The music royalties collection body for the UK has sharply cut its prices for internet music tracks, paving the way for more online streaming services.

Under the new pricing plan from PRS for Music, which represents composers and lyricists, digital music sites will have to pay 0.085p for each track streamed, down from the previous rate of 0.22p.

PRS, which negotiates song and lyrics licence fees for the public performance of music, has agreements with radio stations, television broadcasters and online music channels in the UK. It said that the new plan would “enable the digital market to grow”.

The cut may entice YouTube and popular “internet radio” service Pandora back to the UK market.


YouTube blocked premium music videos to UK users in March after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the PRS. Pandora ended its UK stream at the start of 2008, saying that the old rate was prohibitively expensive.

PRS, a not-for-profit organisation, collected a record £117 million in the first three months of 2009 on behalf of its members.

Andrew Shaw, managing director of broadcast and online at PRS for Music, said: “We believe these new streaming rates will stimulate growth in the digital music market and will benefit our licensees and our members.

“The Copyright Tribunal established the principle of a per stream minimum to protect creators; maintaining this principle will ensure that writers, composers and music publishers continue to be rewarded every time their music is enjoyed.

“As new entrants join the market and existing providers expand, music creators will reap the rewards by sharing in the success that their talent is generating. This is a good deal for music creators and for music lovers.”

YouTube blocked thousands of music videos by the biggest names in rock and pop for British users after failing to reach agreement with the PRS. Official videos from all major music publishers and independent labels, covering artists from Rihanna to U2 and the Killers, have remained unobtainable since the move. YouTube, which is owned by Google, said that it took the unprecedented action after PRS demanded a “prohibitive” increase in licensing fees. YouTube said that under PRS’s proposed terms it would lose significant amounts of money with every playback.

PRS hit back with a campaign backed by leading British songwriters called Fair Play for Creators.

YouTube said in a statement: “We welcome any efforts to make licensing costs more realistic, but as we’re still in discussions with the PRS to agree licence terms for YouTube we’re unable to comment further.”

Steve Purdham, head of the music streaming service We7, told BBC News that he welcomed the new charges. “It’s brilliant. Not so much the rates but the realisation by the PRS that things have to change in the digital world. Till now it’s felt like they were not listening,” he said.

The rates for streaming services for its new Online Music Licences which comes into effect on July 1. The new rates will apply for 3 years. The various Online Music Licences replace the Joint Online Licence, which was set by the Copyright Tribunal in 2007 for two years.

Posted By: Thomas /d Zouwe