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Prs And Self Publishing


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  • Noob

Hi there, I joined this forum 'cause I've been searching the net for ages looking for an answer and cannot find one. This is my first post.

I'm want to join PRS but they have two membership options. Join as a writer or join as a publisher. At the moment I'm not published, and I am seriously considering going down the self-published route. Do I need to therefore create my own publishing company for my songs and register it. Then join PRS as a publisher with my entire back-catalogue. Or do I just join as a writer?

Hopefully someone can help me, surely someone else has been in this position.

Thanks.

Massa

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This is a question of YOUR needs...

My understanding of the situation is that yes, that would qualify you as a publisher as you would be able to get publishing derived income, and with appropriate permissions you could be publishing the work of others... however, the whole point in being a registered PRS member as a publisher is to get PRS to collect publishing income for YOU as a publisher (not as an artist). ie they are a royalty collection agency working for you in your publishing capacity.

If you look at the terms for joining:

"You must have contracts covering at least fifteen pieces of music in your

catalogue. Evidence must be provided to support this. You will be required to

provide copies of your publishing or sub-publishing agreements in respect of

fifteen pieces of music."

In other words, if you joined as a publisher, you would need contracts between your as artist and you as publisher for 15 pieces of music as evidence.

The reason there is no answer as such is that it is a question of several parts:

"Do I want PRS to be collecting the publishers portion of royalties when SOMEONE uses my music"

In other words, if you have 15 songs, and you license others to record / perform them, then PRS would be a good way to go if you want someone else to be contacting the performers to collect the publishing royalty. If you write songs for other artists to use this is absolutely a good idea. Of course they take a fee for doing so, starting with the £400 registration fee, but it is a very useful service.

What is less obvious, but possibly more important, is when someone or some company plays your music / performs your music in a public location, including venues, broadcast etc, then you are due a royalty. Even if it is your record that is played, or you are the one that publicly performed your song, on stage in a venue!

The way it works is that venues and broadcasters pay money to PRO (Performing Rights Organizations) like PRS based on their playlists (this isn't exactly accurately tracked although it is heading that way). PROs collate those playlists and collect monies due their members based on those playlists into a big pot of money. Then they deduct their collection fees to cover 'operating costs', and divide up the remaining money between their members at a percentage in line with the total playlist percentage your music was responsible for.

So say you play a venue. You get paid by the venue. All well and good. Well, that venue also pays money to a PRO as an annual fee (based upon how many people the music is performed to).  The venue notifies them (yeah yeah) of whose songs were played (same goes for juke boxes!) and that is how the PRO estimates your percentage of plays. Same goes for TV and TV production companies. In a live scenario as a small artist this will not happen unless you fill in a form!

The outcome of this is that ANY performance of your material will generate income (unless you sign performance waivers as you do on joining many websites). If you are not registered with a PRO this money as a rule goes unclaimed.

Songwriters focus so much on mechanical rights from sale of CDs (as due to record companies) that they often neglect publishing income (from performance).

There is a broader question here... To self publish or not self publish, is there a benefit? Of course there is.. depending on circumstance.

I couldn't see an article similar to this for PRS, but this one on SOCAN explains it well

http://www.socan.ca/...fPublishing.jsp

the lines...

"as long as you're registered with SOCAN as a writer and there is no designated publisher, you will receive 100 percent of any royalties generated by the performance of your music: the 50 percent writer share and the 50 percent publisher share"

So the answer I think you are looking for, based on your description is that there is no need for you to register as a publisher in this circumstance (although read that article!) unless you have set up a publishing company and indeed already have a contract with yourself. Do you?

btw, still fill out those performance forms to make sure you get your performance royalty from venues. Most performance based income is based on estimates, or census, not every actual performance (which sucks in this day and age). Filling in that form just ensures that those song performances WILL be counted.

lastly, you should only need to register with one PRO as they have agreements with PROs in differing jurisdictions to collect for them and the income is then distributed.

