PPL revenue up 4% as international income dips in 2023

PPL revenue up 4% as international income dips in 2023

PPL generated £283.5 million of revenue in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 4% and the highest level of income in its 90-year history.  

The collective management organisation (CMO) licenses the use of recorded music for public performance and broadcast in the UK, and collects similar royalties on behalf of performers and recording rights-holders around the world.

Net revenue after operating cost and other deductions – the money available to be passed on to PPL members and other CMOs through a network of international agreements – grew by 5%, with the cost as a percentage of revenue reducing from 13.3% to 13% compared to the previous year.

However, there was a mixed picture with international income down in 2023. The 4% growth in 2023 was almost half of what PPL achieved in the prior year (7.8%).

Public performance income

Income from the use of recorded music in public places (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices, factories, etc) increased by 11% to over £111 million in 2023 (2022: £100.8 million).

This revenue is collected by Leicester-based PPL PRS, a joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music, which launched in 2018. “These revenues have now surpassed the pre-pandemic high and continue to demonstrate the value to businesses of investing in music as a driver of customer and employee engagement,” said a statement. 

PPL also launched its new tariff for Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) in 2023, negotiated in partnership with industry bodies. The licence, for the use of recorded music in DJ sets and discos in pubs, bars, nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, and cafes, has driven a positive impact for performers and recording rights-holders.

Broadcast revenues

PPL’s revenues from the licensing of recorded music for radio, TV and online increased by 2.5% to £96.4 million in 2023 (2022: £94 million).  

Growth in TV revenues was driven by the negotiation of several new licences, including with Discovery and S4C for their TV services, and a new long-term deal with the BBC for its public service activities across radio, TV, BBC Sounds and iPlayer.

The licence fee PPL collects for commercial radio is based upon a percentage of radio station revenue, which was adversely impacted by a downturn in the advertising market in 2023. However, this sector showed signs of positive recovery towards the end of the year.

In these somewhat precarious times for performers, we are proud to deliver a consistent stream of income for them and recording rights-holders

Peter Leathem

International revenue

International revenue, collected by PPL for the use of members’ music around the world, dipped to £75.4 million in 2023 (2022: £77.8 million).

PPL saw annual growth in collections from the majority of CMOs in 2023. Payments were received for the first time from CMOs in Guatemala and Indonesia, and the company signed deals to open up new markets, including with the Indian Singers’ and Musicians’ Rights Association (ISAMRA) and RAYS in Azerbaijan. 

The number of performers choosing PPL for their international collections continued to rise amid a competitive marketplace, including artists such as Lewis Capaldi, Central Cee and Libianca.

These elements of international growth were offset by the impact elsewhere of declining revenues in terms of past monies collected, combined with the residual effect of several years of disrupted collections due to the repercussions of Covid-19 on many businesses. This led to a slight year-on-year comparative reduction in total income.

“PPL continues to focus on the long-term competitiveness of the business and the potential for growth as the overall neighbouring rights market expands,” said a statement. “The organisation now has over 110 agreements with fellow CMOs in more than 50 countries covering over 95% of the neighbouring rights market by value. Overall, the company is seeing international revenue settle into a more standardised pattern following some exceptional years of past monies pay-through and is forecasting steadier growth going forward.”

Peter Leathem OBE, CEO of PPL, said: “While much has changed in the 90 years since PPL was formed, the power of music to drive commercial value for businesses in the UK and beyond remains ever constant. Research repeatedly shows that music increases both consumer dwell time and propensity to buy, and also drives greater productivity and attention to detail in the workplace. More and more businesses are investing in the power of music and its benefits.

“In these somewhat precarious times for performers, we are proud to deliver a consistent stream of income for them and recording rights-holders – over £1 billion distributed in the past five years alone. As the world leader in international collections, we will continue to advocate for neighbouring rights in new markets to maximise revenue opportunities for all our members.” 


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