As EDM becomes big business in the United States, some food for thought comes from PRS for Music, the collection society in the United Kingdom. PRS announced Wednesday it launched an electronic music initiative called Amplify to better ensure electronic producers and writers are being compensated for commercial use of their music.
PRS has found DJs are less likely to submit set lists than musicians who play guitar. While 95% of set lists at the Reading Festival were submitted to PRS, only 35% and 15% of set lists were submitted from electronic music festivals, Creamfields and Glade, respectively. PRS estimates that a single set amounts to performance royalties worth £250 and a single festival is worth performance royalties of £85,000 (171 sets times £250 per set). These types of festivals were popular for many years before they became mainstream in the United States.
To help solve the problem, PRS has created an electronic music committee and will work with DJ technology experts to find ways to report set lists automatically from clubs and live performances. It will also raise awareness in the electronic community to get more electronic writers and producers to join.
PRS has been innovative in getting live music performance data. Recall that PRS announced a partnership with concert listing site Songkick back in 2010. The goal was to use Songkick's user-generated set lists to pay performance royalties related to those live concerts. Songkick covers everything from clubs to stadiums.
EDM (as we say here in the United States) artists could benefit from this type of reporting if their genre is as underreported here as it is in the United Kingdom. Pooled royalties will be underpaid to EDM artists if EDM set lists are underreported. And it could be extra important to report your set list if you're a popular EDM artist who plays your own music. As one EDM artist manager points out to me, it's common for a large venue in the United States to charge the artist a performing rights fee to account for the fees paid to collecting societies. Put another way, an EDM artist popular enough to play an arena is effectively paying to play. Be sure to submit that set list.