Monday, 9 April 2012

PRS - Poor response service?

When is airplay not airplay? Strange question you might ask, stick around and I will try to enlighten you.

The Summats (aka Baggers & Toe) first commercial single was in fact a Christmas song titled All I Want Is Christmas, it was released in November 2010 via our wonderful friends at Tunecore (we are not worthy!) . The single did very well over that festive period, with mainstream radio airplay in the UK & primetime TV airplay on Channel Nine in Australia. In our naivety, we looked forward  to our UK PRS company (PRSformusic) following up with the various commercial entities who had used our work & ensuring the appropriate royalties made their way to us as songwriters & performers.
So here we sit in April of 2012 and guess how much we've seen of royalites to date from that airplay, bear with me a second while I consult our accountant, oh yeah, that's right.....Nothing!, Zilch, Zip....a big fat Zero!

Now I don't claim that Toe & I are starving musicians, I don't even claim that we are desperate for the royalties so our kids can all have new shoes!
 a:) Because our kids have grown up and can buy their own freaking shoes &
 b:) Music is our hobby, we do it for fun, just because we love it.
However, there are a lot of musicians and songwriters out there who are trying to pay the bills & do need to get paid!
When someone's creative output is broadcast via one of the UK's commercial radio stations or via one of Australia's primary TV channels, you would think something was owed to someone, somewhere. The TV show which used our work featured two Christmas songs on the day in question, 'All I Want is Christmas' by The Summats & 'Last Christmas' by Wham. Now, I'm no betting man, but if I were, I would like to bet that old George's royalties are already nestling in the G. Michael vaults! 

I am eternally grateful for channel nine using our music, I don't even blame them for the fact that we haven't been paid because whilst we operate for fun, its good to know that what we are doing is maybe good and can be appreciated. As I said earlier, this is about our naivety as songwriters, assuming that for any kind of broadcasted performance, a royalty is due. In this particular case we have provided dates and times of broadcast, that we are aware of, to our PRS company, still not heard a thing.

I am fully aware of the responses I'm likely to get from those in the know....'We only provide a snapshot of results from broadcasters', 'We follow up wherever possible to ensure that our members rights are protected". My response to that would be why don't you chase all the royalties that are due? We live in a digital age, it is the simplest thing in the world to download TV and radio playlists to a central location to allow statistical analysis by publishers, PRS etc.  Also, correct me if mistaken, the more PRS collects, the more PRS gets paid, simple enough eh?

Following on from the 'success' of the song in 2010, it also went on to further UK radio airplay at Christmas 2011, not holding my breath for those royalties either! What I will do is say is a big thank you to Tunecore for distributing our music in the first place & for ensuring we have been paid for the modest single sales to date. They do exactly what they say they will do & deliver on their promises.

So when is airplay not airplay? when it isn't recognised by the entities who are setup to protect your interests. I have, once again, contacted my PRS company to notify them that I still havent received any feedback on airplay that I know for a fact has occurred, when I hear from them...I'll let you know but.....don't hold your breath. In the meantime, if you have had similar issues obtaining or chasing royalties, overseas or otherwise, please leave a comment below and let us know.

Take care and keep smiling.

Baggers :)

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