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The importance of collecting societies, often known as PROs (Performing Rights Organizations), in the careers of all music creators cannot be emphasised enough.


These organisations support all the music creators by collecting royalties on their behalf, every time their music is broadcast on TV, radio, or online, played in public, or performed live – allowing them to receive the essential monetisation for their hard work.


However, we know there are times when music creators make mistakes, especially when starting their career, who didn’t register with a PRO and lost a lot of money that was fairly due to them as a result!


Even for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while, the way in which the roles of Performing Rights Organizations can seem to overlap, leads to ongoing confusion, especially when one is surrounded by acronyms 🙂


But don’t you worry; we’ve collected some information to answer your questions about the different collecting societies accessible in the United Kingdom:




PRS for Music is the home of the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS).


Performing Rights Society (PRS) pay royalties to their members when artists’ work are:


  • Broadcast on TV or radio
  • Performed or played in public, whether live or recorded
  • Streamed or downloaded


Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) pay royalties to their members when their music is:


  • Copied as physical products, such as CDs and DVDs
  • Streamed or downloaded
  • Used in TV, film or radio (sync)


As we can see, the biggest difference between these two societies is that PRS represents the performing right – when tunes are played or performed live. This can include concerts, gigs, TV, and other downloads & streaming services.


MCPS represents the mechanical right – when the music is copied or reproduced in different formats, such as vinyl, CDs, DVDs and other streaming services.


Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) pay royalties to their members when their music is:


  • Broadcast on TV, radio, and online
  • Played at business or organisation’s premises???
  • Copied for services such as in-store music systems and jukeboxes


More UK’s rights holders and collecting societies:


  • Video Performance Limited (VPL) – licences the right to perform music video recordings (usually by broadcasters, clubs and pubs).
  • The Music Publishers Association (MPA) – the MPA licence prints musical scores and collects royalties for the copyright owners, whilst actively promoting the songs. The MPA are helpful if you wish to liaise with or trace a particular copyright owner to obtain permission to use their work.


Just to make it clear, if you are a music creator, consider registering with your researched and preferred PRO in order to receive your owned royalties and also to have your music protected by the copyright.


If you are not registered, there will be times when you won’t know when your music is being played in public which will result in you losing your money!




You might find this article from ACM helpful


How To: Make Money from Royalties with PRS for Music



How to Earn Royalties via PRS For Music (FFL!) – Interview with Greg Marshall from PRS for Music



In order to collect money for your royalties, your music or music you’re featured in needs to be properly registered. For many it might seem confusing and not clear, that’s why PPL comes with some helpful tutorials on ‘How to register repertoire with PPL’


How to register repertoire with PPL: Registering a Recording



How to register repertoire with PPL: Bulk uploading your recordings



How to register repertoire with PPL: Register a release



How to register repertoire with PPL: Manage Repertoire



PRS and PPL also organise online workshops where you can find out more about the organisation, process and you can ask questions. Sign up for their newsletters to be up to date with everything they do.


TIP* – If you forgot or struggle to find the ISRC number for your release, this website might come in handy. All you need to know is the title of the song you’re looking for and it will show you your ISRC number and other information about your track (scroll down to the ‘SONG INFO’ section).



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