PPL generated revenues of £272.6 million in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 7.8%.
It marks the highest level of revenue in the licensing company’s 89-year history. The news comes as PPL hosts more than 100 international music executives in London this week for the AGM of SCAPR, the global trade body for organisations managing performers’ rights.
PPL licenses the use of recorded music when it is played in public or broadcast on radio and TV, both in the UK and internationally. Its 140,000 members include independent and major record companies, as well as session musicians, up-and-coming acts and globally renowned artists, including Ellie Goulding, Gregory Porter, Becky Hill, Emeli Sandé and Ella Henderson.
Peter Leathem, PPL chief executive officer, said: “The eyes of the world were upon the UK this weekend as we hosted Eurovision, one of the biggest celebrations of music there is. At PPL, we are proud to stand up for the music rights of our members, both in the UK and internationally, ensuring they receive payment for the use of their recorded music, which plays an important role in our everyday lives as we hear it on radio, TV and in public places.
“Today’s record financial results see PPL’s revenues reach their highest level in our 89-year history. These results are a testament to the quality of the team, the technology and our data at PPL; but that is nothing without the creativity and hard work of our members, who create the millions of high quality recordings being enjoyed by fans everyday.
“In 2022 I am delighted that we paid over 165,000 performers and recording rights-holders – more than ever before – providing a stable and valuable source of income in a recovering and fast-moving industry. Thank you to all those who worked with us at PPL last year to deliver a record year and, more importantly, to keep getting music people paid.”
Ellie Goulding said: “To make music for a living is an honour and privilege. Knowing that your investment in the creative process will be fairly rewarded when your songs are enjoyed around the world is so important in ensuring you can continue and grow as an artist. Thanks to all at PPL who make that happen.”
These results are a testament to the quality of the team, the technology and our data at PPL
Public performance revenue
Revenues from the use of recorded music in public places increased significantly in 2022, growing by 39.8% to £100.8 million. This also represented an increase on the company’s pre-pandemic public performance revenues of £99.6 million.
Covid forced the closure of many businesses and organisations which use music to engage their employees and customers, prompting a pause in licensing payments. The collection of these revenues is conducted by Leicester-based PPL PRS Ltd, a joint venture between PPL and PRS For Music.
Research conducted by Attest in January 2023 on behalf of PPL PRS Ltd shows that 85% of people agree that playing background music in a business makes customers feel more comfortable and relaxed, while 84% agree that playing background music creates a better customer experience.
PPL’s revenues from the licensing of recorded music for radio, TV and online use increased by 8.4% year-on-year to reach £94.0 million.
New multi-year deals with expanded rights granted were agreed with major TV broadcasters including the BBC (for both its public service and commercial activities), ITV and Channel 4, enabling them to broaden their offerings to users on services such as BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and ITVX. PPL continued to develop its international webcast licensing, including a new multi-territory licence for Polaroid Radio.
PPL’s international revenues in 2022 reached £77.8 million, declining by £16.2 million on 2021.
Revenue from past periods (for instance, radio airplay more than two years old) continued to make up a significant proportion of the international income collected. However, year-on-year, the proportion of revenue collected for past periods declined, due to the work undertaken by collective management organisations in speeding up their distribution paythrough.
Remaining Covid-19 restrictions also continued to impact revenue worldwide. The company has 109 agreements in place with its counterparts in 49 territories globally to aid the collection of these monies – more agreements than any other neighbouring rights business.
PPL continues to work in collaboration with peers around the world to encourage the adoption of centralised industry tools to improve data quality and exchange.
The growth in revenues and international agreements resulted in a record number of musicians and recording rights-holders being paid royalties. More than 165,000 of received payment for the use of their music in the UK and around the world.
“This new high represented an increase of 12.6%, up from 146,000 in 2021, and has been significantly supported by PPL’s investment in cutting edge technology in a data-driven industry,” said a statement. “The company is a pioneer in the management of metadata, driving forward greater knowledge and understanding across the industry of who performs on or owns the rights to a specific recording.”
PPL’s Repertoire Database now holds the details of approximately 24 million recordings, with over 45,000 being added on average every week.
PPL developed and operates RDx, the data exchange hub for communicating authoritative data about recordings and their ownership from record companies to collective management organisations. The organisation also took a lead in integrating with data management tools such as Session, of which ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus is a co-founder, to improve the flow of contributor data out of the recording studio.
At the end of 2022, PPL penned a deal with Gracenote, which helps to provide greater accuracy to the performer line-up in PPL’s data set.