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Could – or should – councils spend less on their music licensing?

North East councils under scrutiny for their spend on music licensing – is there more they could be doing to reduce costs?

If you follow us on social media, or read any of our blogs, you’ll know we like to talk about some of the more obvious benefits that working with My Music Solutions can bring.

However, a recent news story brought another important factor to light, which should be of particular interest to public sector organisations dealing with music licensing.

First, a quick recap. Working on a no-saving, no-fee basis, My Music Solutions will assess your music licence renewal costs, and recalculate your actual music use.

It is our belief that most customers, through no real fault of their own, are overestimating their music use, and simply paying the resultant licence fee that comes their way.

By letting us analyse your music use, we can ensure your music licence applications are submitted correctly, sometimes leading to significant savings, which we can sometimes even backdate for you.

Just to really spell it out, the benefits here are threefold:

  1. Reduced cost. We can save you money, possibly even get you money back against historical overpayments. Plus, we only charge a fee if we can save you money, so there is no risk.

  2. Saves time. Why bother assessing your music licence needs when we can do it for nothing?

  3. It’s a point of principle! If you are needlessly overpaying for something, it is impacting your bottom line and, possibly, your competitiveness. In some cases the savings could equate to someone’s salary.

But another issue emerged this month, following press coverage around the amount that North East councils spend on their music licences.

Newcastle, Sunderland and North Tyneside Councils are reported to have spent more than half a million pounds between them on music licences, in the three financial years from April 2013 to March 2016.

While we can’t comment on whether those licence fees have been calculated correctly, it does raise an interesting question about councils’ approaches to music licence fees.

Of course scrutiny of any spend of public money is going to be high, especially after the numerous spending cuts that have taken place since 2009. People have seen cuts to major frontline services, so want to know that every penny is being spent as carefully as possible.

So it’s essential for councils to seek the best possible value from everything they do. There will, in all likelihood, be a huge number of ways in which councils could save money on the music licensing, whether that involves reducing the amount of music they play, resubmitting their licence applications, or looking at alternatives such as royalty inclusive music.

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