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PPL and PRS announce joint venture to simplify public performance licensing

By | Published on Tuesday 2 February 2016


“Licensees often say ‘if the point of collective licensing is to simplify things and reduce the number of licenses I need, why do I still need two licences, one for songs, one for recordings'” said Chris Cooke at the CMU Insights seminar ‘How Music Licensing Works’ last night. That’s me by the way. Hello.

Well, the UK music industry’s two main collecting societies – the record industry’s PPL and the music publishing sector’s PRS For Music – have only gone and announced a plan to launch a new joint venture that will allow public performance licensees using recordings of songs to cover both copyrights in one joint licence. One phone call. One web form. One invoice. Simple. Let PPL and PRS worry about splitting the money between the rights owners.

The move follows a strategic review instigated by the societies last year, and responds to calls by government for the music industry to further simplify the licensing process. It also follows the lead of New Zealand’s collecting societies which did something very similar in 2013.

It remains to be seen quite how many licensees will be able to get a single music licence from the new joint venture when it properly gets underway in 2017, probably from a base outside London.

Confirming the new venture, PRS chief Robert Ashcroft told reporters: “Creating a single point of contact for our UK public performance customers would allow us to significantly simplify music licensing for UK businesses. It is in our members’ and customers’ interests to ensure that our licensing is ever more accurate and efficient. A joint venture between our organisations would be a landmark event for both societies”.

Meanwhile PPL boss Peter Leathem added: “Both our organisations firmly believe that the proposed joint venture would be a very positive development for both our customers and our members, building on the successful joint licensing solutions and other joint working initiatives that PPL and PRS For Music have delivered over the last few years”.