Claire Rose

How to… make a living from your music

Making money from your music is key to sustaining yourself as a musician. We asked PRS for Music’s Claire Rose and Daniel Jones to fill us in on their top tips, shared at last week’s BBC Introducing Live event.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 2 Nov 2020
  • min read

PRS for Music outreach managers, Claire Rose and Daniel Jones, spoke to the BBC as part of BBC Introducing Live 2020 about how you can make a living from your music. Here are their top tips.

Understand your collecting societies

Knowing what each collecting society does and which one(s) you need to join can be confusing, but it is really important that you do.

PRS for Music is a society that hosts two collective organisations, PRS and MCPS.

PRS represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world, and we distribute royalties whenever our members' music is used publicly. This can be through a variety of platforms including radio, TV, live and DJ sets, classical concerts, in shops and whenever the music is downloaded or streamed. MCPS distribute royalties when music is copied or reproduced onto products such as CD’s, vinyl, covermounts, TV and film, toys, downloads and streams.

You may have also heard of PPL. PPL are a collection society, separate from PRS for Music, who look after performers and master rights holders. They distribute royalties when recorded music is played to the public.

Join PRS at the right time

At PRS, we have a £100 joining fee, with no annual or recurring fees. So, it is crucial that you join PRS at a time when you are writing music on a regular basis and that music is getting some kind of public performance. This could be over radio, TV, live, in shops and clubs or if it is getting a substantial number of downloads or streams.

Register your music to our database

We will not be able to pay you any royalties until you have registered the music on our database. This is super easy to do. All you need to tell us is the song title, duration, and any co-writers. You don’t even need to send us any sound recordings.

Submit your live music and DJ performances

As it stands, the live sector is not fully operating. But when it does start up again, and you begin to play live shows, you will need to submit your live music and DJ performances to us. Again, this is easy to do. All we need to know is the date you played, where you played and what songs you played. Once you have submitted this information, we will process it and distribute you royalties for your performance.

Understand how you can earn royalties from PRS

If your music is played over the radio, TV, in shops, at live or DJ performances, or getting downloaded or streamed, you are entitled to a royalty. Most of our users send us data which tell us what music has been used and how long it was used for. However, for live performances, this is something you will need to tell us about. Just submit a set list to us online containing the songs you performed with the date and venue information, and we will process this behind the scenes and distribute your royalties.

Know when you will be paid

We distribute four times a year - April, July, October and December.

Got a question? Contact us

We are super friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful in the Outreach Team. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email on