Make Extra Income Without Doing Extra Work - PRS For Music, PPL & MSPC

what is prs for music

Make Extra Income Without Doing Extra Work - PRS For Music, PPL & MSPC


What is PRS For Music, PPL & MSPC?

Arrgh! All these acronyms, what do they mean/stand for/do!? As soon as you hear about them you’re scared into submission and think “I’ll deal with this another day”. But there’s a really really good reason why you shouldn’t be put off dealing with PRS (Performing Right Society), PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) & MCPS (Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society) - and the reason is that you could be making money by doing not much more than what you’re already doing.

We spoke with a representative from PRS for Music who told us a lot more on the matter and cleared up a few things. Dan’s job is to make sure artists are aware of PRS for Music and that they’re educated enough to know they could be making money from it.

Listen to this podcast and learn more on how to grow and develop as a musician with our archive on ITUNES | STITCHER | YOUTUBE

In simple terms, Dan explained that PRS is a royalty collection and distribution society - “our members are songwriter composers and music publishers, and our customers any business that uses music through licensed activities, we allow those customers to use our members music and pass those fees to the members”

So first up PRS isn’t about making money from you the artist but their job is to make sure that you make money. They are the governing body that makes sure that the artists who create the work get paid for their music.

In super simple terms it goes like this.

Artist makes music > music is performed or played > PRS collect royalties for performance > PRS give artist royalties

What about PPL AND MCPS? A PPL licence will pay the royalties to the record companies and performers, contrasting to the PRS for Music licence which collects royalties on behalf of the composers, publishers and songwriters for the use of the musical composition and lyrics in public.

PRS and PPL may seem similar they can turn out paying completed different people - PRS can pay the person who wrote the music while PPL can pay the group of people who performed on that track - ideal for session musicians or people who weren’t part of writing the music or even the group who owns the recording - like a label.

MCPS on the other hand is technically part of PRS and handles things like streaming plays and so on - but it’s all encompassed in PRS.

PRS Can Make You Money In The Background

Okay so you’re convinced PRS is the good guy, great! But how exactly can we get you to cash in on this and watch the money roll in?

The main reasons to join PRS would be to get paid for your music when it’s played or performed in public by you or someone else, whether in an open-mic jam night or playing at the O2 Academy, or if it’s streamed on YouTube or played on Eastenders. Film & broadcast can earn you big fees for songwriters or composers and joining PRS and registering your music with them means that you’ll get paid for all of these performances.

So how much money will you earn from your music performance with PRS? This really depends as there are different royalty sources Here are some rough statistics shared with us by Sam.

Radio 1: £15 per minute of airplay

Radio 2: £15+ per minute of airplay (as it’s a more popular station)

BBC 1: £100 per minute of airplay

Small bar/venue: £7

Big venue: up to 3% of ticket sales. This can be a lot of money if you’re opening up for a bigger act in a large venue where tickets are £60-£100.


Sign Up To PRS For Music & Start Earning Royalties

The easiest way to start earning with PRS For Music is to sign up via their website. There’s a once-time fee of £100 which is certainly an investment. It might sound like a lot but if you’re playing 15 small gigs in a year you will have already made your money back with everything else being profit. It really is a no-brainer considering is lasts a lifetime (and more - you next of kin can continue claiming from airplay up to 70 years after your death!).

PRS recently launched a new tool for members, you log in, tell them the name of the venue and the date along with the song titles and they’ll collect royalties on your behalf from the venue (their customer).

However, you can’t claim from before you joined. As long as you’ve joined though you can claim for up to a three year backlog. If you were to sign up tomorrow and file no claims for a year you could still make a claim at a later date. PRS also has agreements with societies in 150 countries so that artists can be paid for their music usage outside of the UK. 

Approval is fast and as long as a venue is licensed you can make your claim (most places - big or small are licensed).

You can claim on YouTube videos and Spotify too, so if your music appears on Reload Sessions or someone else has uploaded it or even you’ve uploaded it - though there are lots of factors to consider, but the more plays on that video the higher the fee for the royalties will be for your original composition.

If you want more info on PRS For Music, overseas payments, royalty rates, streaming or downloads, click here to visit PRS' website.


PRS For Music is certainly something we suggest all career or even part-time artists should sign up with because it’s a one-off fee and you should be able to make your money back quiet easily as long as you’re consistent with getting your music heard - plus the membership lasts a literal lifetime so you will be collecting royalties in 10 years time on a video that was uploaded last week.

When you think of it like that - it’s a no brainer!