How to Support Your Music: The Misconception of Music Licensing


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In a world where the events industry has fallen and touring has been postponed, using – and understanding – music licensing may allow creators, artists and musicians to save their career a little while longer.

The Key Misconception

It is important to understand the complexities of music licensing.

The general populous all tread carefully with music licensing, often because they simply don’t understand its intentions to begin with.

With it being noted nothing as another expense or another licence to a long outstanding bill, the music licensing is extremely misconceived as a fruitless expedition to get more money from hardworking individuals in business. But that’s not the case …

And in order to help support the music industry right now, this needs view may need to change.

More of us need to be informed and understand the effect of licensing to support those who are need it most during this time of the year.

How Does it Work?

Collectively, purchasing a music licence allows businesses and organisations to purchase the ability to play music within their business establishment without the threat of breaching copyright, all the while, providing a well-established future for music.

This is because it allows musicians, creatives, songwriters, composers and record labels to earn a hard-earned wage slip for their work, all the while preventing further contributions to music piracy that litters the industry.

If the business – restaurant or an office, for example – is using someone else’s work to benefit their culture, image or atmosphere, it is only right and responsible to purchase a licence for that musician to be fairly compensated for their work. This is to ensure copyright violations are not breached, of course, but it is also to ensure that someone else’s work is being appreciated for what it is, and the huge effect is on all of us. Whether that’s simply going for a coffee or working out at your go-to gym.

And while purchasing a CD allows the user to listen to the music domestically, no right is covered if that CD is played publicly. Hence, a licence is required for you to play that business either to the public or to your employee numbers.

These are set down as tariffs – all are tailored to cater for the needs of a particular business sector. The tariffs are set from PPL and PRS, we as PPLPRS administer them to you – the people.

These licence amounts are then collected via royalties and are then distributed to PRS and PPL members, or mostly avid creators in their own right, and are then fairly paid via royalties for their music being used.

I feel that is hugely important – especially during the current climate the music industry is in right now.

It’s important to note that whilst the Ed Sheerans are in the royalty collecting pot, the smaller artists who are not known for selling out stadium tours, also collectively receive their fair share of royalties too. From the local artists who play in coffee lounges to the freelance musicians who have a part-time job on the side of their work, all are involved.

Any members, all members will receive compensation for their work.

But we need to ensure more and more people are informed of the importance of licensing, so we can continue to pay our musicians and artists fairly.

Facts by Numbers

Back on Thursday 15th October, deemed as PRSDAY for some, PRS themselves paid out £197m with 552 members receiving their first royalties today. PRS are also providing service during the pandemic period with over £2.1m raised for songwriters and composers via the PRS Emergency Relief Fund.

PPL themselves distributed their fair share of royalties to more than 32,000 performers and recording rights-holders.

In 2019 alone, 18.8 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £810.8m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PPL and PRS operate with large volumes of royalty collections, and that is all provided to the musicians, but it is all because of your support and efforts to use and understand music licensing.

If you’re willing to find out about music licensing, have a look across all the links below to support your local musicians – as well as the local community.

If you feel like you know any musicians who deservedly require royalty payments also see below.

How do I find out more?

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