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Boost in licensing revenue collected for musicians and rightsholders in 2021

A woman holds 12 inch vinyl records (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A woman holds 12 inch vinyl records (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

UK music licensing company PPL collected £252.8 million in 2021, a 12% increase in revenue on the previous year.

The results mark the company’s second-highest annual revenue total, after 2019’s £271.8 million.

The company licences radio stations, TV broadcasters and some digital media services to play recorded music as part of their programming.

It collects and distributes money to some 120,000 performers and rightsholders, playing a significant role in their income streams.

According to its annual report, PPL’s international revenue was £94 million last year, the highest annual revenue amount since international collections started in 2006.

This was up by £8.1 million (9.4%) on the £85.9 million collected in 2020.

Reflecting the recovery of the commercial radio sector’s advertising revenues in 2021, broadcast and online licensing revenue increased by £4.4 million (5.3%) to a record annual total of £86.7 million.

Pubs, bars, clubs and shops were able to trade more freely in 2021 thanks to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and revenue from public performance and dubbing grew by £14.6 million (25.4%) to £72.1 million.

This was up from £57.5 million in 2020 but revenues are yet to return to their pre-pandemic level of £99.6 million.

PPL chief executive Peter Leathem said: “2021 was a strong year for PPL.

“We achieved our second-highest annual revenue total and saw our best ever year for both International revenue and Broadcast and online revenue.

“Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business.

“PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rightsholders than ten years ago when I became CEO and is collecting nearly double the revenue.

“We collect more international neighbouring rights royalties than anyone else, and PPL PRS Ltd, our joint public performance licensing venture with PRS for Music, launched in 2018, is streamlining the collection of public performance royalties.

“PPL has been able to achieve such successful growth because of the talented and dedicated team I have with me at PPL.

“Thank you to our members, licensees and industry partners for working so collaboratively with us and we look forward to continuing to develop the neighbouring rights sector for the benefit of performers and recording rightsholders.”

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