You are here

PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Steve Hill » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:59 pm

The law firm I consult for is pitching to work for PRS collecting their debts.

I'd be grateful if any PRS members here had any views on where the "leaks" in the system are, and how PRS might more effectively recoup what's due to their members - or indeed the reverse, where PRS are possibly applying overkill getting every last 10p out of the village hairdressers, when their (your!) limited resources might be better spent in other directions.
User avatar
Steve Hill
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3266
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2003 12:00 am

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby feline1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:53 am

Look I will tell you for a fact that PRS often completely 100% FAIL to collect writer royalties even in a situation where the works in question are all registered perfectly in their database,
and recordings of them are sold on a major online retailer with 100% reporting (iTunes).

(Because iTunes and other stores identify recordings by ISRC, and PRS know nothing of ISRCs... so if iTunes report that they sold a recording of "Baby I Love You" by Some Band PRS Have Never Heard of,
and there's 37 songs called "Baby I Love You" in their database, then PRS have no clue as to which songwriter wrote the one on that particular recording)

As you can imagine, their matching of usage data and attendant royalty distribution are orders of magnitude worse when the songs' entries on the database are not perfect,
and when the usage data is from a less than perfect source (i.e. one where the playlist or cue sheet is manually written up rather than autogenerated by a billing system).


In other words,
money does not go astray due to naughty retailers or broadcasters evading PRS:
to a hugely greater extent, it goes astray because PRS's IT systems are not fit for purpose and need a kick up the arse.
And PRS don't even ASK for usage data from many sources because they don't feel they can cope with processing it.

e.g. of the hundreds of community radio stations round the country with an OFCOMM license, PRS charges them all a flat annual fee and does not request ANY usage data from them.


PRS need to stop living in an abstracted bubble where a musical work is distinct from a recording of that musical work. That was fair enough 100 years ago when the primary means of dissemination was printed sheet music. It's not any more.
They need to get their act together with PPL and interlink their two databases, so every recording (with an ISRC) is cross-referenced to the musical composition (with an ISWC or tunecode).

They mumbled something about plans to do this is a newsletter,
but it needed to happen about 15 years ago, not in 5 years time.

They also need to sort out the flippin shambles of their ICE database, where every time a work is edited, it creates a duplicate database entry: you can end up with half a dozen entries all for the same song, with no ready way to tell which is the right one.
User avatar
feline1
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2465
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~


Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Steve Hill » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:41 am

Thank Feline... why am I not surprised you're first out of the gate on this one?!
User avatar
Steve Hill
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3266
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2003 12:00 am

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby feline1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:20 pm

Happy to oblige

In short, I think the most effective thing to gather more PRS royalties would be for your legal firm to take out a 'super-complaint' with the Information Commissioner

I'm a bit vague as to PRS's legal status anyways. I am a "writer member" of both PRS and MCPS but that does not entitle me to vote on anything or have a say in anything... are PRS a ltd company or wot?

Quite what it legally means to be a "member" of them seems not altogether clear to me - perhaps it is more in the anatomical sense than anything else?
e.g. PRS for instance instantly refused to disclose the terms of their licensing agreement with YouTube to their "members"...
User avatar
feline1
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2465
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~


Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:34 pm

Hi Steve,

Well in my experience it's a communication problem and the restructuring of PRS. I've lost contact with people simply because one minute they're there and the next minute they're gone and someone else is dealing with my case.

When it come to UK royalties they have been really good, but as for ASCAP etc it's a nightmare. ASCAP just send a lump sum and don't state every part of the income. When I informed PRS they said that ASCAP said that the income was correct.


I have supplied the cue sheets, directly from the music supervisors. I have told PRS the exact day of transmission and in which territories it has been played and so on. I'm still waiting for royalties from over 4 years ago.
Guest

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby * User requested deletion * » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:00 pm

Music Manic wrote:Hi Steve,

Well in my experience it's a communication problem and the restructuring of PRS. I've lost contact with people simply because one minute they're there and the next minute they're gone and someone else is dealing with my case.

I have it on very good authority that member services is a training ground. The first port of call for newbie PRS staff. Once it is proven they send emails and can create a simple document in word, they move up the ladder into a different dept.

I love the PRS actually. Without them I would be stacking shelves without a doubt. Easy to criticise them but we should consider the vast job they do.

There are ongoing issues I have had (one for over a year now) but they do get resolved in time. If you raise a dispute, forget it and move on - it will be dealt with. If you raise a dispute and expect resolution within a week/month, you will be disappointed. They do have alot to deal with - for example, there's alot of time wasted in looking into ill-considered disputes - i.e. "dear PRS I was told my tune 'Fishy Friends' was gonna be used for 300 days on the Disney Middle East Primetime channel. But I see no sign of 'Fishy Friends' in my statement."

