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MU General Secretary John Smith to chair PPL

By | Published on Thursday 23 July 2015


John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, will take over from Fran Nevrkla as Chairman of the UK record industry’s performing rights society PPL at the start of next year when Nevrkla, a former CEO of the rights body, steps down.

Already a director on the PPL board, Smith’s appointment to the part time Chairman role should be popular, not least because it communicates the society’s commitment to its artist members. PPL not only represents the performing rights of UK record companies, but also manages the equitable remuneration featured artists and session musicians are due on that income under copyright law. In most other countries performers have their own societies to handle Performer ER, making PPL unusual in representing both labels and artists in the so called ‘neighbouring rights’ domain.

Confirming the appointment, PPL CEO Peter Leathem told reporters: “John has an excellent knowledge of PPL and the wider music industry and his appointment is unanimously supported by the board. John’s appointment provides stability and continuity to the organisation which is key to ensuring future success”.

Smith himself added: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to become Chairman of PPL. It is a great honour to follow in the footsteps of Fran Nevrkla who has presided over such a successful chapter in PPL’s history. Working for many years with PPL, the MU has given me a firm grounding in the practical application of performers’ rights and the role of effective collective management – knowledge that I will continue to apply on behalf of all PPL’s performer and record company members”.

The appointment was welcomed by Jo Dipple, boss of cross-sector trade group UK Music, which counts both the MU and PPL amongst its membership. She said: “The appointment of John Smith as incoming Chairman of PPL is brilliant. John brings with him the knowledge of a musician and the skill of a negotiator. Like Fran, John has offered me and UK Music support and guidance from the off. He is never more than a phone call away when I need to ask his advice. He will serve PPL in the manner he has served the Musicians’ Union – with passion, knowledge and diplomacy”.