Hospitality industry reacts 'robustly' to PPL tariff review

Hospitality industry reacts 'robustly' to PPL tariff review

PPL has launched a consultation as part of a review of its Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff – but the hospitality industry has already issued a warning about the impact of any changes.

The consultation paper covers recorded music at events and applies to nightclubs, pubs and bars, cafes and restaurants, and hotels. The current tariff has been in place for around 30 years.

According to PPL, the SFE tariff requires structural reform as it “undervalues” the rights of PPL’s performer and record company members. The proposals for the revised tariff would add music being streamed at events, while the “fee per person” measurement would be the same regardless of the size of the audience. If implemented, the changes would involve a higher proportionate fee per person for larger events.

PPL has said the current fees are “too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to businesses of using recorded music at SFE events”.

Trade body UKHospitality has already hit out by warning that any increase in PPL’s tariff would limit its members’ ability to provide recorded music at events.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We see no reason why there should be a need to fundamentally change the SFE tariff and increase costs for businesses already struggling against a swathe of taxes. 

“It is clear that if PPL’s current thinking were to be implemented it would result in massive increases in licence fees, inevitably leading to higher prices for customers and significantly reducing the ability of establishments across the UK to play recorded music, when mixed by DJs or for dancing.”

We see no reason why there should be a need to fundamentally change the SFE tariff and increase costs for businesses

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality

She added: “UKHospitality will be liaising with our members and other stakeholders to robustly respond to these proposals, to avoid additional costs that would drive music out of venues and ultimately close some hospitality businesses.”

The consultation paper has been sent to trade bodies, as well as licensees putting on SFE events in nightclubs, pubs and bars, cafes and restaurants, and hotels. The deadline for responses is September 28.

PPL CEO Peter Leathem said: “This consultation paper provides an important opportunity for licensees to contribute to the review and potential reform of PPL’s Specially Featured Entertainment tariff. 

“Through licensing the use of recorded music at SFE events, we are keen to see our repertoire continue to support and drive entertainment within the hospitality sector. In an environment where recorded music forms a very significant part of the business proposition, it is important that those who invested their time and talent in creating such music are fairly rewarded. We therefore welcome responses from our licensees in order to help us finalise our views on a potential new SFE tariff.”

The consultation paper is available to view on PPL’s website.

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