PRS for Music has today, 27 January, launched a new licencing portal for music venue operators and promoters staging small-scale, UK-based, livestream events expected to generate less than £500 in revenue. It has also promised to apply temporary discounted rates for more profitable shows until the live sector can reopen.

The move follows the much criticised proposal that livestream events should be subject to a tariff of between 8% and 17% of gross revenues, compared to 4.2% charged at normal in-person live shows, which prompted the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) to send a joint letter to PRS for Music CEO Andrea Martin last month urging her to reconsider the move.

PRS for Music said the new portal will enable event organisers to pay the fixed licence fee and obtain the necessary rights for their event simply and quickly. It said it would not be actively pursuing licences for livestreamed events that took place prior to the launch of the new portal, which would have qualified for the fixed fee license.

The blanket rate for a show that generates less than £250 is £22.50, and £45 for an event that generates between £250 and £500.

The organisation said it recognised that as long as the physical live sector remains closed, livestreamed concerts are in part substitutional for physical concerts, and that it is proposing to apply temporary discounted rates until the live sector can reopen.

It said conversations are active and ongoing with major licensees about the details of such discounted rates. In the meantime, it said anyone considering planning an online ticketed music event that does not qualify for the fixed fee licence should contact the PRS for Music licensing team for “bespoke advice” on licensing options.

It said it is negotiating with other societies to deliver licensing solutions for UK based concerts which might be accessed internationally.

Martin said,  “We are continuing to work hard to agree a range of licensing options for providers of larger events, including a proposed discounted rate during the pandemic. This is a part of the market which has seen exponential growth and is itself constantly evolving, meeting the expectations for worldwide blanket licences is alone no small feat, but we are committed to finding solutions which ensure members can be paid fairly when their works are performed.”