PRS sues LiveNow in livestreaming dispute
UK collection society PRS for Music has launched legal action against LiveNow over allegations the livestream company ran online concerts without a licence.
LiveNow has worked with artists such as Ellie Goulding, Lizzo and Gorillaz on live events, while its Studio 254 presentation with Dua Lipa in November 2020, which attracted what was billed as the biggest-ever audience for a paid livestream, with over five million people tuning in live.
However, PRS alleges that “no PRS member has been paid for the use of their songs in this event, or the other concerts held by LiveNow”.
“PRS for Music’s role is to ensure songwriters and composers, here in the UK and around the world, are paid when their music is used. We take this responsibility very seriously,” says Gavin Larkins, PRS for Music’s director of commercial development and sales.
“We provide a licence for businesses who offer ticketed online concerts and have licensed many users under this scheme. LiveNow chose not to obtain this licence prior to launching its programme of online concerts, including the globally-streamed Dua Lipa Studio 2054 online event in November 2020 – the highest viewed online concert worldwide. No PRS member has been paid for the use of their songs in this event, or the other concerts held by LiveNow.”
“We have taken action to defend the rights of our members and songwriters of other societies”
PRS says it has engaged in licensing negotiations with LiveNow for more than 18 months.
“These discussions remain unresolved and as such we have taken action to defend the rights of our members and songwriters of other societies,” adds Larkins. “Litigation has been put in motion to ensure we can collect the royalties due from LiveNow and its parent company Aser Ventures. We hope to resolve this issue, so that music creators can finally be paid for the use of their works.”
IQ has approached LiveNow for comment.
PRS has itself faced controversy over its livestream tariff in the past. A discounted 10% tariff on ‘online live concerts’ was introduced in 2021 for as long as artists and venues faced restrictions on in-person shows. The move followed earlier proposals by PRS for a new licence for both large and small-scale virtual shows – the former of which would have been charged at up to 17% of gross ticket sales – which were met with a fierce backlash from the UK live music industry.
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