Welsh language musicians discuss royalty dispute with BBC and PRS

Mixing desk generic The musicians say royalties should be based on 'economic value' not 'reach and consumption'

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Welsh language musicians have met the BBC and the Performing Right Society (PRS) to try to resolve a dispute over royalty payments.

A group of artists withdrew permission for BBC Radio Cymru to play their music for one day in December in protest.

It follows changes to how the PRS collects royalty payments, which the musicians claim are "pitful".

A BBC spokesperson said the meeting was "constructive" and that discussions would continue.

"A constructive meeting took place this morning between the PRS, the Musicians' Alliance and the BBC. It was agreed that a number of options would be looked at in more detail and discussions will continue."

Campaigners have said the situation threatens the whole future of Welsh language music.

'Lower payments'

PRS says that under the current formula, musicians get 59p per minute when their music is played on Radio Cymru. Previously it was 89p per minute.

Speaking before the December "strike", Deian ap Rhisiart, from the Welsh Music Publishers and Composers Alliance, demanded that "composers in Wales receive fair pay for the broadcasting of their works".

"For three years now, musicians have been forced to pursue other professions since there is no money in the music industry to make a living, and we feel that this endangers the whole future of Welsh language music," he added.

Start Quote

PRS for Music is committed to fairness and accuracy in its distributions to all members whatever their genre”

End Quote Mark Lawrence PRS For Music

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams has said that artists recording in the Welsh language were also at a disadvantage because they were less likely to enjoy airplay on English-language UK-wide stations, which attract higher payments.

Mark Lawrence, the director of membership with PRS For Music, said the rates paid for radio play were reviewed constantly "based on audience, reach and sampling work our teams do".

"A specific payment for Welsh language music played in public was introduced in 2010 but it is true that more accurate analysis of music used has led to lower payments overall for many Welsh members," he said previously.

BBC Radio Cymru has said it is a "very strong supporter of Welsh musicians" and the station is "proud of the creative partnerships we have with musicians in Wales".

Following the meeting on Thursday, a BBC spokesperson said: "A constructive meeting took place this morning between the PRS, the Musicians' Alliance and the BBC.

"It was agreed that a number of options would be looked at in more detail and discussions will continue."

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