In the midst of this summer’s music festival season UK festival organisers are looking at a huge shakeup of royalty payments, the biggest in the past 20 years. This could more than double the compulsory levy on their ticket sales, leading to higher prices for festivalgoers reports the Guardian
It looks like these new proposals will hit the smaller , independent festivals particularly hard. Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, which runs events including Leeds, Reading, and Latitude calls the step “money-grabbing”.
The Performing Rights Society has since 1964 taken a flat 3% levy on all ticket sales on behalf of writers and publishers. These are tariffs that live music venues are charged for the use of copyright music. But PRS is proposing a change to the royalty fee structure in line with charges elsewhere in Europe, as the PRS claim the live performance tariff is one of the lowest rates in the world. The proposition would also extend its levy to the proceeds of merchandising, guest passes and sponsorship.
The approx 400 annual festivals generated more than £1bn for the UK economy last year alone.
Executive director licensing at PRS for Music, Jeremy Fabinyi explained: “It is right that we continually review our charges and approach, ensuring there is a fair balance between music users and creators. The live music industry has changed considerably in the last 20 years and this consultation will be open to everyone, to discuss whether the current tariff structure is relevant for today’s live scene in the UK.”
Melvin Benn countered that PRS are carrying out “a money-grabbing exercise which is opportunistic in a way that’s hard to believe”. He added that the proposals would “unquestionably” lead to ticket prices going up, and that the combination of January’s VAT hike of 2.5% and a doubling of the levy would add £3 to £5 to, for example, the Latitude day ticket of £60.
Louis Castellani, a litigation expert and partner with solicitors Harbottle & Lewis, said: “The consultation document is a clear indication that the PRS, which is a monopoly rights holder in the UK, is going to push promoters and event organisers to pay a much higher fee to stage those events. If a consensus cannot be reached on a new tariff, then the Copyright Tribunal will be asked to step in and adjudicate.”
The Guardian furthermore reported that the PRS will this week announce that it is extending the consultation after festival organisers expressed their anger that it had been launched at the start of the peak festival season.Just Published:
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