Robert Fripp sues PRS For Music over “preferential conditions” that only benefit stadium-sized artists

Robert Fripp sues PRS For Music over “preferential conditions” that only benefit stadium-sized artists

With Spotify stream payouts being notoriously low, many artists rely on gigs to fund their creativity. However, even the live circuit comes with its penalties. PRS For Music – which handles playback and performance rights for artists – regularly takes a big cut from smaller artists’ gig royalties.
In a movement led by Pace Rights Management, The Jesus and Mary Chain, King Crimson‘s Robert Fripp and more are suing PRS over its unfair administrations charges for smaller artists. Currently, PRS charges a 23% administration cut from an artist’s royalties per gig. However, this is a stark contrast to the 0.2% fee stadium-sized artists are required to pay.

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The low percentage for larger artists is a result of PRS’ Major Live Concert Service. The service results in smaller artists paying 115 times more than those at the top of the musical food chain.
“The smaller PRS members are subsidising the larger members to get these preferential conditions,” Pace co-founder Adam Elfin asserts.
According to Billboard, 10 claimants are suing PRS for damages as a result of “unnecessary contractual requirements and practices.” Such practices include a number of “unreasonable” obstructions on those eager to organise their own licensing deals with promoters, venues or festivals outside of PRS.
The 10 claimants say that PRS has repeatedly ignored the gravity of their complaints for several years.
In a joint statement, the claimants write: “The ball is now firmly in PRS’s court.”
“Either they constructively engage with much needed reforms to empower and benefit writers and publishers, or they continue to resist these necessary changes, and attempt to defend the indefensible,” the statement concludes.
Speaking in a separate statement, Fripp adds: “I am yet to be persuaded that the PRS operates on behalf of the membership’s best interests.”
PRS has since spoken out, insisting: “We will be vigorously defending the society against these claims.”
“PRS for Music has consistently sought constructive dialogue with Pace for many years, proposing and implementing solutions to the issues raised,” PRS writes. “We have worked extremely hard to simplify our processes in the interest of our members, which Pace has consistently failed to comply or engage with, which has resulted in royalties being unnecessarily withheld from PRS members for the live performance of their works at concerts. It has also created complexity and uncertainty for live music venues and promoters.”
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