In PRS's defence, I would imagine that they have to deal with a great many idiotic enquries. Unfortunately, these create a virtual field on thick mud which they have to wade through at a slow rate in order to get round to my legitimate claims.
* User requested deletion *
Regular
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby feline1 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:43 pm

Derek,
the fact that I regularly see totally straightforward and legitimate 'Service Quests' disappear down a black hole rather raises doubts on the competance of many of the staff there, notwithstanding any demands on their time from "idiotic" queries.

A friend of mine joined MCPS as a writer member after about 7 months of trying (including them sending him back the forms claiming that proof of ID was missing... except it wasn't and they'd return the proof to him along with the forms)... they took so long to cash his £50 cheque it had nearly expired...
Since gaining his membership he's been trying without success for over half a year to get backroyalties on half a dozen BBC DVDs which features a couple of his tunes.
Both the tunes are present and correct in the PRS database, as are all the BBC DVDs in question, and their license pages clearly list my friend's tunes as being included....
......yet for over half a year various staff have been "investigating" this for him, often telling him on the phone how it's gonna be "wicked".
Perhaps it's being dealt with by the Special Needs team.
User avatar
feline1
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2465
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~


Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:45 pm

Derek from Doncaster wrote:

If you raise a dispute and expect resolution within a week/month, you will be disappointed. They do have alot to deal with - for example, there's alot of time wasted in looking into ill-considered disputes - i.e. "dear PRS I was told my tune 'Fishy Friends' was gonna be used for 300 days on the Disney Middle East Primetime channel. But I see no sign of 'Fishy Friends' in my statement."

In PRS's defence, I would imagine that they have to deal with a great many idiotic enquries. Unfortunately, these create a virtual field on thick mud which they have to wade through at a slow rate in order to get round to my legitimate claims.

What makes your claims legitimate?

My claims are from a show that has a 100 million viewers and is very well known!
The people you speak to on the phone aren't the ones that collect the royalties! It's a different department.


If PRS have all the information given then what's the delay?
What do I have to expect from a collecting agency? It's like me getting into a cab, and the driver asking me to wait while he learns to drive.

To re-iterate PRS are good with UK royalties but there's a major brickwall when it comes to overseas.
Ok we have to wait 2 years but if this happens everytime, when waiting for four years then questions are asked.

There must be a lot of money being made over the dormant royalties waiting to get paid.
Guest

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby jrbcm » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:37 pm

The problem PRS have is that foreign collection agencies just don't pay up. That's only gonna get resolved with fully integrated international database systems, and that aint gonna happen cos countries like Germany don't wanna pay up. I've had about 20 + ads go out in Germany and never had a bean.

If PRS want fewer 'stupid' service requests they might consider trying to project some kind of reality on their website/literature/emails/phone conversations etc. rather than implying that payment for all work is just some kind of automated formality.
jrbcm
Regular
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Guest » Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:34 am

johnny artpants wrote:That's only gonna get resolved with fully integrated international database systems, ..

Yes agreed! A unique code attached, then no problems.
Guest

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby tonally_confused » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:00 am

feline1 wrote:
Perhaps it's being dealt with by the Special Needs team.

I'm sure you are pretty frustrated, but that's pretty harsh.

If you use similar charm in your writer queries, I suspect they are being deleted.

I've been dealing with the PRS for a while now. Sometimes there are issues that need following up, but I've yet to deal with anyone that was 'special needs'.

Generally most of my queries are related to paperwork errors, lack of cue sheets, lazy publishers etc, none of which is anything to do with the PRS.
tonally_confused
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:00 pm

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby Emmet » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:43 am

I've just logged on and seen that I have outstanding claims dating back to July 2009 that they haven't been processed.

Efficient!
Emmet
Regular
Posts: 173
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PRS - improving musicians' recoveries

Postby feline1 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:21 pm

tonally_confused wrote:
feline1 wrote:
Perhaps it's being dealt with by the Special Needs team.

I'm sure you are pretty frustrated, but that's pretty harsh.

If you use similar charm in your writer queries, I suspect they are being deleted.

I've been dealing with the PRS for a while now. Sometimes there are issues that need following up, but I've yet to deal with anyone that was 'special needs'.

Generally most of my queries are related to paperwork errors, lack of cue sheets, lazy publishers etc, none of which is anything to do with the PRS.

Well bully for you,
and you can get stuffed with your santimonious misquotes.
User avatar
feline1
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2465
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

~~~ A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with! www.feline1.co.uk ~~~



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests