PRS For Music and PPL plan one licence for community radio

Posted 13 July 2016, 9.37am edt

James Cridland

PPL, who represent record companies and performers, and PRS for Music, who represent composers and publishers, have written to all community radio stations informing them that they intend to terminate their current music licences in preparation for a new, joint, licence.

In a letter sent jointly by PPL and PRSfM, seen by, community radio stations are told that the organisations "believe that it is now possible to further simplify the licensing of music rights for community radio stations. Accordingly, subject to successful consultation with the sector, we intend to introduce a joint PPL and PRS for Music licence for Ofcom-licensed community radio stations with effect from 1 January [2017]".

"The joint licence will provide all community radio stations with a simple, ‘one stop shop’ licensing solution, combining the rights of both organisations in one licence agreement", the letter goes on to say.

It continues: "The joint licence will be administered by PPL, acting on its own behalf and on behalf of PRS for Music. This means you will have one point of contact for any queries regarding your licence, you will make one single payment covering both sets of rights, and you will need to submit Net Broadcasting Revenue information only once each year, reducing the administration associated with ensuring that the music you include within your broadcasts are licensed correctly."

PPL and PRSfM took this opportunity to serve notice to terminate existing licences on 31 December 2016; and promise "full details of the new licence once our consultation period [with the Community Media Association] has ended". asked about a projected cost for the new licence, noting that the administration costs should be lower, and asking whether stations would see a saving in the total charge. We asked whether all licences would now cover internet streaming as standard, and what happens if PPL and PRSfM are unable to reach an agreement with the Community Media Association.

In a joint statement issued by PRS for Music, they would only say:

PRS for Music and PPL are currently in early stages of dialogue with the trade bodies to discuss the terms of the new joint licence, therefore are not in a position to disclose or confirm any specific details. We look forward to announcing the details of the joint licence soon.

UK music royalty rates for radio are some of the highest in the world. Pure-play internet radio rates for sizable operations are significantly higher than the US and most other countries, which some operators claim make it impossible to operate. Speaking in 2012, Pandora founder Tim Westergren criticised PRS for not offering rates that are economically viable. Pandora remains unavailable in the UK; Google Play Music's similar ad-supported radio service has also not launched in the UK. The UK radio industry has, however, no content quotas requiring a percentage of domestic music be played: which is the case in some other countries like Ireland, France, Canada and Australia.

On a side note, PRS and PPL say that the effect of the planned exit of the UK from the European Union isn't yet clear. The EU is responsible for 60% of PRS members' international income, and £36.7m of revenue for PPL. Neither organisations expect any immediate change to their business as a result.


3 years, 10 months ago

Why do we live in a total rip off nation? - PRS is paid for at the point of broadcast and by the radio stations. Why is then that if you play radio in your hairdressers shop or suchlike YOU HAVE TO PAY AGAIN! - Absolute total rip off!

3 years, 10 months ago

Many of the artists that we play will be getting nothing yet we have definite proof that we play unknown artists and listeners then go and buy their music. The artists are more than happy to give us music at zero cost, especially if we also interview them, plug them on Facebook, get them to record an insert etc.

Why should we pay PPL/PRS - we are selling music for the artists and reaping little financial gain in the process (our small advertising income cannot be compared to the large commercial organisations.

3 years, 4 months ago

The point has also been made that neither Royalty Society has a mandate from the Copyright Commission to collect fees under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

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