The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said it is "not convinced" by arguments made by the commercial radio sector about the impact of the music licensing system in the U.K.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of trade body RadioCentre, told the committee of MPs there was "effectively a double taxation" in relation to the radio industry - licensing fees for broadcasters, and the licensing charges for public places that play the radio.

"We already pay 10% of our revenue to license music," Harrison told the committee. "We pay the record labels, the PPL, and we pay the artists and composers, the [Performing Right Society] PRS. We already pay once for that broadcast license. We think it is incredibly unfair that there is in effect double taxation on the consumers of our product that they are then obliged to pay for having the radio on in the workplace.

"It would seem a transparent example of iniquitous double taxation. The evidence we are beginning to pick up is that the rather aggressive licensing demands that the collecting bodies like the PRS and the PPL are putting on small shops, offices, hairdressers and factories are beginning to lead to a flurry of people certainly writing to us."

Both PRS for Music and recorded music licensing body PPL responded to the committee and refuted any allegations that they employ aggressive tactics to recover license fees. PRS for Music also stated that it had recently launched a Code of Practise and had received very few complaints.

Fran Nevrkla, chairman and CEO of PPL, issued an angry statement in response to the comments in the report.

"We at PPL were rather taken aback by what we considered a cynical and shameless attack by the RadioCentre on the lawful rights of all performers as well as all the companies who make enormous annual investments in finding, supporting and nurturing new talent," he said.

"Music is hugely valuable to the businesses who choose to use it to enhance the atmosphere in their stores for their customers and their staff. It is not for the RadioCentre to interfere in the established and legitimate process by which performers and record companies are paid for all the benefits their recordings bring. This licensing system has been entirely vindicated by the Select Committee's firm rejection of the RadioCentre's bogus and self serving arguments."

In its conclusion to the report, the Select Committee said: "We are not convinced by RadioCentre's assertions that music licenses for radios in the workplace are either being aggressively collected, or are contributing to a downturn in radio listening. Performing artists have a right to earn from their work and the cost to businesses playing a radio is not unreasonable."

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