PPL pays out a record £98 million in June
PPL, the UK’s music licensing company for recorded music, has made a record quarterly payment to more than 121,000 performers and recording rightsholders, in its second distribution of the year.
The company has today paid out a total of £98 million – a rise of 37% year-on-year from the £71.3 million paid out in June 2022, with income growing across all areas of UK licensing after revenues were affected in the previous two years by the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment represents the largest amount ever paid out in a single distribution by PPL. It is comprised of collections from the licensing and use of recorded music both in the UK and internationally.
This distribution also marks the largest ever number of performers and recording rightsholders to receive a payment in June, either as a direct member of PPL or via another collective management organisation (CMO) with which PPL has an agreement.
These quarterly all-time highs have been achieved in the wake of record annual results for the company in 2022, when it delivered the highest level of revenue in its 89-year history.
Included within the distribution total is revenue from the licensing of music videos via PPL’s sister company, VPL, when they are played in public. Just over £2.5 million was paid out to recording rightsholders.
Classical music is growing
While pop songs and artists continue to be the biggest earners – as reflected in PPL’s 2022 Most Played charts – classical music is quietly holding its own across the country, with revenues growing year-on-year. More than £5 million of the overall UK money distributed by PPL for 2022 went to classical performers and recording rightsholders – a rise of more than 50% since 2017. This includes £3.2 million paid to around 28,000 members in this payment. There are three national radio stations which primarily play classical music, and classical repertoire also provides a calm ambience in large numbers of public performance venues around the country, including waiting rooms, staff rooms, and even branches of McDonalds.
As part of its work to continue deepening meaningful relationships with more of the artists and rightsholders it represents within the classical genre, PPL has recently appointed specialist George Prince to a role focused on the genre. Prince’s role complements existing classical expertise already embedded within the organisation.
PPL is also once again sponsoring the Classical Award at today’s prestigious Silver Clef awards.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a PPL member and the 2023 Silver Clef Classical Award-winning British singer, songwriter, pianist, and cellist. She said: “Making a living from music is a dream for many musicians, and it’s something that I’m proud to say has become a reality for me. It hasn’t been easy – getting here has required a long-term commitment, an investment of time and money, and many sacrifices. That’s why it’s reassuring to know that thanks to the efforts of the team at PPL, our hard work as musicians will be rewarded.”
Collecting for PPL members at home and abroad
Headquartered in London, PPL licenses the use of recorded music when it is broadcast on radio and TV, both in the UK and internationally, or played in public (in bars, nightclubs, shops, offices, and so on). The company provides a vital service in helping to ensure that its 140,000 performer and recording rightsholder members – which include independent and major record companies and performers from multiple genres and territories, from up-and-coming bands to globally renowned household names – are paid when their tracks are used in the UK.
For some of its members, PPL also collects performance rights internationally when music is played overseas in public and used on TV, radio, and some online streaming services. Underpinning its position as the world’s leading international neighbouring rights company, PPL now has 109 agreements in place with overseas counterparts across 49 territories – more than any other business operating in the market. The thousands of performers who have mandated PPL to collect international royalties on their behalf include ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, Becky Hill, Digga D, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sandé, Gregory Porter, and Gotcha.
A pioneer in technology
This record distribution has been made possible by PPL’s significant investment in technology and operations. The company is a pioneer in the management of metadata, expanding the industry’s knowledge and understanding of who performs on or owns the rights to a specific recording. PPL’s industry-leading Repertoire Database now holds the details of approximately 24 million recordings, with more than 45,000 being added on average every week.
PPL also leads the way in the development of data standards across the global music industry. On behalf of its partners at IFPI (the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and WIN (Worldwide Independent Network), the company developed and operates RDx (Repertoire Data Exchange), a hub for communicating authoritative data about recordings and their ownership from record companies to collective management organisations. It is also a charter member of DDEX, the international standards organisation for data exchange in the music industry. This wide-ranging approach to data management helps to ensure the right people get paid for the use of their recorded music.
“Music we are proud to represent”
Christine Geissmar, PPL’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “This record June distribution demonstrates the high demand for the music we are proud to represent. Our success is built on a network of strong relationships with the people who work so hard to create and market British music. The global financial rewards and cultural standing achieved by this country’s music industry reflects that effort. We are proud to be supporting performers and recording rightsholders all over the world by ensuring they are fairly paid for their output.
“These outstanding results are also testament to the quality of our team, which uses its expertise and deep understanding of innovative technology to help us to identify and pay rightsholders and performers for their work.”