PRS For Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft has spoken about the impact an end to its admin agreement with MCPS would have on the business, in a conversation with Music Week.
In November 2016, MCPS and PRS For Music announced a six-month extension to their agreement, which sees PRS conduct the MCPS’ administration operations. The short-term extension came just seven months after MCPS, which licenses mechanical copyrights, issued a ‘request for proposals’ to run its back office operations. This includes licence processing, royalty collection and copyright database administration. At the time, around four companies, including PRS, were being considered to pick up the contract.
“My understanding is that the MCPS board is meeting to review all the offers on the table, and we are expecting their answer by June 30, and they have a lot of things to evaluate,” Ashcroft told Music Week. “We look forward to hearing their decision.”
Asked what kind of impact an end to the agreement would have on PRS, following their record-breaking financial performance in 2016, Ashcroft answered: “All of our numbers are PRS only. We used to declare both together, but we haven’t done for a number of years now. Clearly there would be an impact on licensees, there would be all sorts of adaptations we’d have to make in the way we do business, but we have contingency plans for all of that.”
PRS has carried out MCPS’ admin functions for several years. The two organisations entered into an operational partnership as the MCPS-PRS Alliance in 1997. However, they restructured in 2013, with MCPS becoming a client of PRS.
Ashcroft also gave an update on negotiations over PRS’ blanket license with the BBC, which is currently operating under a short-term extension, having expired last year. He said: “They are our biggest licensee and we are in discussions with them. It is that time that comes around every five years where we have to negotiate terms and those discussions are under way.”