Which performances are eligible for PPL royalties?

A ‘performance’ generally includes all audible contributions to the recording (such as guitar or vocals). In addition, certain inaudible contributions (such as the contribution made by a conductor or studio producer) may also be treated as a performance, where the conductor/studio producer conducts or provides a similar musical direction to another performer’s live performance as it is being recorded.

When using the myPPL online portal to make a performer claim against PPL repertoire (i.e. to be added to the performer line-up on a recording, in the PPL Repertoire Database), performers are requested to select a role to identify their contribution (e.g. role  ‘BVC’ for backing vocals). Roles are split into a number of types, not all of which are eligible for payment. Non-payable roles include certain studio activities, which add no audible contribution to the final sound recording.

Download a list of performer roles

What is a ‘qualifying’ performance?

PPL has to work within certain legal rules about what makes a performance a ‘qualifying’ performance so that the performer may be entitled to royalties from PPL.

In summary, a performance can qualify in one of two ways:

  • Based on the country of performance (i.e. where the performer gave the performance).
  • Based on country of residence/citizenship of the performer at the time they gave the performance.

In each case, the test is whether the relevant country of performance or country of residence/citizenship is classed as a ‘qualifying’ country under UK law. The list of qualifying countries is updated from time to time. It covers all EU member states, plus many other countries, each of which the UK considers offers sufficient protection of performers’ rights.

Please see PPL’s distribution rules for further information

Register as a performer with PPL

Join PPL for free today. Our online registration process guides you through what you need to do, to help make registration as quick and simple as possible.

If you are a performer who also owns the rights to recordings on which you’ve performed, you will need to register with PPL as both a performer and a recording rightsholder, in order to maximise your PPL royalties. In most cases, you can do this by completing one combined registration.

band in studio with producer large rectangle

Are studio producers entitled to PPL royalties?

Although a studio producer’s contribution to a recording is typically inaudible, their contribution may be treated as a ‘performance’ (meaning that they may be entitled to receive royalties from PPL) in some cases.

This applies where a studio producer conducts or provides a similar musical direction to another performer’s live performance as it is being recorded. Alterations made to a recording after the recording has been made, such as edits or remixes, will not qualify (but if the new versions involve new audible performances then these may be eligible for royalties).

When a studio producer who has contributed in this way is added to the performer line-up of a recording, they are always added as a non-featured performer.

PPL’s Eligible Studio Producer Form offers a simple, practical solution for studio producers to claim royalties. The form must be completed by both the studio producer and the featured performers on the recording, and then submitted to PPL for a claim to be made.

Find out more about PPL and studio producers and download the PPL Eligible Studio Producer Form

Join PPL for free now online

If you've performed on recorded music that has been broadcast or played in public, you could be entitled to royalties. If you control the rights for when recorded music is broadcast and played in public, PPL could be making money for you. It’s free to join PPL and you can do so online.