Historic governance changes approved at this year’s PRS AGM

With over 1,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members engaged either on the day, or through the voting process, this year’s AGM set a record for the highest participation in PRS AGM history.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 18 Aug 2020
  • min read

Approved by members today at its 2020 Annual General Meeting, PRS has made the most significant changes to its governance in 20 years. 

Held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first AGM to be led by Andrea C. Martin since she joined the organisation as chief executive in 2019, a year that saw record results achieved.

The newly approved governance changes include:

  • PRS Board becoming a smaller ‘Members' Council’ with fewer Directors and focused on member engagement
  • Appointment of a new Writer President
  • A new electoral college system for Director appointments
  • Maximum terms of service for Board Directors
  • Streamlined decision-making through refocused committee reporting structures to give greater time to focus on strategic issues

The PRS for Music Executive Board, will become simply, the Board, with a renewed focus on strategic delivery and commercial operation, empowering PRS’ Executive Leadership Team to manage the business with full accountability to the Board.

Andrea C. Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: ‘Early on, I recognised that to create a new PRS, a new governance structure would be required. Change is never an easy thing to embrace but standing still in a world of now 19 trillion performances, and growing, across multi-territories and with fragmented rights is not an option. The new governance will make PRS more flexible, more fleet-of-foot in our decision-making process and more cost-effective. On behalf of everyone at PRS, we are excited by the challenges ahead and motivated by change.’

Nigel Elderton, chairman, PRS for Music, said: ‘I am incredibly pleased to see that our proposed governance changes have been approved. These historic changes will allow us to deliver more engagement, efficiency and transparency for our members. Furthermore, we anticipate the approved changes will lead to more opportunities for members to join the Board and by association we hope for greater diversity on the Board in the future.’

It is hoped that a key outcome of the new governance structure is better engagement for candidacy which will lead to improved diversity on the Board.

Andrea C. Martin, added: ‘Any reflection on the year to date must include Black Lives Matter, and the long overdue global debate about social inequality and injustice.

'I am completely committed to positive change within PRS and the whole music industry, but first and foremost we must educate ourselves. Personally, I know I have learned a lot in the last few weeks in my discussions with employees. We will accelerate measures to ensure diversity of our membership is reflected in the make-up of the management and Board. We have already started to take action.’

The PRS AGM was opened by legendary songwriter, PRS for Music member and recently appointed President of CISAC, Björn Ulvaeus, with a special keynote speech. He said: ‘The timing is perfect for PRS to take the decision to become more efficient, flexible and quicker on its feet, which I'm certain the new governance plan will achieve. Congratulations Andrea and the people you've worked with for doing a great job.’