Insights PRS for Music publishes update on its Online Live Concert licence


The PRS for Music licence for ticketed online live gigs and concerts, which will apply while material restrictions apply to physical live concerts, has been updated:

  • PRS for Music members performing their own work (where they control 100% of the rights) can now obtain a discretionary licence, no matter how much revenue is generated from the events;
  • small events generating up to £1,500 can now either obtain a fixed rate licence or apply for a bespoke rate linked to specific event revenues;
  • the commitment to not retroactively seek licences from small-scale online live concerts has been extended to include all events which generated up to £1,500 in revenue that took place in 2020;
  • all Online Live Concert licences will now allow viewing access for 72 hours, extended from 24 hours; and
  • an interim discounted rate of 10% (+VAT) will be applied to online live concerts while the physical sector is facing material restrictions on its ability to operate.

The changes to the existing Online Live Concert (OLC) licence follow a call-for-views and roundtables held with key stakeholders from across the industry including venues, event promoters, digital platforms, and PRS for Music members: songwriters, composers, and music publishers.

Nearly 2,000 responses to the call-for-views were received; 80% from PRS for Music members. Of the members who responded, 51% had held, or were planning to hold, an online live concert, while 54% reported having had their work performed by someone else.

PRS for Music says that the interim 10% (+VAT) discounted rate is designed to support the live music sector during this difficult time, while ensuring members, who themselves saw an 80% decline in live royalties in 2020, are paid when their music is used. The discounted rate will apply while material restrictions are in place for the live concert sector, after which, a permanent rate will be benchmarked against other online premium video and streaming services, reflecting both the rights exploited and the market in which they operate.

The OLC licence is available for pop gigs originating in the UK which are ticketed, sponsored or require a mandatory donation to access. For classical and theatrical events, PRS for Music says that it is in ongoing discussions with the sectors to determine whether variances are necessary to reflect differences in the way these events operate and are already licensed. Free events on platforms including YouTube and Facebook do not require an OLC licence, as they are usually covered by the platform’s licence. To read PRS for Music’s press release in full, click here.