Massive Hike In Fees For Venues Playing Music In The UK

from the this-won't-help dept

We’ve seen this time and time again. The various music collection societies around the globe have been trying to squeeze out more and more cash — either by extending what counts as a “public performance” or by massively jacking up the rates on existing licensees. We saw this recently in Australia, where rates went up by ridiculous amounts. To a lesser extent, we’ve seen something similar in Canada with its 1,300% fee increase. And, now, something similar is coming to the UK, where PPL massively increased a bunch of its fees:

Bills for a typical ?wedding bash will soar from £30 to £380. Pubs which can now pay as little as £8 a night will have to fork out around £10,000 a year up front for a public ?performance licence. The fee for nightclubs will zoom from £167 to a mind-boggling £6,667 for each event.

If you’re playing along at home, that last case describes a fee increase of 3,900%.

Now, for the most part, such collectives are passing money on directly to musicians, and not to record labels or the like. So you could argue that this means that musicians make more money, so perhaps it’s okay. But that’s not taking into account the overall impact of such fee increases. They actually harm musicians in multiple ways. First, as you would expect with such a massive increase in fees, many venues simply stop agreeing to pay a license to play music. Many may just not play music at all any more, and what good does that do any musician? Fewer venues playing music isn’t helping anyone. It also means that a lot more of these kinds of venues end up going out of business. We keep hearing stories of people complaining about fewer venues being around for music these days, and you can blame ridiculous price hikes like this one for that.

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Companies: ppl

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Comments on “Massive Hike In Fees For Venues Playing Music In The UK”

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53 Comments
anonymous says:

i think the best bet is for everyone to simply stop having anything to do with everything entertainment industry related. they dont want people to play music, watch films or anything else unless extortionate prices are paid. they dont want people to be able to enjoy themselves. they obviously want to keep everything to themselves and are doing as much as they can to achieve that. so let ’em keep the lot! governments are backing what is going on, so let them pay all the fees and wages wanted!

peter says:

Funny how

The record labels are desperate to get their new songs played on the radio/clubs/pubs as it is the way to reach a huge audience and drive sales, and then demand payment for the privilege of allowing these outlet to play their songs.

It is just as if, for example, Pepsi are desperate for the lead actor to be seen drinking a can of Pepsi in the latest blockbuster film as it is a superb advertisement for their product, and then demanding a cut of every DVD rental.

Is there now way of pointing out to these clowns just what is driving the sales of their products. Just in case any one of these Record executives are listening, let me point it out very simply.

I buy one of your products because I have heard it on the radio/in a club/down the shops. If I never get exposed to your product, I AM NOT GOING TO BUY IT.

There. Simple really.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Funny how

I love it, there is an advert running for CapitalFM (a London radio station) where the Black Eyes Peas and Rihanna both talk about the role radio plays in sales..

Rihanna @ 00:38, “The middle man between me and my fans is the radio”.

Will.I.Am @ 00:41, “Without the radio a hit would not be a hit”.

Seems the artists realise what the collection companies don’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MIyQvIrFSU

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Having spent several decades in the Hospitality business, I think I would immediately start to research live bands that write their own music. The contract would state, no cover songs, no music you did not write yourself and own the copyright and performance rights to.

Obviously this could not happen overnight, and has numerous issues, such as a request for an old favorite, which would have to be refused, incensing the guest. Not very hospitable.

A long time ago, we had a fight with (either ASCAP or BMI, I forget) about our MUZAK system. They collected from MUZAK and now wanted to collect from us as well. It took much too much management time (we were running a business, our managers worked), which did not recoup even when we won.

The slim margins in the Hospitality business (lets leave out the casino portion for now) do not allow for a large percentage of Gross sales for entertainment. The idea of paying this extortion in order to differentiate oneself from competitors should be frightening to anyone who holds an interest in ANY Hospitality operation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Shoddy and sensationalist journalism!

As much as it would definitely be insanely ludacris for PPL to increase their fees by as much as their consultation document suggests (around 2000% in some cases). It is just as irresponsible for journalists to play down or, as was done in this article, totally ignore the fact that PPL is in the consultation stages of this process. This does not mean that the rates they are proposing is what will be charged at the end of the day, or, again as this article reports, is currently being charged! To a point I’m as anti-G.A.M.E. as the next person, but I still try to be fair and honest when passing on the facts.

JackHerer (profile) says:

PPL is for record labels

PPL’s members are mainly record labels, it licenses things related to the copyright in the sound recording which is usually owned by the record label. PRS/MCPS is the equivalent for the copyright in the musical work (i.e. the composition) and it’s members are mainly musicians, song writers and publishers. How much of these fees actually ends up with artists depends on their particular recording contract and/or whether they own the copyright in the sound recording.

tom says:

Re: Re: Leaving PPL and PRS

funnily enough its the fact that i am a memnber of PPL and PRS that i cannot submit my music to Jamendo Pro. I emailed PRS about wanting to leave them last year, their reply: ‘You need to send us a signed letter requesting that we terminate your membership and giving us a brief explanation of why you wish to leave and what collection society you wish to join.’ has sat in my intray for a year. But after the ACTA thing and getting an email from PPL braying about how great it was for artists (the dead ones getting an extra 20 years to produce more art from beyond the grave) i dug up the email and am hoping to get round to writing it today. The answer to ‘what collection society you wish to join’ will of course be none.

anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: Leaving PPL and PRS

what business is it of theirs or anyone’s why you want to leave? it is your decision to terminate membership and you’re within your rights to do so when you want (assuming you didn’t sign a contract that prevents you from leaving within a certain time frame?). as for requesting? i think telling is nearer the mark!

i think a brief explanation would be ‘i wish to terminate my membership with your organisation, effective immediately,’ (give the date).

