New £270 million music licensing company launches in Leicester

The home of Kasabian welcomes PPL PRS to the city

Christine Geissmar, Chief Operating Officer, PPL, Paul Clements, Executive Director of Membership, International & Licensing, PRS for Music, Suzanne Smith, Managing Director, PPL PRS, Sheila Ferguson, Performer Lifetime Guardian member of PPL and original member of The Three Degrees, Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer, PPL, Steve Levine, music producer and PRS for Music Board Member & PPL Attendee

This week sees the official launch of a new music licensing company – PPL PRS Ltd – in the city of Leicester. The company is a joint venture between the UK’s two music licensing bodies (also known as ‘collective management organisations’ or ‘CMOs’), PPL and PRS for Music.

The 200-person company is equally owned by the two CMOs and has been created to provide customers with a streamlined service, a single point of contact, and one licence covering both companies’ respective rights, thereby simplifying the administration and making it easier to play and perform music in public. The new joint licence is called TheMusicLicence and brings to an end the need for customers to purchase separate PPL and PRS for Music licences from each individual organisation. 

In 2016, almost £270 million was generated by PPL and PRS for Music through the licensing of live and recorded music to businesses and organisations - from bars, pubs and clubs to hairdressers, fitness centres and hotels. After running costs, this money was distributed to members of both organisations.  Forming PPL PRS is the single biggest change in the history of licensing such businesses – known as public performance licensing - and the largest of its kind in the world.  It will continue to bring significant value to the music industry; the work that every musician, producer, songwriter and singer has put into the music that is being played will continue to be fairly rewarded through the revenue collected via TheMusicLicence.

The official launch event, attended by local Leicester business leaders and journalists, as well as music producers, songwriters and performers, was held at the company’s new office. Guests were given a tour of the renovated offices and shown the music-inspired mural, a talking point of the refurbishment, created by The Graphic History Company. Entertainment was provided by emerging Leicester artist, Magique, who has recently featured on BBC Music Introducing. The launch has also been welcomed by the Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah.

PPL PRS Managing Director, Suzanne Smith, welcomed guests to the event, adding how delighted the company is to have made its home in the city. When choosing Leicester, the company looked at the number of benefits the city had to offer, the local talent pool, property availability and location, the links to London and also the rest of the country. All these factors made Leicester the most suitable choice for the location of the new joint venture.

Leicester City’s Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby addressed the 120 guests, welcoming the company to Leicester saying: ‘‘I know that PPL PRS considered a number of locations, before deciding to launch in our city, so I’m delighted that they recognised the benefits of doing business here in Leicester. I hope that the staff who have moved to Leicester to work for the new company will enjoy everything the city has to offer, and I wish PPL PRS every success.’

Peter Leathem, PPL Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Clements, Executive Director of Membership, International & Licensing at PRS for Music followed with a history of how the joint venture began in 2016, to its launch in early 2018 and the benefits they hope it will bring to members and licensees alike. Both thanked everyone involved in making the launch of PPL PRS a success.

Platinum selling Leicester band Kasabian welcomed the company to the city saying: “Proud to have you in our hometown. Thanks for everything you do to help artists. Love Sergio, Tom and Chris.”

PPL and PRS for Music have a joint repertoire of over 33 million works and recordings, and there are around 400,000 sites currently licensed to play these works publicly. With the introduction of TheMusicLicence, and the simplicity it is expected to bring to customers buying a licence, this number is expected to increase.  

Music Licensing Facts:

  • In 2016 almost £270 million was generated by PPL and PRS for Music through the licensing of live and recorded music to businesses and organisations - from bars, pubs and clubs to hairdressers, fitness centres and hotels.
  • PPL and PRS for Music have a joint repertoire of over 33 million musical works and recordings with around 400,000 sites and business premises currently licensed to play these works publicly.
  • The first track ever to be licensed by PPL was a recording of Mendelssohn’s ‘Symphony No. 4 in A Op.90: Salterello’ – recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Kingsway Hall.  This was after Stephen Carwardine & Co, a coffee shop in Bristol had been heard playing the record.  PPL now has over 11 million recordings in its database and 35,000 new recordings are registered each week.
  • The first official PRS for Music member was operatic soprano and composer Liza Lehmann, who was known for her vocal compositions. She registered in 1914, the year PRS for Music was founded. 

