humorous tale involves the organization catching wind of a “heinous”
offense -- an
employee singing in public. Sandra Burt, 56, who works at
A&T Food store (a British supermarket) in Clackmannanshire, UK
was told by organization representatives that she would likely face
fines for lost royalties for her "performance".
debacle began earlier in the year when the PRS threatened the grocery
store she worked at, telling them to ditch the radio that played in
earshot of customers or pay royalty fees. Missing the music,
Ms. Burt decided to start singing some of her favorite tunes.
She describes, "I would start to sing to myself when I was
stacking the shelves just to keep me happy because it was very quiet
without the radio."
Then came new threats from the PRS.
Ms. Burt describes, "When I heard that the PRS said I would be
prosecuted for not having a performance license, I thought it was a
joke and started laughing. I was then told I could be fined
thousands of pounds. But I couldn't stop myself singing. They would
need to put a plaster over my mouth to get me to stop, I can't help
Indeed, the woman, who describes herself as a
Rolling Stones fan and classic rocker, refused to stop singing.
BBC News caught wind of the story and published a piece on
The reaction was instant, with many writing furious
letters to the PRS. Facing an overwhelming outpouring of public
vehemence, the PRS backed down, as the RIAA occasionally has.
They sent her a bouquet of flowers as an apology and said she had
their permission to keep singing. The note read, "We're
very sorry we made a big mistake. We hear you have a lovely
singing voice and we wish you good luck."
quote: Most of the music in the stores is "Muzak".. elevator-ish music made from real songs. The first time I heard the muzak version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a grocery store was the first time I felt "old", lol. The licensing fees are probably lower for those versions, but you're right they DO pay licensing fees.