The newly formed Bermuda Music Users Group hosted a meeting on Wednesday November 27 in Hamilton with a more than 80 people in attendance from all sectors of the Bermuda economy.

The meeting was successful in that sector subcommittees were formed with Chairpersons nominated for the various concerned groups from Broadcasters , Retail , Restaurants ,Hotels Festivals, Non-Profits/Charities ,Independent Event Promoters & Mobile DJs and Government,Churches, Schools

Bmug and several of its members also had direct meetings with the UK representatives to voice the concerns raised from the public meeting. Those issues included the need for transparency in the approach of PRS, a proposed rate structure that was to complicated and was in some cases more that 10 times what other jurisdictions are paying for the use of licensed music that PRS represents.

BMUG members stated that the fee structure should be no more than it would be in similar places with similar population densities. The presence of International business should not mean that fees for the 65 thousand residents should be any higher than any other similar sized jurisdiction.

There was also concern that all of the money that would be collected under the scheme would go directly to London, and little if any benefit would remain in Bermuda to support the beginning of a vibrant music industry.

It was noted in the discussions that PRS had few members composers /musicians on the ground, and there appeared to be little or no recruitment in advance of fee collection.

PRS has agreed to take on board all the feedback they received during their recent visit and reconsider their approach, once they have completed a more comprehensives review of similar North American and Caribbean fee structures. They also conceded that current fees may be too high and indicated that credits may possibly be issued to organizations that have been paying at higher rates, if indeed lower fee structures are introduced.

BMUG believes that Bermuda is being targeted as part of PRS’ growth strategy as evidenced by objectives listed in the International Licensing Services Manager job description on their web site which reads in part “to drive the maximization amount of income through the society network and via new business opportunities outside the UK to meet the ‘licensing, collections and tariffs’ objectives of the International Growth Strategy.”

Any interested parties can contact BMUG through the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.