PPL collects £225.7m in 2020, down 17% from 2019

UK music licensing company PPL collected £225.7 million for performers and recording rightsholders in 2020, a drop of £46.1 million, or 17%, from the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, income from public performance and dubbing declined by a massive 42.2% to £57.5 million as a result of the pandemic.

Despite the lockdown affecting live performance, the 2020 total is PPL’s third highest annual collection to date.

This is a result of strong international collection which totalled £85.9m in 2020, a drop of just 0.9% from the record £86.7 million collected in 2019.

With more added to its existing roster in 2020, PPL now has agreements with 105 international music licensing companies.

“It is a sign of the underlying strength of PPL and its staff that our business operated as near to normal during this time, paying out over £260 million to over 135,000 performers and recording rightsholders, collecting the third highest annual total ever, and contributing £1.4 million to industry hardship funds.”

PPL Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem

In response to the pandemic, PPL contributed £1.4 million to a number of hardship funds in 2020, helping to support musicians, freelancers, music managers, live events staff and other music professionals whose livelihoods were severely impacted. In 2021, PPL provided further support to both the Music Managers Forum and Stagehand hardship funds.

In March 2021, PPL paid out £61.3 million to more than 25,000 performers, producers and recording rightsholders in the first of its four annual distributions.

While Leathem is optimistic about revenues beginning to recover this year, he acknowledges that a return to pre-Covid levels is not likely to happen in 2021.

“In the short-term, as COVID-19 restrictions further ease in the UK, we expect our domestic revenues will begin to recover this year, although we are not yet expecting a return to pre-COVID levels,” said Leathem. “Our international revenues may be impacted over a longer period of time because of the pandemic, although to what extent will vary from territory to territory. Over the longer term, we remain very positive about this sector’s growth prospects and the income it will create for our members.”