What is PPL, What do they do and who do they work for?

Phonographic Performance Limited, commonly known as PPL, is a UK-based music licensing company and performance rights organisation founded by Decca and EMI in 1934. As of 2012 PPL collected royalties for 65,000 performers and 10,000 record companies.

PPL and PRS for music are two separate collective management organisations (CMOs).

PPL collects and distributes money on behalf of performers and record companies for the use of their recorded music. PRS for Music collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers, for the use of their musical compositions and lyrics.

The law protects music rights in different ways; this means that businesses and organisations playing recorded music in public (whether live or via CDs, radio/TV broadcasts, background music systems or other sources) will usually need to obtain a licence from both PPL and PRS for Music.

PPL members range from session musicians and emerging artists to major record labels and globally successful performers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recorded music. Through agreements with over 50 music licensing companies around the world, PPL is also able to collect royalties for its members globally.

PPL is one of several collection societies in the UK that manage the rights and licence different types of copyrighted material.

PPL licenses the use of recorded music while others exist to manage rights in musical compositions, newspaper extracts, etc. Each of these organisations enable the user of these materials to obtain a licence, so both users and copyright owners can benefit from increased efficiency.

Playing music in public without the appropriate licences in place is copyright infringement and is unfair not only to the members (performers, record companies, songwriters, composers and music publishers) of each of PPL and PRS for Music who are legally entitled to a fair payment for the use of their work, but also to the many other businesses and organisations playing music who have obtained those licences.

The goals of PPL are;

●  To create maximum value for our record company and performer members.

●  To provide a first-class service to all our customers.

●  To implement and maintain first-class processes, systems and data.

●  To provide leadership and strategic direction in the global management of music usage and licensing.

●  To sustain a strong and ambitious team of people in an environment that encourages and rewards commitment and delivery of results.

  • PPL supports the music industry in its normal working day and does not retain a profit


The law gives performers and record companies the right to be paid when their music is played.

Businesses and broadcasters provide PPL with information about the recorded music they use then PPL collect fees on behalf of performers and record companies and in return give businesses and broadcasters the licence they legally need. With information from various sources, PPL match the recorded music played against the Repertoire Database although music matching is completed through a combination of processes including customer returns and broadcast data. Performers and record companies then receive the PPL royalties they deserve for their music.

A PPL licence gives the licence holder the permission to play recorded music from PPL’s repertoire (the vast majority of commercially released music in the UK).

Playing music that is outside of its copyright term or freely licensed does not require a PPL licence.

Music licensing for radio broadcasting

PPL licenses radio stations based in the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands to use recorded music within its repertoire in all forms of radio, from traditional FM/AM broadcasting to satellite and online radio streaming.

Music licensing for television broadcasting

With the relevant PPL music licence, broadcasters can use recorded music within PPL’s repertoire and/or music videos in their programming with the permission of the performer and copyright owner.

People ultimately choose to do business with people they like, and everyone likes someone who appreciates them. As a not for profit agency like PRS, PPL also work for and are answerable to its members.




References –



‘The DIY Music Manual’ by Randy Chertkow & Jason Feeham (Chapter 7 – Your Rights)

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