UK licensing

UK licensing

PPL’s UK licensing encompasses all of its public performance, dubbing, broadcast and online activity.

Public performance covers the playing of recorded music in public places such as shops, bars, restaurants, offices, gyms and hairdressers. Dubbing is the licensing of the commercial copying of music by specialist companies that supply tailored recorded music services to businesses. Broadcast licensing covers the licensing of recorded music used by radio stations, TV channels and some online services.

Public performance and dubbing

Public performance and dubbing revenues increased significantly in 2022, growing by 39.8% from £72.1 million in 2021 to £100.8 million in 2022. Following the turbulence of the previous two years where Covid-19 forced the closure of many of the businesses which we license, 2022 saw a return to improved trading for PPL PRS Ltd. Alongside finalising Covid-related credits for customers who experienced business closure, the PPL PRS team focused on improving operational efficiencies to allow agents more time in direct contact with customers, as well as developing high-performing teams who will thrive in the business.

In late 2021 we settled a Copyright Tribunal reference brought by trade bodies UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association on PPL’s Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff. 2022 saw PPL PRS Ltd successfully launch the new SFE tariff, with effect from January 2023.

The terms secured will ensure consistent reporting on the new tariff and will better recognise the value of PPL members’ repertoire to discos, DJ events and other featured recorded music usage in pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Broadcast and online licensing

Our broadcast and online revenue grew 8.4% in 2022 compared to 2021, totalling £94.0 million. This growth was driven by the renegotiation of a number of key licensing deals with some of our biggest partners. Commercial radio income, for which PPL receives a percentage of stations’ revenues, grew 2% year-on-year.

2022 was an important year for our licensing of the UK broadcast market, with all our major deals under negotiation, and broadcasters seeking extended rights to cover a plethora of new services. Music remains a key part of UK broadcasters’ creative output and PPL’s broad blanket licences enable this and ensure that our members are effectively compensated. We agreed significant new multi-year licensing deals with the BBC for its public service activity (including new rights for its online output on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer) and for its commercial arm, BBC Studios. A new multi-year deal with ITV covered the launch of its expanded ITVX service, and other renegotiated licences included Channel 4, Channel 5, MTV and Viaplay. These new licences ensure we keep abreast of developments in technology and changes in consumer habits, as our licensees develop new services to maintain their reach and relevance.

On radio and webcasting, we extended our deal with Bauer Media, as it expanded its subscription radio offering to include key brands Absolute, KISS, Magic, and Greatest Hits. We continued to develop PPL’s international webcast licensing by working collaboratively with our international CMO partners. This included successfully securing updated multi-territory webcasting licences with Sonos Radio, Mixcloud Live (the audio-visual live streaming service) ― extending this agreement to cover additional territories ― and Polaroid Radio’s new service, covering seven territories, including the UK.