The Rights way for musicians

I’m delighted to say that Duncan McCrone, Senior Manager PRS for Music in Scotland and a very well respected musician in his own right, has taken the time to write a few articles for Moneysucks. We’re starting with his introduction on Rights as a source of income for musicians and we’ll go in in future articles to look at how you can maximise your income from PRS and MCPS. This is a real must for musicians everywhere.

We’ll continue next week with a more detailed look at some of the organisations involved.

“One of the strange ironies of the music business is that it’s probably never been easier to record your music and get it heard – but it’s probably never been trickier trying to make a full-time living, particularly at grass roots level! All we seem to hear about is declining CD sales, ‘pay to play’, dwindling audiences, internet piracy, tiny royalties from streaming sites and so on….makes you wonder why we bother…..

Well, we absolutely know why – music is one of the most important, most life-affirming art forms. It matters to absolutely everyone, and is part of our lives from the songs we heard in the cradle to the music played as they carry us off at the other end, so if we can be involved in the creation and playing of something so vital, then we’re incredibly lucky and privileged. Don’t listen to doom-mongers predicting a day when no one will think it worthwhile to produce new music…that day will never, ever come.

Having worked full-time in the music industry for over 26 years now, and having played in bands and written music and songs for an awful lot longer than that, I have learned that the music business is full of little areas where money is sitting just waiting to be claimed by musicians, artists, composers and songwriters. It’s not hidden, really – it just needs most of us to open our minds to learning a little bit more about how the business works, and to realise one fundamental truth. It’s this:

The music business runs on Rights.

There. How boring is that? Actually, not as much as you might think! It’s maybe not as exciting as writing songs or gigging, but when you start to realise the potential of your copyrights and accept that taking proper care of them can mean the difference between music as a hobby and music as a living, it gets quite a bit more interesting. Tell yourself that your songs (your intellectual property) are the currency you deal in. They belong to you (unless you assign them to a publisher), and to your successors until you’ve been dead for 70 years, and they’re just as much a piece of property as a guitar, drum kit, van, keyboard…(well, you get the drift). In this short article, I’m going to explain a couple of ways of making money from your songs without giving yourself a lot of extra hassle.

There are two main organisations in the UK responsible for collecting royalties on behalf of the copyright owners of musical works. Both are open to writers, authors and composers themselves and also to their publishers, should they (the creators) decide to assign their copyrights. By the way, these two organisations should not be confused with a third – PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) – who do a similar role but for the owners of the sound recording. I know, I know….all these acronyms….but PPL is very important if you’re an artist, musician or if you own a record label – find out more at”

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One Thought to “The Rights way for musicians”

  1. Anthony Braine

    A very well written article and extremely useful.

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