The UK’s two music licensing companies, PPL and PRS for Music, have this week launched their joint venture to create one single company – PPL PRS Ltd.
The new company will administer the licensing of music used in public, known as “public performance”. A new single licence, known as TheMusicLicence, brings to an end the need for organisations to purchase separate PPL and PRS for Music licences from each individual organisation.
This new licence does not change the way radio stations buy music licencing – it is purely for the playing of music and radio stations in public places.
In 2016, the two companies generated almost £270 million through the licensing of live and recorded music to businesses and organisations – from bars, pubs and clubs to hairdressers, fitness centres and hotels. After running costs, this revenue is distributed to their respective members – performers and record companies for PPL and songwriters, composers and publishers for PRS for Music – and acts as an important income stream for the music business. The new joint venture will be the biggest of its kind in the world.
The 200-person company is based in Leicester and is equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music. It has been created to provide customers with a streamlined service, a single point of contact, and one licence covering both companies’ respective rights, thereby simplifying the administration and making it easier to play and perform music in public.
Commenting on the official launch of the new company, PPL Chief Executive Peter Leathem said: “In PPL’s 84 year history, the joint venture with PRS for Music is, without doubt, the most ambitious project that we have undertaken. To navigate the complexities and achieve it within two years is a testament to our close working relationship with PRS and the commitment of our respective teams. This is an important moment for the music business at large and is a move towards greater efficiencies for our licensees and greater returns for our members who create the music enjoyed by those we license all around the UK.”
PRS for Music Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft added: “We have invested years of effort and millions of pounds to simplify music licensing for UK businesses and on behalf of PRS for Music, I am delighted to launch what is the largest joint venture of its kind in the world. This is the beginning of a new era in public performance licensing, which will bring real benefits to our members and customers alike.”
Suzanne Smith, who was appointed in April 2017 to the position of Managing Director for PPL PRS Ltd, said: “We are very excited to now offer customers of both PPL and PRS for Music a more streamlined approach for licensing their businesses to play and perform music. With the launch of TheMusicLicence we are providing one licence and one contact, enabling companies and organisations to enhance their customer and employee experience by playing music in their premises.”
The joint venture was initially announced in February 2016. Later that year, competition clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority was given and PPL and PRS for Music were able to sign a shareholders agreement that set out how the joint venture company would be owned and operated. The Board of the new company will comprise PPL PRS senior management team members as well as representatives from both PPL and PRS for Music.
PPL and PRS for Music will continue to operate separately in the other areas of their businesses, including representing their members, collecting royalties from international societies, developing, setting and consulting on their respective tariffs and licensing schemes, and licensing broadcast, online and recorded media customers.