UK Music Retailers Ask Why They Should Pay Performance Licenses To Play Music When They're Trying To Sell The Music

from the seems-like-a-fair-point dept

We’ve had plenty of stories about music collections agencies shaking down various businesses for playing music — and over in the UK a fight is apparently brewing over whether or not music retailers should have to pay such fees. As you might imagine, the collection agencies say of course such retailers should pay. But the retailers point out that they’re trying to sell the music directly and letting them play the music freely will help them do that. Apparently (I had no idea), in the US, record stores have an exemption from paying licensing agencies. But not so in the UK.

“These license fees imposed on record stores are iniquitous and in my view should be abolished,” said UK-based Entertainment Retail Association (ERA) president Paul Quirk in a speech to members on Wednesday, while squarely pointing to “industry bodies like PRS and PPL who still pursue record stores for license fees in order to play music, promote music and ultimately to sell music.”

Can you imagine running any other business this way? A bakery that wants to sell you cakes, but has to pay a separate “performance rights fee” to the baker? Don’t see that working..

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Comments on “UK Music Retailers Ask Why They Should Pay Performance Licenses To Play Music When They're Trying To Sell The Music”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "UK Music Retailers Ask Why They Should Pay Performance Licenses To Play Music When They're Trying To Sell The Music"

But surely, if the companies want their music sold, Then it would be wise for them to allow them to play their music in stores for free. It free advertising! In fact, the companies realy should be paying the stores! No wonder they are struggling with logic like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: "UK Music Retailers Ask Why They Should Pay Performance Licenses To Play Music When They're Trying To Sell The Music"

But then how on earth would I know what music to buy? You expect people to guess what music is good? Besides, the stores don’t even need to play the whole song to get intrest in it, which would mean that if they like the song they will likely buy it, meaning MORE money for the artists. not less. See, I love artists. 🙂

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I have a solution

Look. I can solve both your problem and the problem posed by the poster right above you.

Mandatory RIAA/MPAA brain implant chips, at birth.

> But then how on earth would I know what music to buy?

The brain implant chip tells you.

But wait! There’s more! It not only tells you which music to buy, but also which movies to watch. Now how much would you pay?

> You freetards will learn to pay every single time
> you hear or interact with music

The brain implant chip will automatically charge your credit card any time you hear any music, or see any clip or portion of a movie.

There is a small fee for this service. You freetards can’t expect to enjoy the convenience of this automated payment system for free do you? Think of the time saved by not having to manually make payments.

Problem solved. Everyone happy.

You are happy aren’t you? The brain implant chip tells you that you are happy and love whatever new music and movie is being promoted this week.

ClarkeyBalboa (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I have a solution

If you are watching a movie, do you get charged for each song in the soundtrack? What about if you are watching a music video for a song and it shows clips of the movie? Seems only fair to charge a fee on top of a fee for those privileges.

Maybe the chip can be programmed to cause you to go blind or deaf whenever music or movies are playing that you aren’t willing to pay for. That way we only have to reject one or two of our senses temporarily to avoid infringing.

HuwOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: "UK Music Retailers Ask Why They Should Pay Performance Licenses To Play Music When They're Trying To Sell The Music"

Radio play also sells music, but the radio stations pay?

It isn’t surprising given their win-win-win-win historical setup that the music labels and licencing agencies are slow to adapt to the digital era, they’ve effectively lived in what to anyone else would be fantasy land for the last 50 years.

Who wants to have to leave fantasy land?

Yeah, Yeah Yul might, but hardly anyone else.

anonymous says:

easiest way out of this is to stop selling music. see how the artists and the labels like it when the sales plummet through the floor and the blame lays squarely at their feet and the feet of the collection agencies that are employed by the labels. cant wait to see what excuses come out then!
this whole pattern/copyright/license thing has gotten totally out of control. wont be long before a license has to be bought so that a license can be bought, so a license can be bought, so a person/shop can then promote and sell the very things that keep these thick industry fuckers alive! unbelievable!

jimbo says:

until everyone involved with the distribution/selling of anything entertainment industry related actually grows some balls and tell them what is going to happen, instead of kowtowing to the wants/orders of those industries, nothing will change. stop dealing with them completely, start dealing with another commodity. even if the industries deal with everything themselves, do they honestly expect the world to flock to their shops and/or web sites? i think not! people wont pay the prices they will insist in charging. surely even the artists can see the fallacy of what is happening and how much they are losing out?

