AIF Wants Special Festival Tariff

The UK’s Association of Independent Festivals points out that it makes no sense for authors’ societies to charge festivals the same rates as concerts.
Association of Indepedent Festivals

Concert and festival promoters currently pay PRS for Music, the British collecting society for authors and songwriters, 3 percent of their gross. The society is looking into increasing that amount.

“The AIF believe that any proposed increase would bankrupt and close grassroots festivals, destroying a vital platform for artists and songwriters,” a statement by the organization reads. It also points out that not all festivals are full-fledged music events, which is why it makes no sense to charge the same amount as concerts. Instead, AIF calls for a separate festival tariff.

The Irish model, a multi-venue tariff, could serve as an example.

Paul Reed, GM of the AIF, said “independent festival promoters are taking risks on breaking artists and staging high-risk events on incredibly tight margins. PRS for Music’s plans to increase this already inflexible and damaging tariff could mean the bankruptcy of many events that provide a valuable platform for both emerging and established artists.”

He also points out that PRS for Music is basing its plans on a consultation of its members that hardly yielded enough responses to make an informed decision.

“Songwriters therefore are not driving this process. Any increase would be a naked land grab by PRS, driven solely by their executives and some major music publishers.”

When Pollstar spoke to Carl Leighton-Pope about the PRS tariff at the end of last year, he said if collective management organisations were collecting efficiently around the world, a 3 percent rate for the writers would be “absolutely fine” with no need to raise them.

“Truth is, if they were doing a better job, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I have no problem with people earning money. [But these are] non-profitmaking organizations. All of the money, after deducting costs for operations, belongs to the writers.”