Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Revisiting the UK Performing Rights Society (PRS) - YouTube tussle

Brownie points by Ashley Dryden used under a Creative Commons License

In the past, I've briefly mentioned the fee dispute between the United Kingdom's Performing Rights Society and YouTube (March 10 2009 post) and I've also mentioned the huge amounts that YouTube pays to UK songwriters under the existing contract (April 22 2009 post). You may recall that the Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up," which was played tens of millions of times on YouTube, resulted in less than £50 of revenue.

Well, I've lost track of the PRS-YouTube dispute, but Steven Hodson has provided an update to Duncan Riley's March 9 post:

...that groveling sound you hear is the PRS sweet talking YouTube to come back after PRS halved its royalties. Mind you it is no wonder that PRS wants the video giant back as YouTube contributed 40 percent of PRS members’ plays during one point last year.

Surfing from the Inquisitr, I ended up at two Paid Content posts. The first is dated May 26:

Good news for cash-strapped online music services. Royalty collector PRS For Music has bowed to websites’ pleas for smaller charges, more than halving its on-demand streaming music rate from £0.0022 to £0.00085 per track, effective July 1 and lasting for three years.

OK, let's do the math. Let's say that you have a video that pays £0.00085 per track. Furthermore, let's say that it becomes a viral sensation and is played...oh...30 million times, attracting all sorts of attention for the video website in addition to the 30 million visits and resulting ad revenue. Under the PRS proposal, the video service will be...um...GOUGED to the tune (heh) of...£25,500.

So why did Pete Waterman only get £11? I'm not sure. I don't know what the PRS royalty rate was at the time, and I don't know how much of a cut Waterman's publishing company took before paying him his portion of the royalties.

The second Paid Content post, dated June 1, simply notes that negotiations are ongoing.
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