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U.K. Collection Society PPL Posts Record Revenues

Strong growth in international collections helped U.K. music licensing company PPL achieve its highest ever annual results in 2018. 

Collections for the year totaled £246.8 million ($318.9 million), a 13 percent rise on 2017, with a record £210 million ($271 million) paid out to performers and recording rights holders, up 16 percent on the previous year.  

Of PPL's three revenue streams, international revenues experienced the sharpest increase, rising 43 percent to just under £71 million ($92 million). 

The London-based business has 92 agreements in place with collective management organizations (CMOs) around the world, enabling it to collect monies for the use of its members' repertoire in international radio or TV broadcasting, public performance, private copying or dubbing.     

Closer to home, broadcast and online collections in the U.K. generated almost £84 million ($109 million), a 5 percent rise on the previous year. 


PPL said the growth was due in part to an increase in advertising revenue in the commercial radio sector, of which it receives a percentage as a license fee, coupled with a number of new licence deals with major TV broadcasters and TV program distributors.

Public performance and dubbing revenues were also up, rising 3 percent, to just over £92 million ($119 million). 

In February 2018, PPL and fellow U.K. collecting society PRS for Music launched a new joint venture entity called PPL PRS Ltd to administer the licensing of music used in public (known as public performances) under a single license.  

PPL said the joint venture — alongside growth in income — contributed to reducing admin costs and lowering its cost to income ratio from 16.5 percent in 2017 to just under 14 percent.

The total number of performers and recording rights holders that PPL distributed money to was over 105,000, up from 98,000, leading PPL chief executive Peter Leathem to call 2018 "another positive year" for the organization. 

"In 2019 we will continue to invest in our people, our technology and our data," he said, "and with further innovation will aim to deliver another year of high quality service to our members."