PRS Reviews Online Music Rates: Some Fees Unchanged, Ad-Funded Undecided

With YouTube payouts on pause and amid growing calls to reduce its rates, PRS For Music has chosen not to reduce royalties required from download services, on-demand subscription services and subscription-funded webcasters.

The royalty collector has begun what it calls the “first stage” in rewriting its Joint Online Licence. The code was agreed by the industry in 2007 and governs how much services should pay for the music they use and, but is due to expire on June 30. PRS is replacing it with several Online Music Licences.

The bad news is that fees commanded from download shops like iTunes Store, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and PeoplesMusicStore are unchanged at either eight percent of stores’ revenue or a per-track rate starting at £0.04, whichever is greater. The good news is that rates for ad-funded on-demand and other services like and Bebo are still “under consideration”.

That leaves the door open for PRS to heed growing calls, from web streamers that are struggling to profit from ad support, to drop prices for this fast-growing sector. Negotiations are ongoing with YouTube, which at one point last year contributed 40 percent of the plays for which PRS paid its members, and will likely inform the eventual rate PRS will lay down for the industry as a whole. With having resorted to subscription fees recently.

Striking a workable rate is critical not just for online services, but also for the music business – music streamed legally for free by websites could discourage illegal downloading and make up for lost recorded music sales. Forrester reckons social music sites will pay