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Financial implications of performing a song you haven't written?

Discussion in 'music' started by ToTo Man, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I've always thought the 'royalty' concept has been shrouded in mystique. How exactly does it work in cases which don't fit the black & white example of: artist B covers artist A's song, releases it as a single, and pays artist A a royalty for every unit sold? What about the following instances:

    1) An artist plays a gig and includes one or more cover versions in the setlist. Are royalties due here regardless, or does the answer depend on whether the gig is subsequently monetised by being made commercially available for purchase by the wider public in the form of CD, DVD, download, etc?

    2) An artist performs a cover version of another artist's song on BBC Live Lounge. Are royalties due here, and who is liable to pay the royalties, the artist covering the song, or BBC Live Lounge?

    3) An artist has split from his band and continues to regularly play some of the band's material that he is not credited as being a songwriter for at his live shows. Are they allowed to do this, or must they obtain permission from the songwriter and/or pay royalties for each track performed? Two instances spring to mind here: The first is Pink Floyd, where I believe Waters is credited as the sole songwriter for some of the songs that Gilmour continues to perform live (and sell CDs and DVDs of). The second is Spandau Ballet, where I believe Kemp successfully prevented Hadley from performing Spandau songs live for many years.

    Can anyone shed some light on these rather murky areas?
  2. Paul R

    Paul R pfm Member

    I imagine that live performance is covered by the venue's PRS licence or equivalent. It's not different to the situation where a record gets played to the audience. So this extends to the BBC where it pays to broadcast copyright material.

    IIUC the less interesting part of the Zappa family is trying to prevent Dweezil performing his father's material by trying to invoke some greater right related to performance or production rather than song publishing, where the rights holder would have to grant explicit permission. Which they would deny.

    Some info at https://www.prsformusic.com/


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