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Music licence group PRS explains its mission to support artists

A group which collects commissions for performances of copyright music is working to encourage and support artists, according to a spokeswoman.

“Protecting the rights of songwriters and ensuring they are paid when their works are used ensures artists can earn a living, and acts as an incentive to encourage others to create the musical works we use and love,” said Olivia Chapman, spokeswoman for PRC (Performance Rights Society).

The statement came after Scott Pearman, of the Bermuda Music Users Group (BMUG), expressed concerns about an increased PRS presence on the Island and the potential impact of fees on any local businesses that plays music for customers.

At a meeting earlier this week, hosted by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, several business people agreed to come together as a group to negotiate with PRS in an effort to get mutually agreeable rates.

Responding to the concerns, Ms Chapman said the cost of a licence is based on a number of factors including the size of the business, the number of staff and the size of the audience.

“A small eatery playing music to its customers can pay from as little as $100 a year, whereas a larger music venue, where music is performed to a greater audience, will pay more,” she said.

“We have a general tariff available on our website which lays out clearly the criteria we use to work out a licence fee, and gives an indication of the amount that will be charged. Quotes and licences can be arranged via our toll-free telephone line in minutes.”

She explained that the Copyright and Designs Act 2004 requires that a party receive permission to “perform” music in public.

“If music is ever played on premises for customers or staff through radio, TV, CD, MP3 or computer speakers or at live events, this is considered a ‘public performance',” she said. “Likewise if a broadcaster is using music in their business they too need to pay for it.

“A PRS for Music licence grants you this permission on a blanket basis, rather than having to contact each and every copyright owner of the songs played.”

Ms Chapman also said the group represents more than two million songwriters, composers and music publishers internationally, including a number of Bermudian songwriters.

“We are committed to supporting a sustainable future for music and its creators and we recognise that music also a very integral part of the Bermudian culture,” she said.

“As Bermuda is not yet a large exporter of music, it is more than likely that local songwriters' works will only be performed by local businesses and broadcasters.

“It is therefore even more important that local businesses are correctly licensed, to help encourage a local music scene and encourage growth in the creative sector.”

Supporting musical artists: The logo for the Performance Rights Society.

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Published October 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 12, 2013 at 12:19 am)

Music licence group PRS explains its mission to support artists

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