Organising a free concert or gig? Did you know that the venue might have to pay extra PRS?

When a free gig or concert isn’t free

You probably know that the PRS for Music, the organisation that licenses the public performance and broadcast of music in the UK, takes a licence fee equivalent to 3% of Box Office takings for concerts and gigs. This money is then distributed to songwriters and publishers whose music is performed at that particular concert or gig (as long as the venue organiser reports correctly the music performed at that event). All well and good. However, where a venue offers FREE tickets but the tickets have to be booked in advance to reserve a seat, the PRS applies a “Tariff GP”.

What exactly is Tariff GP and what does it mean to me?

It depends on whether you are the venue or the organiser. Tariff GP is payable by the venue, as follows: the first 100 persons, the charge is £9.90 and then for every group of up to 25 (above the first 100) the additional fee is £2.50 per group.

Therefore, as an example, if your venue can seat 1,500 ticket holders, the total cost to PRS would be £149.90 (£9.90 for the 1st 100 + (1,400 ticket holders = 56 groups of 25 @ £2.50)). I’ve created a Tariff GP calculator which you can download here if you want to work out the implications for a venue. (You’ll need Excel to open it.)

Don’t want to pay Tariff GP?

Make it a free entry event but with no tickets and free seating OR change your venue to a pub (although there will be restrictions on numbers of those attending). Pubs that regularly provide live music must have an annual PRS license. This means that there would be no additional PRS charges for the free entry!

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