Would you like that with or without lubrication?

At least Dick Turpin had the good grace to wear a mask...

It’s often said in this life, you only get what you pay for. When it comes to film music cinema owners get what they paid for and then have to pay for it again.

I’m talking about the unadulterated naked banditry that is The Performing Rights Society “Tariff C”. Put simply we’re paying extra for the music in the film, which is ridiculous.

We do have the choice between being shafted or rogered. Either 1% of our turnover or 4.84 pence per admission. That’s right, the P.R.S have a finger in all the cinema tills in the land to the tune of 1% of the net turnover!

That’s over £8 million a year.

For nothing.

I don’t want to use this blog to rant , OK I do, but few things make me as wild as the P.R.S . When the time comes to submit my payments I become more unstable than usual, punching walls and howling at the injustice of it all.

For years now I’ve been trying to get someone to explain how this chicanery is legal, but apparently it is. Protected in stone by both UK and European law.

Only the last remaining  one legged Siberian Rhinotiger is more protected it seems than film composers.

We already pay for the film, shouldn’t that include the music? It’s not like I’m given the option of a print without the music, which would be silly of course, but it means I’m forced to pay out thousands of pounds whether I like it or not.

For nothing.

The scriptwriter doesn’t get extra payments, the special effects guy doesn’t get a nice cheque in the post once a month, so why the hell should the music department?

After buying a telly imagine if a bill dropped through your letterbox a year later that read: Music Royalty for Eastenders x 65 BBC News Jingle x 350 Open University Ident x 32 etc. Pretty much the same thing.

So, anyone? Convince me this is fair. I bet you can’t.

Any business transaction should be mutually beneficial, but I’m struggling to see what we get out of this one.  The industry seem rather scared of standing up to the P.R.S in case the deal we strike makes us worse off.

Personally I’m all for chaining myself to John Williams until we get these payments eradicated.

Rant over.

6 thoughts on “Would you like that with or without lubrication?

  1. Maybe next time it comes to payment time we could all (all us cinemas) ‘forget’ to pay our PRS for a month or two – I suspect that may help with future negotiations.

  2. Does the prs pass that money on to the artist? And if the tariff is removed would that simply increase the cost of the film to compensate?

    • No idea what they do with it. Even if it did pass to the artist why are they a special case? If every creative on the picture had extra from exhibition then there would be nothing left. Film hire is charged on a percentage of net box office basis, per week. Of course, we thnk we pay too much and distributors think we don’t pay enough. I can’t imagine studios would agree to take on the PRS payment, which is why they seem to steer well clear when the tariff is up for renewal. It scares the crap out of them.

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