The UK’s 2 major royalty collecting societies, PPL and PRS, have begun joining forces as a joint-venture company that will cover all of the UK’s most important music licensing.

Last year the two collection societies proposed a joint-venture to simplify the process of getting music licenses, making it more appealing for smaller business to apply. Now the two companies are beginning their merger by combining their vast databases and have plans to create “a prototype search tool to improve identification of sound recordings and musical works and the links between them”.

Working together, the companies have already linked over two-and-a-half million recordings from PPL to over 1.2 million of the tracks in PRS database, making it far easier to search and administer licenses. PPL and PRS are reportedly already considering joining forces with other royalty societies to streamline the music industry’s licensing and royalty payments as much as possible. Australian society APRA AMCOS have shown interest in a merger with the two.

PRS for Music’s director of operations, Paul Dilorito said: “Collaboration is key to the successful resolution of the data challenge across the industry”. PPL’s CTO, Mark Douglas added: “We are excited about extending beyond this pilot to draw in other CMOs and PROs to progress the initiative even further.”

The companies have combined to unify their music licensing in which, in the simplest terms possible, PPL covers the rights of the recording and PRS cover the rights behind the songwriting of the track. Whilst the tools will now be much more simple and efficient to use for business and venues to cover the music played within their establishment.

Apparently the linked data will not include full ownership information for recordings or works, which the companies will continue to manage separately although it is “conceptually possible”.