The British Chambers of Commerce is calling for an urgent review into how the music licensing organisation, the Performing Rights Society (PRS), operates. The call follows the release of worrying new survey findings, in which the BCC questioned 200 businesses on their experiences dealing with the PRS.

Just 6% of companies rated their experience as good or excellent. In contrast, over half said their experience had been poor or very poor.  

Businesses were also asked to submit comments about their experiences. Many of these replies referred to the PRS’ behaviour as “aggressive” and “threatening”. One firm commented: “We don't require a licence but they don't seem to take no for an answer.” 

In a letter to the Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, Lord Carter, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, argues: 

“We do not dispute that the PRS should collect money when businesses are benefiting from the music they are playing. However, we do expect businesses to be treated with respect and understanding in all their dealings with fee collecting bodies. It is especially worrying to note how many businesses use the words ‘threatened’ or ‘intimidated’ when asked to comment on their dealings with the PRS.” 

“These are not isolated instances of bad customer service. These results prove that the PRS is operating in an unacceptable manner.” The BCC’s main areas of concern revolve around: the frequency of contact from the PRS; refusal to provide written details; a lack of clarity surrounding the tariffs; and, excessive costs to small businesses.