Call me Al says:

Does this mean that some of my local pubs and bars will stop playing music? That would be awesome as it would allow me to chat to friends without having to shout at them.

As for the actual consultation document, the PPL clearly thinks they can get away with this. Many venues will complain bitterly but pay up anyway as they feel they have no choice.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

That ?380 for a wedding works out to around $615 Canadian dollars. I don’t think I paid that much for the DJ at my wedding 16 years ago.

How do they figure $615 when a song costs 99 cents in iTunes? Over the course of a wedding reception, a DJ may play 100 songs. That’s $6 per song.

From the article:

“Its income rose ?12million to ?143million last year.”

Well if your income increased by 10 times, why not charge even more, so your income can increase be another 10 or 100 times. Incredible.

Anonymous Coward says:

“The fee for nightclubs will zoom from ?167 to a mind-boggling ?6,667 for each event.”

This is the most ridiculous increase by far. I mean seriously, how much profit do they think nightclubs make an event? The answer is almost certainly not not 6,000+ dollars. Seriously, does someone have some moral (or religious) vendetta against nightclubs and want to drive them all out of business simply because they don’t like the nightclub business and how they perceive nightclubs are effecting the community?

Anonymous Coward says:

I read this story and I had to laugh. Mike, you have opened up a can of worms on this one.

First up, let’s talk about the “shortage” of live music venues. This sort of goes against your whole idea of giving away the music and collecting on the scarce, the “musician as a worker” mentality that would have them doing hundreds of shows a year to make a living. If the venues are disappearing, it’s because there isn’t enough demand at a reasonable price to make it work out. So if there is a shortage of live venues, but live show revenue is going up, it’s ticket prices that have increased dramatically, no?

Second, while you do provide a link to an article, the article itself is lacking any and all detail. The example “67 to 1600” increase, what sort of venue? Is it a single venue? Is it because of a change of vocation? Are they moving from recorded music only to live performance? We don’t know because there are no details, and nobody else seems to be talking about the story.

Third, I think what you are seeing is the birds of piracy coming home to roost. If you aren’t paying for the music to buy, you will end up paying for it somewhere else. Licensing is one of those ways to get the money back lost on the other side. Remember the old “there is no such thing as a free lunch”? Well, more so here, you choose what to have for your free lunch, and it comes with an expensive desert. You earned it!

As a sub-text on all this, I would say that my opinions voiced a couple of years back appear to be true. Significant increases in “live” ticket sale revenue has little to do with huge increases in live shows, rather it has everything to do with top acts charging 3 – 10 times as much for their tickets. So much for the little starving artist getting more money, right Mike?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

First, I’m not sure where you are getting the shortage of live venues from. Even if there is, why would people have a live venue when the licensing cost is higher then the income?

Second, this isn’t about one place getting it’s licenses changed, these are the overall rules. A night club that played recorded music, now pays significantly more for the same thing.

Third, you take a market that’s actually making money and decide to punish it for another market that isn’t?

Sub-text, every concert I’ve gone to was inexpensive. I went to the Blink182 and My Chemical Romance concert for $20, Weird Al was $30. You need to stop buying your tickets from scalpers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

first: ” We keep hearing stories of people complaining about fewer venues being around for music these days, and you can blame ridiculous price hikes like this one for that.”

That is a direct quote.

Second, where are you getting the information? Not from the linked article, that is for sure, it has less information than talentless schmuch Marcus Carab’s profile page.

Third, no, but if there is no money made elsewhere, they will up licensing to make the money back. You didn’t pay at one end, you get to pay at the other instead.

Considering yourself lucky on concert tickets, in the UK is isn’t unusual to pay closer to US$100 for a regular ticket, and the big names (like Bon Jovi) were charging upwards to $500 a ticket.

Call me Al says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not a regular but I’ve never paid more than ?30 (c$45) for a ticket in the UK. Though I’ll admit I don’t go to any big name concerts. I guess it all depends on what you are looking to see.

I do agree that Mike’s use of language was a little sloppy but my reading of the “venues” comment was in respect of places which play recorded music rather than those that have live music. His comments about live music have generally been about how strong it seems to be these days. I could be wrong though.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’re on smack. Seriously.

Within the last year, I’ve been to concerts at the MEN, the Liverpool Echo, and the Lowry. They cost at most ?35, which is currently around $55, and I KNOW that they can go higher. The fact that the venue is being charged (in the MEN’s case) around ?450,000 for next year’s license for artists to play their own music is mind-boggling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Licensing is one of those ways to get the money back lost on the other side.”

You’re one of those dumb soccer commentators/fans that, when the game ends tied, immediately exclaims “Team X just lost two points!” aren’t you?

It’s a nice trick. Makes things look a lot worse than they really are.

surfer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

at what point are you going to realize that piracy is copyrights’ fault, and nobody else?

I already have enough music to create a 24/7/365 streaming playlist that doesn’t start over for 5 years.

I already have enough movies to watch 2 a night and not start over for 5 years.

I already have enough tv shows (with no commercials mind you) like Space 1999 (try and buy that one!), M*A*S*H*, all the way up to Enterprise, Stargate Universe and True Blood to watch 5 episodes a night and not start over for 6 years.

That’s;
Songs: 3,693,800
Movies: 3,650
VT Shows: 10,950

For willful infringement, I can see where the 58 billion number comes from, I owe $27,703,500,00

I read your post and had to laugh!

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: So I'm at home...

In the UK you won’t have to pay if you have a private party, as long as you don’t charge an entry fee or invite too many people “too many” is a number decided by PPL or PRS when they decide to take you to court.

If you leave your radio on really loud in your flat above your restaurant then you are liable and would need to pay PPL and PRS.

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