I can only assume that PPL is mounting a new drive to collect music licence fees since, as this is being written, I’ve received two calls from two Mr Patels in two days. Both wanted to know whether this was some sort of scam since, following the call each had from PPL, each received an invoice.

This is an oldish subject going back several years when Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) started to collect copyright for commercially related sound recordings - which they had been entitled to do since 2003 and which they studied for a couple of years working out the best way to commence collection. In doing so, PPL joined PRS (Performing Right Society) which had already been collecting for yonks. PPL represents record companies and performers, whereas PRS represents songwriters, composers and music publishers. If you play music where staff or public can hear it you need both annual licences (fees of which vary depending on the audible area and size of store).

You need to be aware, too, that as PPL is still in catch-up mode, it can and does charge back fees which has led to some retailers taking out the entertainment altogether and which is a pity because it works as a subliminal tool to enhance mood and increase spend.

Regular readers will know that I have reported on this subject from time to time (usually timed with the two groups’ blitzkriegs) because I always get some bewildered callers asking if this is really legit.

I don’t blame them for wondering and a while ago I asked both groups why they didn’t take a joint approach. I see that now in their literature (and included in their ads in Convenience Store) that one usually mentions the other.

My callers have sometimes been gobsmacked to find that they are liable for fees. Last year a retailer playing Indian CDs in his office adjacent to the store and inaccessible to the public (and he had no staff) learned that, as it was a place of work, he needed both licences. PRS explained that there are exemptions for lone workers or those who work in a domestic environment - where there is no public.

One of my recent Mr Patels got a phone call from PPL and admitted to sometimes watching entertainment on his back office computer - when no one else was around. He was then shocked to receive an invoice for £200 (this year and last).

The funniest example of all was the chap who did his own recordings and then played them back in the store. Was he liable he wondered? I suggested that, if he were, he would be entitled to a cut under his copyright.

And by the way, if you have a TV in your shop you need to ensure you have a separate licence, even if your home is in the same building.