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MPA chief discusses MCPS future following new PRS deal

By | Published on Wednesday 5 July 2017


The boss of the UK’s Music Publishers Association has discussed the future of mechanical rights collecting society MCPS – which is owned by the MPA – following the renewal of its partnership with performing rights organisation PRS For Music.

As previously reported, the UK music publishing sector’s two collecting societies – PRS and MCPS – have worked closely together for a long time now, initially through an alliance, then a joint venture, and more recently with PRS being a service provider to MCPS.

With that deal up for renewal, MCPS invited other organisations to bid to takeover some or all of the work licensing the mechanical rights in songs that are represented by the society, but in the end it decided to renew its deal with PRS, though with a new arrangement.

Speaking at the AGM of the MPA yesterday, CEO Jane Dyball said: “Yes, the [tendering] process was long. Yes, it was arduous. But it allowed us to go out there to the marketplace and speak to a long line of commercial operators – to hear their perspective about the value of the business, and to make some considered long-term strategic decisions. I think the eventual outcome, with PRS signing a new long-term agreement to administer the business has given us a best-of-both-worlds outcome”.

Alluding to changes in the MCPS/PRS partnership moving forward, in part informed by that tendering process, she went on: “So, while we get the continuity of working with good friends, our new agreement does not represent ‘business as usual’ – we can now start again with a new relationship, and one that will better serve the most important people in our business – the songwriters and composers – as well as the music publishers who support their careers and invest in their creative talent”.

“The Music Publishers Association is therefore very excited that the new agreement with PRS For Music for licensing, administration, distribution and other activities for MCPS includes new approaches and new features which will provide significant added value for members. These include ‘key performance indicators’ – or KPIs – which are measurable performance indicators for key tasks during the lifespan of the agreement, including the areas of accuracy and efficiency in data handling, optimising revenue flow to members and best possible licensing and reporting practices”.

Confirming that these measurable performance indicators would indeed be measured, Dyball continued: “Having consulted extensively with our members and customers, the KPIs were written to specific thresholds and timelines and are to be reported monthly and quarterly to MCPS management and membership for review. We are in the process of setting up that review process to ensure that the 42 key KPIs are efficiently tracked”.

Dyball also discussed plans to spin-off the digital licensing entity IMPEL, which represents the mechanical rights of many independent publishers in the digital domain on a multi-territory basis and which – to date – has allowed its rights to flow through MCPS and its partnership with PRS.

The IMPEL business was not included in the MCPS tendering process, and is now set to become a standalone entity outside what is now called the MPA Group Of Companies – which also includes the MPA itself, MCPS and sheet music licensing agency PMLL.

Noting IMPEL’s ambitions for further growth, Dyball said yesterday: “It is now no longer appropriate for a business which operates for a section of the MCPS membership – and, for that matter, MPA membership – and which has its own ambitions, to be part of the MPA group of companies. We are therefore undertaking a business separation process which means that this might be the last time IMPEL features in our AGM”.