I hope that all helps!

legal disclaimer: use this information entirely at your own risk. It is entirely your responsibility. I am not qualified as an entertainment lawyer and I include this disclaimer to cover my ass in the even that you read all this, make an incorrect decision and decide to try and sue me! lol

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  • Noob

Thank you so much for that reply John. I really appreciate it. Just what I was looking for - I'm going to check that article out now!

This is a question of YOUR needs...

My understanding of the situation is that yes, that would qualify you as a publisher as you would be able to get publishing derived income, and with appropriate permissions you could be publishing the work of others... however, the whole point in being a registered PRS member as a publisher is to get PRS to collect publishing income for YOU as a publisher (not as an artist). ie they are a royalty collection agency working for you in your publishing capacity.

If you look at the terms for joining:

"You must have contracts covering at least fifteen pieces of music in your

catalogue. Evidence must be provided to support this. You will be required to

provide copies of your publishing or sub-publishing agreements in respect of

fifteen pieces of music."

In other words, if you joined as a publisher, you would need contracts between your as artist and you as publisher for 15 pieces of music as evidence.

The reason there is no answer as such is that it is a question of several parts:

"Do I want PRS to be collecting the publishers portion of royalties when SOMEONE uses my music"

In other words, if you have 15 songs, and you license others to record / perform them, then PRS would be a good way to go if you want someone else to be contacting the performers to collect the publishing royalty. If you write songs for other artists to use this is absolutely a good idea. Of course they take a fee for doing so, starting with the £400 registration fee, but it is a very useful service.

What is less obvious, but possibly more important, is when someone or some company plays your music / performs your music in a public location, including venues, broadcast etc, then you are due a royalty. Even if it is your record that is played, or you are the one that publicly performed your song, on stage in a venue!

The way it works is that venues and broadcasters pay money to PRO (Performing Rights Organizations) like PRS based on their playlists (this isn't exactly accurately tracked although it is heading that way). PROs collate those playlists and collect monies due their members based on those playlists into a big pot of money. Then they deduct their collection fees to cover 'operating costs', and divide up the remaining money between their members at a percentage in line with the total playlist percentage your music was responsible for.

So say you play a venue. You get paid by the venue. All well and good. Well, that venue also pays money to a PRO as an annual fee (based upon how many people the music is performed to).  The venue notifies them (yeah yeah) of whose songs were played (same goes for juke boxes!) and that is how the PRO estimates your percentage of plays. Same goes for TV and TV production companies. In a live scenario as a small artist this will not happen unless you fill in a form!

The outcome of this is that ANY performance of your material will generate income (unless you sign performance waivers as you do on joining many websites). If you are not registered with a PRO this money as a rule goes unclaimed.

Songwriters focus so much on mechanical rights from sale of CDs (as due to record companies) that they often neglect publishing income (from performance).

There is a broader question here... To self publish or not self publish, is there a benefit? Of course there is.. depending on circumstance.

I couldn't see an article similar to this for PRS, but this one on SOCAN explains it well

http://www.socan.ca/...fPublishing.jsp

the lines...

"as long as you're registered with SOCAN as a writer and there is no designated publisher, you will receive 100 percent of any royalties generated by the performance of your music: the 50 percent writer share and the 50 percent publisher share"

So the answer I think you are looking for, based on your description is that there is no need for you to register as a publisher in this circumstance (although read that article!) unless you have set up a publishing company and indeed already have a contract with yourself. Do you?

btw, still fill out those performance forms to make sure you get your performance royalty from venues. Most performance based income is based on estimates, or census, not every actual performance (which sucks in this day and age). Filling in that form just ensures that those song performances WILL be counted.

lastly, you should only need to register with one PRO as they have agreements with PROs in differing jurisdictions to collect for them and the income is then distributed.

I hope that all helps!

legal disclaimer: use this information entirely at your own risk. It is entirely your responsibility. I am not qualified as an entertainment lawyer and I include this disclaimer to cover my ass in the even that you read all this, make an incorrect decision and decide to try and sue me! lol

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You are welcome :)

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Good one, John.

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