalties from overseas performances can take a little longer, so check the overseas schedule too, if it applies.
- Are all your works registered? We can only pay out for works you’ve registered.
- Have you checked the unpaid files? These are royalties we haven’t yet been able to match up to our rightsholders.
- Have you checked the cue sheets? These document works used in film or TV, so you can see if your work was included and when you’re likely to be paid.
- Make a claim for music usage to provide us with more details so we can investigate.
If you're still sure you're missing money, please let our Member Services team know through raise a query. If you're not already logged in, you'll be prompted to do so.
If you work for a society
- When was your work used? Check the distribution schedule to see if those dates are yet to be paid out.
- Are the works registered? Search our database to find out and if not, send us the works details.
- Have you checked the unpaid files? These are royalties we haven’t yet been able to match up to rightsholders.
- Have you checked the cue sheets?
- Make a claim for music usage to provide us with more details so we can investigate
If you've not been paid, but your co-writer has, there are a few things to check before getting in touch.
Could your co-writer have been paid royalties for other works you weren't involved in? It's possible that the music you wrote together didn't meet our £30 minimum distribution threshold and they're simply being paid for works in their repertoire.
Different start dates
Ask your co-writer about their start date. Your official start date is 1 January if your membership was accepted between 1 January and 30 June. It's 1 July if your membership was accepted between 1 July and 31 December.
You can't be paid for performances of your music before you were a member. So if your start date is 1 July and your co-writer's is 1 January, they may be receiving royalties for performances prior to July.
Check your shares
Be sure to check your share splits in the work details. This will show you how much we've been informed to pay out to each interested party for performing and mechanical royalties. Your co-writer may have a higher share split than you. If this is different to the amount you agreed with them, find out how to contest it.
If you still can't work out why you've been paid less than your co-writer. Please get in touch by raising a query. If you're not already logged-in, you'll be directed to the login page first.
What should I do if I don't recognise a work I've received royalties for?
If you've been paid for a work you don't recognise, please log in and raise a query with our Member Services team. Be sure to include the relevant information for the mystery work.
What should I do if I don't recognise a work one of my members has been paid for?
If one of your members has been paid for a work they or you don't recognise, please log in and raise a query. Be sure to leave the details of any unfamiliar works.
When a member of PRS dies, we will continue to collect their royalties for up to seven years. If an official successor is appointed within this period we will continue to collect royalties for the duration of that successor membership or, if shorter, the life of copyright.
This does not apply to MCPS - when a member of MCPS dies, we will no longer be able to collect their royalties until a successor member is appointed, after which we will continue to collect royalties for the duration of that successor membership or, if shorter, the life of copyright. Royalty payments will be put on hold until we have established who these should be paid to.
If you'd like us to guide you through the successor membership details, give us a call on +44 (0) 20 3741 4848. Phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Help with collecting and calculating royalties
The method for calculating and collecting royalties largely depends on where your music was used. Check out the following pages for the particular royalties that interest you:
PRS performing royalties
- Cinema royalties
- DJ royalties
- Live performance royalties
- Music played in public royalties
- Online royalties
- Overseas royalties
- Radio royalties
- Theatre royalties and grand rights
- TV royalties
MCPS mechanical royalties
- Broadcasting royalties
- General interest audio products royalties
- General interest audiovisual product royalties
- Music audio product royalties
- Music audiovisual product royalties
- Online and mobile product royalties
Who collects the royalties from iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud or Youtube?
Responsibility for collecting royalties from digital service providers depends on who publishes the particular rights.
You can see who licenses and administers rights for iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube by visiting our page that explains the flow of online royalties.
How do you calculate royalties from radio?
We're always trying to make royalty calculation as accurate as possible. Here's how we calculate them at the moment for radio:
We have licensing agreements with radio stations, but it largely depends on how long your music was played for and which station.
Many stations report every piece of music they play so we can collect royalties per minute of broadcast. However, sometimes it isn’t cost-effective to report and collect for every play.
For some stations, we track the music that’s played on sample days. We estimate playing time by multiplying the information we receive from these days.
If you're logged in, take a look at the royalty rates and sample day data.
If sample days aren’t possible, we use a method called research and analogy. We look at what’s played for a short period of time to find a fit with a radio station we have tracked. We can then apply the analogous station’s play data to calculate royalties.
We follow the same process as radio play. Royalties are collected through licensing agreements that we have with each broadcaster and production company.
How do you calculate royalties from online?
We're always trying to make royalty calculation as accurate as possible. Here's how we calculate them at the moment for online:
Your royalty amount will depend on where your work is streamed and how many times it is streamed. Royalties are collected through confidential licensing agreements with digital service providers such as Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Tidal.
We have worked with digital service providers over the past few years to improve royalty deals for our members. Although the royalty rate for each stream is small, music makers are beginning to see a better return on their music use through streaming services.
Exact royalty rates are confidential as part of the agreements with these providers.
Any YouTube video that uses your work needs to be flagged as ‘monetised’ in the YouTube system for rightsholders to be able to collect royalties.
Publishing royalties are collected from YouTube under a number of different pan-European licensing agreements between YouTube and each of the pan-European licensing entities including:
- ICE - for writers published by IMPEL members
- SOLAR - for writers published by Sony/ATV - EMI
- PEDL - for writers published by Warner/Chappell
The royalties you will receive depend on the rates agreed in each individual deal.
