UK music licensing company PPL reports revenues of $347.7m for 2021, up 12% YoY

UK music licensing company PPL has reported revenues of £252.8 million ($347.7m) for 2021, up 12%, or £27.1 million ($37.27m) YoY.

The company’s results for 2021 mark its second highest annual revenue total, after collecting £271.8 million in 2019.

PPL reports that it saw year-on-year growth across all three revenue streams in 2021, including International, Broadcast and online, and Public performance and dubbing1, with International and Broadcast, and online licensing revenues reaching record annual amounts.

Looking deeper into PPL’s results for 2021 reveals that the company collected international revenues of £94 million ($129m) last year, which was £8.1 million ($11.14m) more than in 2020, and up 9.4% YoY.

This is PPL’s highest annual revenue amount since international collections started in 2006.

PPL has 105 agreements with collective management organisations (CMOs) in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America and in 2021 established new deals with CMOs in India and Indonesia.

The company says that a number of CMOs sped up or brought forward payments in 2021, to support performers and recording rightsholders impacted by COVID-19, which, it says further contributed to 2021’s international revenue amount.

Elsewhere, broadcast and online licensing revenue grew 5.3% YoY,  or £4.4 million ($6m), to a record annual total of £86.7 million ($119.25m) in 2021.

PPL says that this reflects the recovery of the commercial radio sector’s advertising revenues in 2021, whose licence fees are calculated as a share of each station’s revenue.

PPL’s Public performance and dubbing revenues (from the playing of music in public at venues such as pubs, bars, clubs, shops and offices) grew by £14.6 million ($20m) to £72.1 million ($99m) in 2021, up 25.4% YoY.

While PPL’s licensees were able to trade more freely than in 2020 thanks to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, revenues are yet to return to their pre-pandemic level of £99.6 million.

Meanwhile, PPL reports that its distributions decreased 15.2% YoY, or by £31.5 million ($43.3m), to £228.7 million ($314.5m) in 2021, due to the pandemic’s impact on 2020 collections.

The music licensing company reports to have paid a record number of performers and recording rightsholders however, with 147,000 performers and rightsholders receiving at least one payment in 2021, an increase of 35,000 (31.3%) versus 2020.

“Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business.”

Peter Leathem

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer of PPL, said: “2021 was a strong year for PPL. We achieved our second highest annual revenue total and saw our best ever year for both International revenue and Broadcast and online revenue.

“Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business.

Added Leathem: “PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rightsholders than ten years ago when I became CEO and is collecting nearly double the revenue.

“We collect more international neighbouring rights royalties than anyone else, and PPL PRS Ltd, our joint public performance licensing venture with PRS for Music, launched in 2018, is streamlining the collection of public performance royalties.

“PPL has been able to achieve such successful growth because of the talented and dedicated team I have with me at PPL. Thank you to our members, licensees and industry partners for working so collaboratively with us and we look forward to continuing to develop the neighbouring rights sector for the benefit of performers and recording rightsholders.”Music Business Worldwide