You are here:

Why Should I Become a Member of a Trade Association or Union?

Published on


Music industry trade associations, membership bodies and unions exist to represent the interests of various parts of the music industry, such as songwriters, managers, labels or festivals. There are several bodies operating under lots of different names and acronyms. It can be confusing at first, but if you are developing a career in music you should definitely consider joining the trade association representing your interests, for example as a songwriter, producer or educator.

The music industry is a place where networks are important, and getting advice from others in similar positions can help you navigate tricky situations. Furthermore, becoming a member of PRS and PPL are vital first steps to ensuring you are paid when your music is performed or played.

webpage has a great summary of the main different associations and bodies to get familiar with. Becoming a member of a trade association or union is easy and becoming more accessible, especially if you are a student or under the age of 25. Don’t forget that costs of joining and membership fees are eligible to be included in Youth Music NextGen Fund applications

Below we wanted to highlight some excellent new offers for emerging music creators from some of our friends and partners at The Ivors Academy, PRS and Musician’s Union.

The Ivors Academy – Expands Early Career Membership Offer

The Ivors Academy represents songwriters and composers across each and every genre – whether you create song, symphony or sync. They support, celebrate and nurture the craft of their members through campaigns, events, networks and awards.

Become a member and connect with other songwriters and composers, develop your skills and knowledge through events and mentoring, get advice about funding and legal issues, and support our campaigns that advocate for your rights.

The Ivors Academy is expanding its Under-25 membership to Early Career Membership to provide over-18 students on UK Higher and Further Education courses with access to membership benefits for £50 a year. This will apply to the duration of their course and for four years after they graduate. 


All benefits of Standard Membership as well as: 

  • Dedicated Early Career Network and Early Career Events 
  • Early Council with co-under 25 Board Directors 
  • Eligible for The Ivors Rising Star Award* (members must be aged 18-24)
  • Early Career tailored benefits (Writing camps, freelance support, funding advice) 
  • Access to Academy Programmes and TheWRD 
  • Early Career place on the membership committee 
  • Dedicated Early Career creator newsletter
victoria canal ivor novello
Singer-songwriter Victoria Canal, 25, won the Rising Star award at the 2023 edition of the prestigious Ivor Novellos with Amazon Music, which celebrates the craft of songwriters, composers and creators.

PRS for Music reduces joining rate to £30 for music creators under 25

PRS for Music is the home of the Performing Right Society (PRS) and the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS). PRS collects when its members' works are performed or communicated to the public. MCPS collects when its members' work is copied. PRS pay members their performance royalties through four main distributions each year: in April, July, October and December. MCPS pay members their mechanical royalties every month.

PRS for Music recently announced it has reduced the joining rate to £30 for songwriters and composers under the age of twenty-five years.  The new discounted rate, a one-off payment, gives lifetime membership and access to the full range of benefits provided by PRS for Music to young music creators, ensuring they can be paid when their musical compositions and songs are used in the UK and around the world.  Membership also provides the opportunity to access funding from PRS Foundation, the leading funder of new music and talent, plus help and support from the Members’ Fund.

The Members’ Council has introduced the reduced rate in response to feedback from young songwriters and composers, and as part of its wider commitment to actively support the next generation of music creators.


Musicians’ Union: Join for as a Student Member for £20 a year

The Musicians' Union is the UK trade union for all musicians representing over 33,000 musicians across the UK working in all sectors of the music business. As well as negotiating on behalf of members with all the major employers in the industry, they offer a range of support services for freelance and student musicians.

Musicians of all ages studying in full-time education can be members of the MU for only £20 a year and access their career enhancing membership benefits. Being a member of the MU will help you to connect with industry professionals, and get expert career advice. From getting your first work as a musician, to building your career in music with trade union protection.

Like all members, student members enjoy numerous benefits and services such as Contract Advice, Health and Wellbeing Services, Public Liability Insurance and Unpaid Fee Recovery Service. Get your career in music on track right from the start by becoming a member of the MU.

If you are not a student you can join the Musicians Union for £1 and get your first six months’ membership for free. If you're a current member of a partner organisation such as The Ivors Academy you can also join the MU at a reduced rate.


musicians union quote