UK public performance joint venture PPL PRS has distributed more than GBP £1 billion (USD $1.2bn) to music creators and rightsholders in the five years since its launch in 2018.
PPL PRS, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on Tuesday (February 28), was established by UK collection societies PPL and PRS for Music to provide a license to businesses for the use of live and recorded music.
The joint venture is equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music.
It provides a joint license called TheMusicLicence, which allows customers — such as shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, live sports and music festivals — to buy music licenses from PPL and PRS for Music in a single transaction.
In an interview with MBW in 2020, PPL Chief Executive Peter Leathem OBE said the launch of PPL PRS made license coverage more comprehensive, allowing clients to boost royalty revenue and cut costs as they only have to apply for a single license.
“Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the joint venture has facilitated the distribution of more than £1 billion in royalties to performers, songwriters, publishers and recording rightsholders.”
Peter Leathem OBE, PPL
During the pandemic, PPL PRS suspended payments for TheMusicLicence from its customers for the period that they were closed due to COVID-19 curbs. The joint venture, had instead applied a pro rata credit for the period of closure.
“Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the joint venture has facilitated the distribution of more than £1 billion in royalties to performers, songwriters, publishers and recording rightsholders,” said PPL Chief Executive Peter Leathem OBE.
Andrea Gray, PPL PRS Managing Director, added: “We made the decision to commit to not charging any business which had to close due to the pandemic, or could not play music due to restrictions. This, of course, had an effect on the amount of money we could return to the members of PPL and PRS for Music as royalties, but I am delighted that we have now seen a return to business as usual.”
Gray joined the joint venture in late 2019 before the pandemic upended the live music industry.
“Having joined the business late in 2019, I was faced with the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 caused by COVID, and the business adapted quickly to support both our customers and the music creators and rightsholders our parent organizations represent,” said Gray.
In addition to supporting its customers during the pandemic, PPL PRS says it has also made a contribution to job creation in the East Midlands region.
Based in Leicester, PPL PRS claims that it has become one of the city’s largest employers and works with local colleges, universities and cultural and creative partners such as Curve Theatre.
“The launch of PPL PRS Ltd in 2018 was a landmark moment for the music industry, after 84 years of PPL and PRS for Music independently licensing the public use of music across the UK. Five years on, both music users and music creators are now reaping the benefits,” said Leathem.
Leathem added: “I would like to thank all of those who have been part of this journey over these past five years, and I look forward to continuing to work together to grow this critical revenue stream. As other organisations around the world seek to follow in our footsteps, we will continue to share our expertise and knowledge to further strengthen the global neighbouring rights sector and ensure music is fairly rewarded.”
Leathem heads PPL. In the first year of the pandemic, PPL collected GBP £225.7 million for its members, down 17% from 2019. But the executive, at the time, said PPL remained optimistic about the future following the easing of restrictions in the UK.
“The ground-breaking partnership with PPL which led to the launch of the TheMusicLicence in 2018 is a testament to the shared goal of creating a better experience for our customers.”
Andrea Czapary Martin, PRS For Music
Meanwhile, PRS for Music’s Chief Executive Officer Andrea Czapary Martin said: “The ground-breaking partnership with PPL which led to the launch of the TheMusicLicence in 2018 is a testament to the shared goal of creating a better experience for our customers. This vision for greater collaboration and innovation has provided over £1 billion in royalties to music creators since its launch, ensuring songwriters, composers, musicians, and performers are paid when their works are played.”
“It also guaranteed unified support for customers during the pandemic and in their recovery over the last year. I look forward to working with Peter Leathem and Andrea Gray to continue to build on the success of the business.”
PPL PRS Managing Director Andrea Gray added: “PPL PRS is continuing to grow and work with more businesses to bring the benefit of playing music to their customers and employees, and I look forward to building on the successes of 2022 and ensuring that 2023 sees another record year for all the hard working music creators and rightsholders that PPL PRS help to support.”
Music Business Worldwide