By tutor Joanna McGowan
If you are a songwriter and/or composer and you have not registered yourself on PRS then open up a new Internet tab, type in www.prsformusic.com, and get ready to join - because you will want to by the time you’ve finished reading this.
What is the PRS?
PRS (Performing Rights Society Limited) collects royalties when music is performed in public and distributes to writers quarterly. Whether the song or piece is performed in a small pub or in an arena, royalties are collected on behalf of the writers…yes, that does mean you can earn some money from that unpaid pub gig you did last week!
Who is the PRS for?
PRS is a must for every UK based songwriter and/or composer, and it’s a misconception that it is only for singer/songwriters. If you have produced (with songwriting credits), written or co-written a song/piece of music that is being performed by anyone anywhere, PRS has money sat in a pot waiting for you…but you need to tell them its happening first.
So, once you’ve created your account and paid the £50 admin fee (don’t worry, you’ll earn that back quickly if your work is being regularly performed) you have to remember to LOG YOUR GIGS!! Yes, this does mean manually inputting every performance, and yes it can get boring (although if you’re tech savvy I’m sure you’ll work out how to create a set list that you can quickly select as a pre-set for each gig a lot faster than I managed to). But when you get the email saying you’ve got some money from all those open mics, you start to feel the benefit!
You’ll get into a routine of logging gigs fairly quickly; I tend to do mine in one bunch every couple of months as I find selecting my set lists easier. I have left a long gap between logging before, and once you’ve spent a good hour logging gigs on the PRS website, you really wish you’d done it as soon as you finished the gig. I mean, what creative person wants to sit and do a load of admin eh?
PRS is important - it’s one of those many trickling incomes us musicians have that keep us afloat! Oh, and they’re really friendly on the phone if you get confused anywhere…no, really they are!!