The two licensing companies responsible for businesses music licenses in the UK may become one as a 50/50, joint-venture company.
The two collection societies, PRS for Music and PPL, collectors of royalties for musicians and the industry, are looking into a joint venture on their UK sector – worth roughly £250 million a year. The deal would mean UK businesses wishing to play music would be required to gain only one license, whilst still working with both companies.
PRS for Music issue licenses that collect royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and publisher for composition and lyrics. PPL, on the other hand, work on behalf of the record companies and publishers for use of the recordings. The proposed deal seems like it would make a lot of sense for the two similar-yet-separate companies and in-turn would make it easier for UK businesses to acquire the correct licenses so that they can play music legally.
Chief executive of PRS for Music, Robert Ashcroft had this to say: “Creating a single point of contact for our UK public performance customers would allow us to significantly simplify music licensing for UK businesses. It is in our members’ and customers’ interests to ensure that our licensing is ever more accurate and efficient. A joint venture between our organisations would be a landmark event for both societies.”
The talks of a joint venture comes after an ongoing strategic review since last year that aims to simplify the acquisition of music licenses so that smaller businesses aren’t put off. A report by Music Week says that with the new single license businesses could purchase it easily through a phone call or simply by visiting a website. If the proposals go through the two companies are expected to introduce a single-license system in 2017.
CEO for PPL, Peter Leathem said: “Both our organisations firmly believe that the proposed joint venture would be a very positive development for both our customers and our members, building on the successful joint licensing solutions and other joint working initiatives that PPL and PRS for Music have delivered over the last few years.”
Although the deal wouldn’t reduce the cost of the licenses, rather just adding the two payments into one, the streamlined process would appeal not only to license-holders but also artists and companies using the service as it would likely increase efficiency and therefore returns. The companies are about to enter talks with stakeholders and regulators to discuss the possibility of a joint venture, which will be subject to regulatory approval.