PPL has completed its merger with PAMRA and AURA, creating a new body which it says represent the "most fundamental change" in the U.K. collecting society's seventy-three year history.

London-based PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) used the platform of the Midem trade fair to reveal its new structure, which incorporates PAMRA (Performing Artists' Media Rights Assn. and AURA (Assn. of United Recording Artists).

Executives from across the U.K. industry gathered for a luncheon today (Jan. 21) at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes to celebrate the merger. Speaking at the function, PPL chairman/CEO Fran Nevrkla said the new, united front would become a force for its members.

"Six year ago, we received no oversees performer income. Now we are counting millions [of pounds]," he told guests. "But we want to be counting tens of millions. And the income needs to move in both directions."

The enlarged organization's performer board, which will handle all performer-specific issues within the company, is to consist of four performer directors, plus two other PPL board directors nominated by the PPL board.

The four performer directors will be Gerald Newson (former chairman of PAMRA and currently a working member of the LSO), Glen Barnham (previously of Equity), Nigel Parker (previously of AURA) and John F. Smith, general secretary of the Musicians' Union and the current president of FIM, the worldwide body representing performers. Newson will be the first chairman of the performer board.

Nevrkla and Sanctuary's Tim Smith complete the structure of the board. Five performer "guardian" members can also be appointed.

The performer board will determine all distribution policies for performers' U.K. income, and oversee the collection and distribution of international revenues due to performers.

"It is high time that the whole performer community, as well as all member companies, benefited from a first class, efficient and cost effective service under the PPL umbrella," commented Nevrkla. "They deserve nothing less."

Newson also welcomed the new structure. "The result of this merger is a new, streamlined organization which will increase efficiency, have greater political weight, and put into place better collection and distribution practices thus producing greater income for all our performer members," he stated.

Smith described the amalgamation, the result of five years' groundwork, as, "a triumph for all interested parties and will undoubtedly form the basis for close and fruitful industry cooperation for many years to come."

The company has also finalized a string of new international reciprocal deals, its first since the merger. Agreements have been concluded with GRAMO, the Norwegian Society for both record companies and performers; AARC, a U.S. body representing labels and recordings artists; and EFU, the Estonia collecting society for record companies. The company now boasts 28 such agreements, with more to be announced shortly.

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