PRS for Music has launched a licensing portal for venues and promoters wanting to stage and live stream small-scale gigs, DJ events, classical concerts and theatrical events online. The portal has been launched in response to the huge rise in live-streamed concerts as a result of COVID-19.

Available for live online events staged in the UK with revenues below £500, the new portal will allow an event organiser to pay the fixed licence fee and obtain the necessary rights for their event simply and quickly. PRS for Music will not be actively pursuing licences for live-streamed events that took place prior to the launch of the new portal, which would have qualified for the fixed fee licence.

Online live concerts are a form of video exploitation and require a licence for the same rights as any other type of online music usage. In normal circumstances, online live concerts are an incremental revenue stream to live performance. PRS for Music, however, recognises that as long as the physical live sector remains closed, live-streamed concerts, whilst still a different form of exploitation to a physical gig or concert, are in part substitutional for physical gigs and concerts. As such, PRS for Music is proposing to apply temporary discounted rates until the live sector can reopen. Conversations are active and ongoing with major licensees about the details of such discounted rates. In the meantime, anyone considering planning an online ticketed music event that does not qualify for the fixed fee licence should contact the PRS for Music licensing team.

Furthermore, PRS for Music is encouraging members to access its new educational webpage to find out more about how they can capitalise on their live-streamed gigs and how to ensure they are properly licensed.

Andrea C. Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, said: “We recognise the importance of providing simple licensing solutions wherever possible and the licensing portal for small-scale online events is an example of this. We are continuing to work hard to agree a range of licensing options for providers of larger events, including a proposed discounted rate during the pandemic. This is a part of the market which has seen exponential growth and is itself constantly evolving, meeting the expectations for worldwide blanket licences is alone no small feat, but we are committed to finding solutions which ensure members can be paid fairly when their works are performed.”