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Posted by: Kristina Watts, 27 Jun 2011 4:48PM
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I have to pay the PRS

Hi, I've just had a letter from the PRS and I'm going to have to pay to play music in my 1 little treatment room at home in which I see maybe 4 or 5 clients a week. I have to pay £104 for last year and £71 for this year - eek! This is apparently the same cost as if I had a salon or therapy centre with a waiting room and upto 5 treatment rooms - how is this fair? Why is it so hard for us to make even a small living. Grrh! I don't have a problem with paying per se (fair do's, I AM playing someone's music after all), I just feel that it shouldn't be so much for us part-time at home therapists. Also, I get the impression (having just spoken to the PRS) that they are targeting all the small health and beauty therapists so beware people if you don't already have a license - and if you work in a salon or therapy centre, better check that THEY have a license.


Barbara Lewis
27 Jun 2011 5:08PM

i had this problem last year -as i do not play music all the time as in shops /hair salons etc but just for some treatments it seemed a very high price to pay although i agree with the need to get royalties etc ithere seemed to be some confusion about playing to one person in a treatments session and it depends what you play :some mood music / relaxation tapes are not subject to this charge however i was threatened wirh back dated charges when i said i would fro m then on only play these , i have not heard anything since my refusal to pay and i no longer play musci when i teach again this was something i woud look on line for royalty free music / tapes or check with individual performing artists it is not jsut small businesses but any one who may play music to the public who is being tagetted with these quite threatening calls the associations i believe have taken it up on our behalf barb
John Sams
27 Jun 2011 5:09PM

Bought my music from ichillmusic.com and I don't think I need any license to play their tracks. John
Angelina Kelly
28 Jun 2011 9:26AM

Hi Kristina, I work from home, in Dublin, Ireland, and as yet have not had to deal with this situation however no doubt it will as it usually follows that what happens in England comes to Ireland some time later. Thanks for highlighting this. As you say it is cost prohibitive for us small therapists and seems to be misguided on the authorities part. Now that I'm aware of it I'll keep an eye out for it and maybe I'll get on to our Governing Bodies here so that we have things in place before it hits us. Thanks Angelina
Barbara Lewis
28 Jun 2011 9:45AM

i forgot to say that i had the letter and then a phone call from another 'company' and i think that was when i would source non license music, it appeared to me to be too aggressive and threatening an approach which i think has alienated a lot of people however a hairdressers in this area has been fined under this legislation but the single person in a room for a massage remains a grey area- i even asked what if they brought their own music! this did not elicit a positive customer care response !
Amanda Clegg
28 Jun 2011 2:40PM

It's a tricky one - I live wiht a professional musician and the PRS royalties are essential income (or would be, if we sold enough music!). However, as long as you are not playing the radio, or any purchased CDs that are under copyright (ie commerial pop/rock/classical - and it will say onhte cd or sleeve something about public broadcasting prohibited) then you are ok. There's plenty of royalty free music available, as John says PRS is there for the ordinary musicians - not just the famous names, but all the jobbing musicians who play on their albums, in the orchestras etc. you get paid if you are registered as playing on a recording (pennies, but it helps)and without that payment we'd have no session musicians anywhere. However, I agree that PRS rather bullying approach is not fair on those of us who don't run commercial premises. It's indicative of the muddle they've got themselves into with the advent of music downloading etc which has made a mockery of the whole copyright/payments system. Won't go into that - anyone who's interested then please pm me!
Kristina Watts
28 Jun 2011 4:06PM

Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. I'm not sure how I'm going to proceed yet, but I too had the idea of suggesting to my clients they may like to bring the music of their choice to listen to! I wondered how that may be received by the PRS. I also quickly checked on the ichill website and had a very quick listen to some of their music. It is indeed license-free and seems to be quite nice. But what of my rather comprehensive "back catalogue" of lovely CD's I've been collecting all these years?!! There's a limit to how much "mood music" a girl can listen to in her spare time! I do appreciate that jobbing musicians need their income just as we do, so it's a dilemma.... Have just remembered I have a friend working in a Royalties capacity - I shall grill him and report back! Tina.
Amanda Clegg
28 Jun 2011 4:22PM

let us know what he says! I too really don't like 'mood music' - much prefer the real thing!
Marian Child
28 Jun 2011 7:25PM

