Poundworld ducks PPL and PRS fees by dumping chart music

One of the UK’s biggest value retailers, Poundworld, has stopped playing licensed music in its stores, saying it “can’t justify the huge spend in PRS and PPL fees”.

Instead, the chain’s 300 stores in the UK and Ireland are now playing royalty-free tracks bought off-the-peg from FreedomMusic, a company specialising in production in-store music and radio services.

That means Poundworld avoids paying out licence fee money to record companies and publishers – as well as artists and songwriters – via PPL and PRS.

Poundworld claims that its three-year deal with FreedomMusic will result in a cost saving of more than £450,000.

“Being able to play music in our stores is important to our customers and staff, but we couldn’t justify the huge PRS and PPL Spend.”

Mark Bamford, Poundworld

Mark Bamford, retail operations manager at Poundworld said: “Being able to play music in our stores is important to both our customers and staff, however, we couldn’t justify the huge spend in PRS and PPL fees that’s associated with chart and licensed music.

“The quality of the music provided by FreedomMusic beat our expectations and our staff and customers are enjoying the variety.

“FreedomMusic’s roll out strategy has been flawless across every site.”

PRS income 2014PRS pulled in £19.6m from performance licences paid by shops in 2014 – 11.6% of its total £168.3m public performance income (see table, right).

PPL’s total public performance income stood at £76.7m in 2014.

Its annual financial report admitted that the retail sector “proved difficult” in 2014 due to “business closures [resulting] in a potentially reduced market”.

Other FreedomMusic retail customers include stationer Ryman’s and Selco Builder’s Warehouse.

Nick Findlay at FreedomMusic commented, “In 2005, PPL – the body that imposes fees and collects payments on behalf of record companies – increased charges that saw tariffs rise by as much as 192% for some retailers.

“Since then, retailers have been faced with paying extortionate fees in order to play licensed music to their customers and staff in-store. We are thrilled to be working with Poundworld and helping them to save more than £450,000 over the next three years by switching to license free music.”

In addition, FreedomMusic has introduced ‘bespoke overhead promotional messaging’ to Poundworld stores nationwide which it says has resulted in a 12% increase in sales on promoted lines.

“The flexibility of FreedomMusic allows us to play different music and messages at varying times throughout the day, allowing us to change this within specific sites across our estate,” added Bamford.Music Business Worldwide

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