UK’s PPL Posts 11% Growth in Licence Fee Income

Licence fee income collected by U.K. licensing body PPL grew by 11% last year to £170.8 million ($261.9 million), up from £153.5 million ($235.4 million) in 2011, according to the organization’s financial results for the year ending December 31 2012, published today (April 15).

A key contributor to the rise in licence fee income was 18% growth in public performance revenue, which totaled £64.8 million ($99.3 million), up from £55 million ($84.3 million) the previous year. Broadcasting and online income also grew 5% year-on-year totaling £69.4 million ($106.4 million) in 2012, up from £66.2 million ($101.5 million) in 2011. International income was up 13% to £36.6 million ($56.1 million), from £32.4 million ($49.7 million) the previous year.

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A total of £146.6 million ($224.7 million) was distributed by PPL to record companies, rights holders and performers in 2012. Improved efficiency, meanwhile, saw the organization’s cost to income ratio fall to 14.4% (compared to 14.9% in 2011).

PPL, which works on behalf of 75,000 record companies and performers to license recorded music for public performance and broadcast, both in the U.K. and internationally, attributed its year-on-year revenue growth to the increased use of recordings on television, radio and online platforms, as well the continued strength of U.K. recordings in international markets.

2012 additionally saw the renewal of PPL’s agreements with its largest single licensee -- the BBC. PPL’s deal with the broadcaster covers BBC radio and television services and runs to 2017. Despite the growing competition from online services, PPL reports that its principal licensees in commercial radio and television continued to grow in 2012.

Income generated from public performance (music played in bars, clubs, hotels, shops and offices) grew as a result of a sizeable increase in the number of U.K. premises licensed, supported by improved internal processes, claims PPL. The rise in income generated by international repertoire was attributed to the continued strong global performance of U.K. artists, combined with an increase in the number of PPL members signed up to the company’s international collection service. In 2012, PPL received payments for the first time from Croatia (HUZIP), Czech Republic (INTERGRAM), Estonia (EEL), Hungary (EJI), Iceland (SFH), New Zealand (PPNZ), Portugal (GDA and Audiogest), Russia (VOIS) and Ukraine (UMA). As a result of these new deals, PPL now has over 60 bilateral agreements in 35 different countries.

“I am delighted to be able to report strong growth across all of our three main income streams as a result of the continued good progress PPL is making as a company as well as the astonishing success and popularity of U.K. music domestically and around the world,” said Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, in a statement. "The growth in our International collections was clearly supported by the U.K. continuing to punch above its weight on the global stage.”

As reported April 8, performance rights revenue was the fastest growing sector in the music industry in 2012, rising 9.4% to $943 million and accounting for 6% of worldwide recorded music revenues, according to the latest IFPI “Recording Industry in Numbers” annual report. The U.S. leads the field in terms of performance rights income, generating $161.2 million in 2012, up from $130.9 million the previous year. The United Kingdom is the world’s second biggest market for performance rights income, with revenues totalling $128.4 million in 2012, up from £114 million in 2011.

Alongside its year-end financial results, PPL also published its list of the top ten most played songs in the United Kingdom in 2012, compiled from radio play and the use of recordings on television and public premises.

The top ten most played pop songs of 2012, according to PPL, are:

1)    Jessie J -- "Domino"
2)    Gotye (Feat. Kimbra) -- "Somebody That I Used To Know"
3)    Emeli Sandé -- "Next To Me"
4)    Maroon 5 -- "Moves Like Jagger"
5)    David Guetta (Feat. Sia) -- "Titanium"
6)    Olly Murs -- "Dance With Me Tonight"
7)    Kelly Clarkson -- "Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)"
8)    Rihanna & Calvin Harris -- "We Found Love"
9)    Carly Rae Jepsen -- "Call Me Maybe"
10)   Maroon 5 -- "Payphone"


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