New royalty rates to settle YouTube music video dispute?

Performing Rights Society unveils its new pricing structure

Music royalties body the Performing Rights Society (PRS) is hoping to end its argument with YouTube by outlining a new pricing plan for streamed online material today (May 26).

The new plan – which is part of the Online Music License – suggests that from July 1, 2009 sites would have to pay the PRS 0.085p for each track streamed online. The new rate is down from 0.22p.

Google, which owns YouTube, removed thousands of premium music videos from the streamed site in March because of a dispute with the PRS over royalty fees.

In a statement about the new rates, Andrew Shaw, PRS Managing Director of Broadcast and Online, said that the new rates would make sites such YouTube evolve.

“We believe these new streaming rates will stimulate growth in the digital music market and will benefit our licensees and our members,” he said.

A YouTube spokesperson commented that negotiations with the PRS were ongoing, reports

“We welcome any efforts to make licensing costs more realistic, but as we’re still in discussions with the PRS to agree license terms for YouTube we’re unable to comment further,” a statement from YouTube said.

Steve Purdham, boss of the We7 online streaming service, praised the new rates in the plan, calling them a “significant milestone”, although he added that there is still more work to do on the issue.

“I am sure for some people it will not be far enough but it is a big start and for me it’s a good indication that the PRS is serious about trying to find ways to let new digital models evolve,” Purdham explained.