PRS for Music is currently undertaking a number of audits of its licence holders, as part of an ongoing ‘revenue assurance programme’.

Existing PRS for Music licence holders are being contacted and instructed to open their doors – their files, and their accounts – to third parties.

These examinations are carried out by forensic auditors, who don’t come cheap – so what tends to follow is a bill, usually backdated, and payable by the licensee.

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It can sometimes seem that football clubs operate in a bubble, totally impervious to the rules that traditionally affect businesses. Such huge figures exchange hands for player transfers, for example, that it can be hard to imagine football clubs as ‘typical’ businesses. Players are regularly bought and sold for vast sums, and the planet’s biggest stars earn in excess of £300,000 a week, even before endorsements and sponsorship deals are taken into consideration.

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You’d be hard pushed to find many people who disagree with the intentions behind the National Minimum Wage. Everyone deserves to earn a living wage, and, as a society, we need to make work a more attractive proposition than not working. However, for many businesses, it’s clearly going to create issues. Estimates show that it will affect 1.7m employees, and cost businesses over a billion pounds annually. It is also expected that the NMW will affect different towns to varying degrees. Hull, for example, is predicted to be one of the most affected areas, with 31% of workers receiving more wages as a result. The penalties for those that pay below the minimum wage can be significant – and the Government has, in recent times, taking to naming and shaming those that don’t.

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A music licensing specialist has sought assurances from PPL and PRS for Music that its newly-announced joint venture will not increase licence costs for customers. The new joint venture will see public performance licences supplied by a single organisation. PPL and PRS claim the move will simplify music licensing, but My Music Solutions (MMS) managing director Rob Gilbert says he has ‘major concerns’ over the plans. MMS specialises in helping licensees who are over-charged by the UK’s performing rights organisations, by offering accurate and exact calculations of their music use and renegotiating licence costs on their behalf. The firm estimates that businesses are currently overcharged to the tune of up to £43m annually by both PPL and PRS combined.

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At My Music Solutions, we have yet to celebrate our second anniversary – but we have already helped reduce the entertainment licence renewals for over 800 premises in the UK. Across those locations, we have saved over £700,000 to date, an average exceeding £875 per venue while, in 2014, 88 per cent of our new customers saved at least 20 percent on licence fees. These mainly comprise hotels, pubs, bars and clubs – but there is clearly a long way to go, and a lot of savings still to be achieved.

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It has recently been reported that the UK hotel business is one of the strongest in the world. If it’s not our beautiful scenery and plentiful hotspots that our oversees visitors enjoy, it has to be our famous hospitality. An area all you hoteliers do rather well *pat yourselves in the back* A lot of our clients in the hospitality trade often find difficulty in getting away and forgetting the stresses of running a successful business.

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The British are known to be some of the most hospitable people on earth, so it’s little wonder that millions flock to our great island each year to stay in our sumptuous hotels, eat our delicious food and sample our great gin and ales. It’s not easy ensuring that our visitors are well looked after. We’ve come to understand from our clients some of the secrets of running successful hotels, restaurants and bars – and well, we have to take our hat off to them. And if doing all this isn’t stressful and time consuming enough, they have to deal with all of the difficult business admin that comes with it.

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It’s no mean feat being a licensee these days. Rising competition, thanks to the growth in off trade, has seen the number of UK pubs and bars fall to a record low in twenty years. And now, there’s a new obstacle dangling from the optics. Three major brewers have announced wholesale price increases on beer, as reported in The Publican’s Morning Advertiser. Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg UK have all announced a rise in prices, which will take effect from early 2015.

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