I upset both the music licence companies PPL and PRS for Music in a recent issue. I have been in dialogue since with both and they are taking a joined-up approach in that they have jointly sent me their response to my request for information on how they work and their purpose.
They replied: “While working closely together and carrying out similar functions, the two organisations do operate independently, represent different rights holders and have separate tariffs, terms and conditions.
“By law under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, if you use copyright music in public (ie outside of the home) you must first obtain permission from every writer, composer or performer whose music you intend to play.
“This means you would have to contact thousands of music creators and performers to obtain their agreement to play their songs. But to make things easy, PRS for Music was set up by songwriters, composers and music publishers, and PPL on behalf of performers and record labels to manage these rights on their behalf. The music licences grant you the legal permission to play millions of songs.
“What many people may not realise is that the songwriters and composers are often not the same as those performing; hence there are two organisations to represent the different rights. Many musicians are small businesses themselves and depend on royalty income to make a living.”
(I have pointed this out in the past it doesn’t just mean you are keeping Barbra Streisand in frocks, but also helping the person who wrote her songs: a world of difference income-wise.)
The two point to the benefits of using music in your business. “It is as important as the lighting and signage you use,” they say.
PPL and PRS for Music launched the MusicWorks campaign in 2009, carried out by independent research company Entertainment Media Research. Findings included increased customer footfall (90% of customers would pick a store that plays music over one that doesn’t); 66% of employees said that music made them feel better and more motivated at work; and a third of people are willing to pay 5% more for products from businesses that play music.
The two say they want the process of obtaining licences to be as easy as possible. For more information about a PPL licence call 020 7534 1070 (ppluk.com), and call the free phone number 0800 068 4828 for information on a PRS For Music licence (www.prsformusic.com). You do not have to give your name or details to obtain a quote.