British record company and performers collecting society Phonographic Performance Limited, which licenses and collects royalties for sound recording performances, has reported distributable income to


LONDON -- British record company and performers collecting society Phonographic Performance Limited, which licenses and collects royalties for sound recording performances, has reported distributable income to its members of £71.5 million ($134.6 million) in 2004, up from £68.7 million ($129.4 million).

Total licensing revenue for the year rose to £82.7 million ($155.7 million), up 3.4% from 2003, the London-based, nonprofit organization says in its annual report.

"One can always do better and more but we are quietly pleased with these results," PPL/VPL chairman/CEO Fran Nevrkla tells ELW. He adds that in the past four years the organization almost halved its cost/income ratio. During the same period, the monies distributed to its members have increased by about 40%.

In 2004, PPL's cost-to-income ratio stood at 15.1%, compared with 16.6% in the corresponding period last year.

License fees for radio broadcasting and dubbing contributed the lion's share of PPL revenue in 2004 with £48.5 million ($91.3 million), up from £46.8 million ($88.1 million) last time.

At the same time, income from public performance rose to £32.2 million ($60.6 million) from £31.2 million ($58.7 million).

Another increasing source of income, Nevrkla adds, comes from the international exploitation of British repertoire. PPL collects overseas performance royalties on behalf of several trade groups such as the Assn. of United Recording Artists, Music Producers Guild, Musicians' Union and Performing Artists' Media Rights Assn.

PPL has multiplied reciprocal deals with sister societies in such countries as Germany, Canada, Australia, France, Japan and Italy. It also has a deal in place with Washington, D.C.-based SoundExchange whose members -- artists and labels --- benefit from revenue collected for the uses of their works in each other's territory.

"Since we started collecting on behalf of the other organizations 15 months ago, we've raised several million pounds in royalties," says Nevrkla. "But we are very far from what British artists and labels are owed. We've had a good start but much more needs to be done. We are going to accelerate the process."

PPL counts more than 3,000 members and grants licenses to more than 200,000 venues.

The society will hold its annual meeting June 7 at the British Museum. Guest speakers will include the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry chairman/CEO John Kennedy and China Audio-Video Assn. president Liu Guo Xiong.

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