Founded in 1914 under the name 'Performing Right Society' the UK company, since 2009 known as PRS, is a performance rights organisation that acts on behalf of music intellectual property holders in collecting royalties and calculating usages. In 2007 the company announced that they had processed only fifteen million music usages, but now, in 2013, PRS announced during a panel meeting, covered on Digital Music News, that that this number has grown to a whopping one-hundred and twenty-four billion in only five years.
Without having to confuse everyone with how PRS processes a play count and its mechanism, why and where is PRS exactly getting this sheer increase in usage? This answer is really quite simple to explain. As we live in an age where scores of digital devices are all connected to the internet, streaming sites have processed music into a commodity that can be accessed either at a fixed or portable location. Ironically a percentage of the time the average individual may not even know that they are consuming music. Music isn't just consumed as music on its own, it appears on television programs, in movies, short clips during adverts, in shops, and most importantly it is streamed.
PRS has stated that streaming media is where this huge rise has come from. As you consume music on YouTube, Vevo, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Internet radio, during podcasts, etc. you have, perhaps inadvertently, become a statistic and one which needs to be accounted for. These numbers all need to be calculated so that the relevant provider can pay for use of the artists intellectual property. Some music providers pay for your use of property by advertising revenues and some charge you a fee to use their service, but in the end it all calculates down to the same thing.
In a time where the music industry is clutching at straws trying to stop the global piracy epidemic, streaming is an avenue that has own presence and is making some serious headway. However, whilst this may be the case, it has been noted by a number of musicians that PRS is taking too long to process the royalty payments. On some occasions has taken many months. Granted this is an issue, but it is unsurprising when taking into account the huge number of transactions they have to process. In fact PRS have addressed these comments with words to the effect of 'would you rather be inaccurately or accurately paid'. Ultimately this system needs to be updated but at least it is one which works.
Founded in 1914 under the name 'Performing Right Society' the UK company, since 2009 known as PRS, is a performance rights organisation that acts on behalf of music intellectual property…