U.K. collecting society the MCPS-PRS Alliance has re-branded and will now be called PRS for Music. The new name was announced during the MIDEM international music market and conference in Cannes and becomes effective Monday (Jan. 19).
A new writer membership joining fee of £10 ($14.81) was also announced, reduced from the previous fee of £100 ($148.14). The measure is designed to attract the emerging generation of unsigned acts who post their music on MySpace but may not be aware of the collecting society.
“They may not have heard of PRS or PRS for Music,” chief executive Steve Porter tells Billboard.biz. “That can’t be a good thing. Twenty years from now, this will be the catalog. We needed to ask: what do the these people want and are the services we are providing relevant?”
The payment will be deferred until the first royalty payment.
PRS for Music does not currently have a licensing deal with MySpace, although it does with YouTube. “We are in extensive negotiations with MySpace,” says Porter.
The re-launch is designed to make the society a more “customer-facing” brand and represent members and music users in a better way, according to Porter. The society has little recognition among the general public in the U.K., he says.
There is also a new tariff of £44 ($65.16) plus V.A.T. sales tax to license music for businesses with four staff or less. Porter adds that there will be a “proactive sales” agenda to demonstrate to businesses, such as stores, the benefits of playing music and being licensed to do so.
The MCPS-PRS Alliance was launched just over 10 years ago, bringing together the Performing Right Society (PRS) and Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). Both PRS and the MCPS will still exist as legal entities, while PRS for Music will be the public face of the organization.
PRS for Music begins life with 60,000 members and 180,000 licensees; its unaudited figures for total revenue in 2008 show an 8% increase to £608 million ($900.9 million). Income from broadcasting and online licensing is now the main earner, while mechanical revenues steadily decrease.