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How we manage your royalty distributions

We speak to Bob Roy from the PRS for Music Distributions team to find out how the work they do helps you receive your royalties on #PRSday.

Bob Roy smiling
Bob Roy

Can you tell us about your role and what keeps you busy day-to-day?

I'm a Distribution Coordinator so my role is all about ensuring that you, the member are paid your royalties accurately and on time. We process four main payment distributions each year in April, July, October & December, celebrated as #PRSday on social media.

My team matches the use of songs to the licenses we’ve provided to customers for radio, TV, retail, hospitality and more. Much of our time is spent coordinating with departments across PRS – Membership, Service Management, Licensing, Finance, Policy & Legal etc. – to help calculate how much a song has been used and the revenue it's generated.

How does the work you do impact PRS and its members?

Each dept. we work with provides vital info such as the licence period, services covered, revenue paid, data collected and member works involved. All of this goes into shaping the size, timing, and frequency of the royalty payments to members. We couldn’t provide a smooth and accurate distribution without all working so closely together.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

We’re all music lovers here at PRS so getting any issue resolved that speeds up payment to members always feels good.

I’m not just talking about the big-ticket items on everyone’s radar like negotiations with large media providers (which can run into the millions and take months to conclude). It’s as much about getting those smaller scale issues resolved for customers. Those that honour their agreements in providing us with music usage data whilst paying their invoices on time so that a few more pounds can be distributed to a few more members. Making sure members are paid is always rewarding, no matter the scale.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about how distributions work? 

I think the size of the operation can sometimes be overlooked. The customers we deal with are numerous and increase every day. Whether they’re large media brands or small regional traders, all of them require individual, thoughtful negotiation and long-term care. This means we can generate value for them and receive the music usage data that we need for accurate royalty distributions.

Is there anything members can do to ensure they’re paid as soon as possible for use of their works?

The data that we see coming through for music usage is vast (we’re talking trillions) and growing every year, so it’s never been more important for members to stay on top of registering works as quickly and as accurately as possible. It might not be the sexy side of music, but it really helps make sure that members are paid their royalties sooner rather than later!

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