Unfortnuately, it is not only the PRS we need to worry about but also the PPL - Phonographic Performance Ltd see links below http://www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/Playing-Music-and-Videos-In-Public/Health--Beauty/ http://www.ppluk.com/Documents/Information%20Leaflets/WDINAML_lo_res_LATEST.pdf. So, what I would like to know is, if I go out and record the sounds of a stream...the sea....birdsong etc, can i get around paying all these fees
Amanda Clegg
28 Jun 2011 9:01PM

yes, absolutely, because its your recording. You could even become a record company and register it with CATCO who are the other bit of prs/ppl who deal with the releasing of recording! :) Seriously - yes you'd be fine wiht your own recordings of anything you or friends (wildlife) are performing.
Marian Child
29 Jun 2011 12:21PM

So just to clarify what you are saying - can I record my own MUSIC for example on the computer. I am sure I read somewhere about a guitarist that recorded his own music and played the recording at work and was prosecuted. Should he have registered his record with CATCO as you suggested.
Amanda Clegg
29 Jun 2011 12:40PM

it has to be YOUR OWN music/sound composition- if you record someone elses you have to pay the composer for the recording rights if the piece is still in copyright (which I think lasts for 70 yrs after death)
Angelina Kelly
29 Jun 2011 12:51PM

Hi all, Oh! how I pine for the days when things were simple. How can we concentrate on doing our work (healing) when we have so much other "stuff" to contend with? I know musicians have to be paid but I assumed that CDs bought in a record shop, wholesalers or other reputable saler had the royalties built in to the price. As for broadcasting, how can playing music quietly to only one person be regarded as "broadcasting". Honestly, I don't know. These rules are obviously made by people who have'nt a clue. I've passed this on to the Irish Reflexologists' Instutite and they tell me they are bringing it up at the next Board meeting. It will be interesting to see their reply. Angelina
Amanda Clegg
29 Jun 2011 4:53PM

I totally agree with you - it does seem unfair, particularly, as you say, one is only playing background music to one person! don't know what the prs ability to police it is - I personally usually forget to put music on: once I've started my client consultation,I usually find I've got oily fingers and have started massaging, and offered a choice, I've found over the years that many clients actually prefer the solace of silence, which is interesting. I guess you don't play music to anyone until you know whether they acutally want you to, and you know who they work for!
Eleanor Fisher
30 Jun 2011 5:55PM

I had this letter a couple of years ago. I phoned them up and explained, home business etc and they said I did not have to pay. They said it was targeted at bigger salons playing music all day every day. Unless the rules have changed recently.
Amanda Clegg
30 Jun 2011 6:18PM

thanks Eleanor - on talking to another therapist I think this is the case! phew :)
Kristina Watts
12 Jul 2011 9:55PM

Just to let you know, I'm being an "ostrich" about this and just avoiding their calls - which amount to 1 or 2 a day, pretty much every day. When they get my answerphone then a recorded message of their own clicks in. I'm just doing this as I haven't yet decided how to handle them and also I guess I'm hoping they will get bored of trying and stop calling! I haven't had a chance to speak with my friend in Royalties, but did catch his wife the other day. Her immediate response was "oh yes, you need a licence!" That wasn't the answer I wanted to hear! I have a feeling that I'm probably going to end up having to pay - I'm just delaying it for now - but to avoid future yearly fees I will go down the licence-free music route.
Angela Rawlins
21 Jul 2011 10:40PM

!! How do 'THEY' know you may be playing music? How do they know you are playing music by their members?? CAN THEY PROVE you are playing licenced music? I have been having discussions about PRS at home with one trainee tax inspector, Ex-Director/Accountant trained bank official currently working for the gouvernment. YES, there is a legal requirement, BUT.... I feel therapists are being targeted and it seems unfair. An aquaintance has also had one of these letters. I would never reply to it or answer any questions by phone. After all, I wouldn't be certain that who ever is calling is bonefide and not a scammer. I'd require to see proof and identification. These sound rather threatening.
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