Further information on PPL PRS Ltd available from its website: www.pplprs.co.uk

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As a PRS for Music Board Member and PPL attendee I feel immensely proud that we now have PPL PRS up and running. Last night’s launch was most enjoyable. The importance of this venture cannot be understated. So many songwriters, artists and music producers rely on this important income stream. With so many new businesses making music an important a part of their customer experience the fact that PPL PRS can now offer easy one stop music license solutions is the way forward.  I'd argue it’s so brilliant that I am certain other countries will follow our lead.

Record producer Steve Levine
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We were delighted to welcome so many prominent local business leaders, venue owners and of course Leicester City’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, to our offices to celebrate the official launch of PPL PRS and TheMusicLicence. Being a part of the Leicester business community is very important to us and we are keen to build on this, with our support of the Leicester Mercury Business Awards and Soft Touch Arts, our chosen local charity. We are very excited to have now launched TheMusicLicence and we look forward to enabling companies and organisations to enhance their customer and employee experience by playing music in their premises. I would like to thank everyone who attended and made the launch event such a success. Our thanks also go to local music artist Magique who kept us all entertained on the evening.

Managing Director, PPL PRS Ltd, Suzanne Smith
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The launch of PPL PRS Ltd marks a landmark moment in the licensing of the UK music industry’s creative output. It is a hugely ambitious initiative and one that comes as the result of a great deal of hard work on the part of the parent companies PPL and PRS for Music and all other parties involved. The creation of the new company will not only simplify the licensing process for our customers but it will also subsequently make our operations even more efficient, resulting in increased revenue for our members.

Chief Executive Officer, PPL, Peter Leathem
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Having invested years of effort and millions of pounds into simplifying music licensing for UK businesses, it is immensely rewarding to see PPL PRS being celebrated so positively in Leicester. We have marked a successful launch with an equally brilliant event, and I look forward to seeing PPL PRS go from strength to strength.

Chief Executive, PRS for Music, Robert Ashcroft
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In the past, businesses that chose to play music for their customers and staff to enjoy meant that they had to apply for two separate licences. This new approach simplifying music licensing will mean they can save time by applying for one single licence.  We must make sure that our world class musicians and performers are rewarded for their work. This is why in the recent Creative Industries Sector Deal, part of our Industrial Strategy, we strengthened copyright protections to give this exciting sector the support it needs to thrive.

Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah
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I know that PPL PRS considered a number of locations, before deciding to launch their new joint venture in our city, so I’m delighted that they recognised the benefits of doing business here in Leicester.  New businesses that create jobs and boost the local economy are very welcome in Leicester – and I am particularly pleased that PPL PRS has renovated office space that has been vacant since the Leicester Mercury moved out. I hope that the staff who have moved to Leicester to work for the new company will enjoy everything the city has to offer, and I wish PPL PRS every success.

Leicester City’s Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby
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I am so pleased and proud that PPL PRS have chosen Leicester as their new home, and would like to welcome them to the city.   The new joint venture between these two influential brands in the music industry is an excellent addition to the city’s business community and has brought so many new jobs to the area and I wish you a long and happy, successful future in the city.

Director of Business Engagement, De Montfort University Leicester, Helen Donnellan
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Proud to have you in our hometown. Thanks for everything you do to help artists. Love Sergio, Tom and Chris.

Platinum-selling Leicester band Kasabian
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It was great to be invited to play at the launch of PPL PRS. Being an artist based in the Leicester area, it's cool to have a company based here who understand the value of music and the artists who create it.  Without these companies supporting us, new artists like myself wouldn't be able to continue producing music and encouraging other people to do the same.

Emerging Leicester artist Magique, who performed at the event

Pictured above at the launch event in Leicester, L-R: Christine Geissmar, Chief Operating Officer, PPL, Paul Clements, Executive Director of Membership, International & Licensing, PRS for Music, Suzanne Smith, Managing Director, PPL PRS, Sheila Ferguson, Performer Lifetime Guardian member of PPL and original member of The Three Degrees, Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer, PPL, Steve Levine, music producer and PRS for Music Board Member & PPL Attendee

About PPL PRS Ltd

PPL PRS Ltd is a new joint venture between the UK's two music licensing societies —PPL and PRS for Music.

The aim of the joint venture is to provide the best music licensing experience in the world by keeping things simple for businesses and organisations who use music on a daily basis. 

About PPL and PRS for Music

PPL represents performers and record companies. PRS for Music is a society of songwriters, composers and music publishers. Both organisations ensure that the creators and performers of music are paid when their music is used in public.

With the new joint venture, the two companies will continue to carry out everything else they do separately, other than public performance licensing. This includes representing their members, collecting monies owed to them from international societies, independently consulting on and negotiating on their Tariff rates and licensing their broadcast, online and recorded media customers.