The proposed merger of Britain's three collecting societies representing performers has moved a stage closer to completion.

The proposed merger of Britain's three collecting societies representing performers has moved a stage closer to completion.

The formal contractual documentation to form a single entity between Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Performing Artists' Media Rights Assn. (PAMRA) and the Assn. of United Recording Artists (AURA) has been completed.

Earlier this year, British corporate regulator the Office of Fair Trading gave the green light to the proposed pact. Members of PPL, AURA and PAMRA have endorsed the plan, which is described as the most fundamental development in PPL's seventy-two year history.

PPL, the longest-established of the three bodies, collects performance rights on behalf of 3,500 record company members and licenses from more than 40,000 performers. The initiative would see AURA and PAMRA transfer the mandates of their 18,000-plus members over to a new integrated service at PPL.

In a related move, U.K. veteran label executive and artist manager Keith Harris has joined PPL in the new role as director of performer affairs, with immediate effect. Going forward, Harris will be the liaison point for performers within PPL.

Harris is a senior fellow of the University of Westminster School of music film and fashion, and is chairman of U.K.-based music industry network MusicTank. He has also served the U.K.'s Music Managers Forum as chairman.

In other news, PPL has promoted Sue Carty to director of member and performer services, a new post. Carty joined PPL in 2001 as manager of CatCo, the organization's track level sound recording digital database for the record industry. Two years later, she was appointed to run the company's Public Performance Operations (PPO).

Harris and Carty report to Fran Nevrkla, chairman/CEO of PPL and sister organization VPL.

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