PRS - Performing Rights

The Performing Rights Society (PRS) is a non-profit making membership organisation of composers, songwriters, authors, arrangers and publishers of music, which collects and distributes performing rights royalties on behalf of its members.
‘Performing Rights’ include the right to perform a work in public i.e. playing music at gigs or in pubs, clubs etc and the right to communicate the work to the public i.e. radio or TV broadcasting, broadcasting on demand and use of music on the Internet interactive services, including satellite and cable transmissions.
PRS is known as a ‘collecting society’ as their main function is to collect royalties from music users in the UK. This is done by issuing a licence to music users such as TV broadcasting companies, concert venues, clubs, pubs, shops etc. The PRS then collects information about what songs have been played.  
PRS also collects royalties from other countries around the world. Most foreign countries have a collecting society, some have more than one. They will send the royalties generated by performances of UK writers' music in their country to PRS for distribution.
PRS makes a deduction from the royalties it collects in order to pay for the running of the organisation. PRS currently pays out royalties four times a year.
The benefits of PRS Membership are the efficient collection and payment of royalties, detailed statements of paid royalties, and registration of works.
To join PRS costs a writer £100 (inc. VAT) and publishers £400 (inc. VAT) which is a one-off payment for life membership
New members need to prove that their music is currently being performed in PRS-licensed premises. Proof of this includes:
  • A letter from a TV or Radio Producer saying that they've broadcast one of your tunes
  • A concert programme 'clearly detailing your performance'
  • A letter from a promoter with details of where and when your tune was performed
If you're a co-writer, you need to inform the PRS of how you'd like to split the royalties between you and your collaborators. You also need to give details of all the music you've written so they can pay your royalties accordingly.