How do you calculate royalties from TV and film?
We're always trying to make royalty calculation as accurate as possible. Here's how we calculate them at the moment for TV and film:
It largely depends on the film and the length of time your work is used for. Film studios and production companies report their music use on cue sheets, which we use to calculate your performing royalty. We also have licensing agreements with cinemas and work with film production companies to collect royalties.
This also depends on which TV station and the length of time your work is used for. TV stations and production companies report their music use on cue sheets, which we use to calculate your performing royalty. We then collect royalties through the licensing agreements we have with them.
We follow the same process whether it's a film, TV programme or advert. Royalties are collected through licensing agreements that we have with each broadcaster and production company.
Visit our Royalties page to find out more.
A cue sheet is a breakdown of all music used within an audio visual production such as a film, TV show or TV commercial. Production companies send us their cue sheets so we can calculate the royalties based on what music was played and for how long.
Help with reporting a performance
What do I need to report to PRS?
Whether the performance is a small gig in a local pub or a support slot at Brixton academy, we just need you to report:
- the venue
- the date of the performance
- the setlist
With that information, we'll do the rest to get you any royalties earned.
How do I report a performance to you?
We have an online service you can use to report your live performances. This can be found on your homepage once you've logged in or under Royalties in the top-bar navigation.
You’ll be guided through the process and prompted for the information needed. Broadly speaking, we need to know where and when the performance took place, who performed and what was played. Make sure you update the duration of your works to reflect how long they were performed for, as in some cases this will affect the royalties you receive.
If you work for a society
If you are interested in reporting live performances in bulk please contact:
Can I report performances from before I was a member?
Unfortunately, you can't report performances from before you were a member. We can't legally collect the royalties earned before we represented your rights.
If you've not received performing royalties that you were expecting, you can make a claim under PRS' rules for unpaid distributions for performances of your music in the following:
- radio broadcasts
- radio idents
- TV programmes
- TV idents
- TV commercials
- live events
Unfortunately, if it's been longer than three years since you believe you should have been paid, we can't look into the claim for the unpaid distribution.
However, you have up to six years to claim mechanical royalties for music used in recorded media, such as on a CD or DVD.
If you haven't been a member that long, you can claim as far back as your official start date. Before that date, we weren't legally representing your rights, so can't collect any money.
We pay out live performance royalties from the money we collect in venue licence fees. If a venue is unlicensed, we can't guarantee payment for your performance there. However, when you report a performance in an unlicensed venue, our licensing team will be notified immediately.
We'll then make efforts to license the venue so you can be paid. This can take some time, so bear in mind that our usual payment schedule may not apply.
If you'd like to know whether a venue is licensed or not before deciding to perform there, you can easily check online.
Find out how much music makes by the minute on all UK TV and radio stations by checking our Royalty rates and sample days page. You can find a shortcut to this on your homepage once you've logged in.
We can't disclose the per-minute values for any other royalty sources due to the confidential nature of the agreements.
Help with setlists
Both the venue and the country you performed in can affect your payment date.
We usually pay out royalties four times a year: April, July, October and December. Take a look at our UK and overseas payment dates for a rough idea of when you can expect your money based on when you performed.
To save you time, you're able to re-use a setlist when you report a performance.
Once you've created a setlist, simply name it and save it. Label it something memorable so you can find it again next time. Then next time you report, you'll be asked if you'd like to use an existing setlist. Choose this to add all the same works as before.
More on reporting live performances.
Only one person needs to submit a setlist to us as that provides us all the information we need. We pay out royalties based on the works performed, not who performed. If you've registered the work, we'll know who to pay out based on the registered performance share.
Do make sure that any work you're performing is registered with us so you are paid correctly. Every band member with a writing credit on a work should register the work individually so we know who to pay.
Help with overseas royalties
Why do I have to wait 10-12 months to claim for music usage overseas?
We ask you to wait 10 to 12 months to claim after your music was performed overseas for a couple of reasons.
- Payment for your music usage can take significantly longer for overseas performances. It may be that your royalties have been collected and are due to be paid in the next distribution. We recommend you check the overseas payment schedule.
- Our partner societies overseas only accept claims once the money has become overdue. So you should only claim if the money is late.
If you think you're owed royalties from an overseas performance, and it's past the date listed on the payment schedule, make a claim.
Why have my overseas claims been rejected?
Your overseas claim may have been rejected for any of the following reasons:
- Sample distribution
For many channels, it's not cost-effective to list everything they've played, so they provide a representative sample to the society which licenses them. Unfortunately, your work may not have been included in that sample.
- Replaced music
Sometimes when a programme is sold internationally, the original music may not be included in the deal. However, if you have more evidence of music use, such as fingerprinting reports or original licence deal terms, get in touch and we may be able to investigate further. You will need to log in before raising a query.
- Works not found
Our local society partner may not have found your music. Often, broadcasters change their schedule at the last minute, but they may have also just reported incorrect data. We may be able to challenge this if you have the data source the claim was based on. Log in and raise a query to get in touch.
- Unregistered or disputed works
Make sure your work is registered with 100 percent shares for both PRS and MCPS and all interested parties identified with an IPI reference. If the work is in dispute, we'll be in touch to confirm ownership and explain the next steps.