Simon says:

Collection agencies are just con artists

In my experience, these so-called collection agencies are just flat-out liars and scammers. My wife has a retail shop, and a PPL representative recently visited the shop, asking if they ever played any music. The answer given by a member of staff was that she didn’t know. A few weeks later, my wife receives an invoice for around ?80 saying the shop needs a performance licence. The shop has no radio or music system, so my wife rang them up and told them she wasn’t going to pay.

The PPL then blatantly lied to her, said that staff had been playing Katie Perry in the shop when their agent visited (no radio, or CD player and my wife owns no Katie Perry music anyway), then claimed the the PPL is a Government agency (it’s not) and she was legally obliged to pay up. She called him out as a liar and hung up on him. It’s been 3 weeks and they haven’t followed up…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Why?

What does a situation that existed before Obama’s election (music industry run by the greedy) and a story on the UK music industry have to do with Obama?

Oh yeah, you guys are going to start up your troll circus for next year’s election soon, right? Joy. I can’t wait to be called a communist because I happen to live in a country that provides adequate health care again…

Qritiqal (profile) says:

let's see if i have this straight

A music retailer shouldn’t have to pay licensing fees because customers hearing the music might BUY the music as a result of hearing it.

So why should ANYONE pay licensing fees for publicly playing music?
Does the customer’s distance from a cash register somehow affect the likelihood they enjoy the song and want to purchase it? What, do people just hang out in music stores on the off chance they might hear something they like and go find it on the shelves?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: let's see if i have this straight

A music retailer shouldn’t have to pay licensing fees because customers hearing the music might BUY the music as a result of hearing it.

They shouldn’t have to pay because they are playing music for the sole purpose of trying to sell it. It would be like running a TV ad for an album and then charging the TV station a license fee for playing the music.

Anonymous Coward says:

PRS is vicious… the U.S. allows direct licensing for public performance rights. For example, if you have a restaurant and want to play music, and you have an agreement with a musician who happens to own the master, publishing and performance rights to all of his/her music, you can, of course play their music. Ditto if there’s a third party intermediary, like a Muzak-style provider who procures such agreements from musicians and labels. In the U.K.? Nope, gotta pay PRS no matter what. They make the jackals at ASCAP and BMI look reasonable by comparison.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wouldn’t term them “vicious”, because I have first hand knowledge of what vicious really connotes. Vicious is a word that they would fully understand if they ever came to me for their unjustifiable monetary demands, threatening litigation. Once you sit directly across the desk, or perhaps a restaurant table, from one of these “vicious” individuals, and carefully explain to them the errors of their ways in dealing with you, and the likely consequences of failing to correct those errors, then if they still persist, or display intent to put up resistance, they will get an advanced education in what the word vicious can truly mean. Sometimes, this epiphany will produce incontinence. Not very nice, but sometimes unavoidable. Just another way of resolving business disputes.

Anonymous Coward says:


Take all that RIAA Music and throw it in the trash or send it back.Stock your store with cool Indie type bands and problem solved.There will be no issue as any small band wants exposure and wants an edge to get somewhere.I know the two bands I play in would never bring a lawsuit against someone for helping us out by exposing us to potential new fans.


Karl (profile) says:


Didn’t know us record stores were exempt either. surprised more shopkeepers aren’t exploiting it

You know what’s surprising about this comment?

That record stores have been exempt during their entire existence, and yet you think that the law is a license for shopkeepers to exploit it.

You sound like one of those douchebags who thinks the royalty system for terrestrial radio is “akin to piracy.”

Or, you’re being sarcastic. That may be the case. It’s a sad state of affairs when sarcasm is indistinguishable from genuine sentiment.

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