PPL revenues up 12% in 2021

PPL revenues up 12% in 2021

PPL has delivered a 12% year-on-year increase in revenues in 2021 to £252.8 million. 

All three revenue streams – international, broadcast & online, and public performance & dubbing - grew year-on-year. International and broadcast & online licensing revenues delivering record annual amounts. 

These results mark the music licensing organisation’s second highest annual revenue total, after 2019’s £271.8 million.


PPL’s international revenues were £94.0 million last year - up by 9.4% and the highest annual revenue amount since international collections started in 2006. 

PPL collects more international neighbouring rights money than any other company or administrator. It has 105 agreements with collective management organisations (CMOs) in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. 

In 2021, PPL established new deals with CMOs in India and Indonesia. In 2021 a number of CMOs also sped up or brought forward payments to support performers and recording rights-holders impacted by Covid-19, further contributing to 2021’s international revenue amount.

Broadcast & online

Broadcast & online licensing revenue increased by 5.3% last year to a record annual total of £86.7 million in 2021. This reflects the recovery of the commercial radio sector’s advertising revenues in 2021, whose licence fees are calculated as a share of each station’s revenue. Total radio revenues were higher in 2021 than in 2019, before the pandemic. 

PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rights-holders than 10 years ago

Peter Leathem

PPL also continued to license new online services and platforms, including multi-territory deals with Mixcloud for its Mixcloud Live streaming service and with Sonos for its Sonos Radio service. PPL works with other CMOs to deliver pan-territorial licensing deals for new webcasting services. 

Television income is stable thanks to the long-term licences PPL has negotiated with major broadcasters.

Public performance & dubbing

Revenue from the playing of music in public at venues such as pubs, bars, clubs, shops and offices grew by 25.4% to £72.1 million in 2021. Licensees were able to trade more freely than in 2020 thanks to the easing of Covid restrictions, but revenues are yet to return to their pre-pandemic level of £99.6 million. 

PPL PRS Ltd, the joint licensing venture operated by PPL in partnership with PRS For Music, worked with licensees and their trade bodies to support them during the pandemic. In addition to not charging fees for periods when premises were closed, support included temporarily changing payment policies to allow for deferred payments and suspending late payment charges.

2021 distributions

Whilst PPL distributions decreased by 15.2% to £228.7 million in 2021 due to the pandemic’s impact on 2020 collections, a record number of performers and recording rights-holders were paid – 147,000 received at least one payment in 2021, an increase of 35,000 (31.3%) on 2020. 

PPL’s repertoire database holds detailed performer and recording rights-holder information on more than 20 million recordings. Over the last three years, on average 45,000 new recording details have been received each week. 

It also works closely with partner organisations across the music industry to develop technology and operations, which helps to improve the quality of recording metadata as well as the identification of recording usage. This includes building and then operating IFPI and WIN’s RDx data exchange portal and being an important player in SCAPR’s Virtual Recording Database (which is improving the quality, use and sharing of performer line-ups on recordings). 

Peter Leathem, chief executive officer of PPL, said: “2021 was a strong year for PPL. We achieved our second highest annual revenue total and saw our best ever year for both international revenue and broadcast & online revenue. Being able to deliver this while in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, with all of its adverse impact on the economy, is testament to the strength of PPL’s business. 

“PPL now pays more than three times as many performers and recording rights-holders than 10 years ago when I became CEO and is collecting nearly double the revenue. We collect more international neighbouring rights royalties than anyone else, and PPL PRS Ltd, our joint public performance licensing venture with PRS for Music, launched in 2018, is streamlining the collection of public performance royalties.

“PPL has been able to achieve such successful growth because of the talented and dedicated team I have with me at PPL. Thank you to our members, licensees and industry partners for working so collaboratively with us and we look forward to continuing to develop the neighbouring rights sector for the benefit of performers and recording rights-holders.”

author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

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