Claiming your music royalties – a personal “how to” guide from PRS for Music.

“We need to recognise the true value of music, and the work that goes into its creation and performance, whether that’s to a live audience or online.”

Harriet Wybor, PRS for Music

This is the philosophy behind PRS for Music as Harriet Wybor explains to Katie Beardsworth in the latest episode of the Polyphony Arts Music Works podcast.

After a highly successful first season in which saw our new podcast garner over 1200 listens with over 2000 views of the video editions, we kick off the New Year with a look at what for many creatives is the thorny issue of royalties, what they are and how to claim them.

Performing rights apply when music is performed or played in public in concerts, shops, online via radio and TV broadcasts; mechanical rights refer to the reproduction of music when music is copied into CDs, DVDs and also online and via radio and TV broadcasts (these last three examples involve a combination of both performing and mechanical rights).

Which may sound simple, but this is definitely a situation where knowledge is power. But the knowledge, as Harriet explains, can be complex and tricky to navigate, hence PRS for Music.

Katie hits the basic problem square on the head:

“For any composers out there who think that all other composers understand how all this works, they definitely don’t!”

The good news is: you only need to understand enough and then hand over to Harriet who has a masterful command of everything anyone could possibly need to know about music royalties and then some.

Over the course of half an hour Harriet walks us through the thinking behind royalties, acknowledges why they are important and sets out with dazzling clarity the work PRS for Music does, not only to recover royalties on behalf of their members, but also to support the work of new composers and those suffering financial hardship.

The service they offer is impressive.

“I have helped composers in the past who say things like, ‘Oh, it’s really taken a weight off my shoulders getting something sorted out’” which is a feeling we can all identify with.

It’s reassuring to hear her calm and factual approach. She encourages anyone with a question, whether a member or not to give her a call. There are, she says, no silly questions and there is never, ever any judgement.

Even if you are not a composer, but have an interest or an involvement in the classical music industry, this episode is a fascinating listening.

You can find Music Works and this episode here on the website or you can listen on all the usual podcast channels.

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