In 2019 music licensing company PPL collected a total of £271.8 million for performers and recording rightsholders; an increase of £25 million (10%) from 2018. Growth was achieved across all three of PPL’s revenue streams; broadcast and online income grew by 2% to £85.5 million; public performance and dubbing by 8% to £99.6 million, and international collections by 22% to £86.7 million.
PPL’s revenue from the use of recorded music across licensed broadcast and online linear services grew from £83.6 million in 2018 to £85.5 million in 2019, an increase of £1.9 million (2%). For radio, this growth was driven in part by a rise in advertising income from the commercial radio sector and by an increase in the number of smaller radio broadcasters and online linear webcasters acquiring licences. TV licensing remains a core part of PPL’s activity with recorded music being used extensively on many television services. In 2019, major long-term licensing deals for a range of public service and commercial broadcasters and TV programme distributors were signed.
Public performance and dubbing1 income increased by £7.3 million (8%) to £99.6 million in 2019, up from £92.3 million in 2018. It was the second full year of PPL’s public performance licensing joint venture with PRS for Music – PPL PRS Ltd – and close working between the three companies has enabled more customers to transition to TheMusicLicence over the course of the year. Customers now benefit from 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 acquire a licence to play and perform music in public.
PPL’s international collections business grew by £15.8 million (22%) to £86.7 million, up from £70.9 million in 2018. This increase was driven by revenue from a number of collective management organisations (CMOs), including those in Germany, France, USA and the Netherlands. Throughout 2019 PPL also received monies from a number of territories for the first time, including CMOs in Africa and Latin America. PPL now has more than 95 international agreements with its counterparts around the world; last year six new bilateral agreements were signed with CMOs in Asia, Europe and North America. These agreements allow it to collect monies where its members’ repertoire is used overseas in the territories covered by those CMOs. Such usage includes radio or TV broadcasting, cable retransmission, public performance, private copying and dubbing.
In 2019 PPL also distributed money at least once to over 108,000 performers and 11,000 recording rightsholders, the first time that PPL has paid more than 100,000 different performers in a single financial year. In 2018, 94,000 performers and 10,000 recording rightsholders were paid.
The revenue collected in 2019 enables PPL to continue to provide an important revenue stream to its members, who include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and globally renowned artists. Payment out of the money collected in 2019 is now helping maintain some crucial cash flow for those whose other income sources have declined due to COVID-19; its Q1 payment was a record £87.6 million and the company also paid out £23.9 million in April, as an advance on its forthcoming June distribution which will include a further significant payment of 2019 collections.
Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL said:
“2019 was a positive year for PPL as we saw record revenues and paid out performance royalties to more performers and recording rightsholders than ever before. Such success benefits the growing community that we represent both in the UK and internationally.
The strength of our collections and business operations meant that PPL has been in a position to take additional steps to help our members and the wider music community during the current crisis. In March, we made a payment of £87.6 million to over 26,000 performers and recording rightsholders, with a further advance payment of £23.9 million in April, to over 15,000 performers and recording rightsholders. In addition, we have made and will continue to make a number of contributions to industry hardship funds in order to bring support to those who need it most during these times.”