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PPL and PRS launch combined licence for community radio

By | Published on Tuesday 17 January 2017


The UK collecting societies PPL and PRS For Music yesterday announced the launch of a new joint licence for community radio stations, meaning such broadcasters will be able to secure a single licence for the music they play, covering both the recording rights repped by PPL and the song rights repped by PRS.

The two rights organisations are in the process of launching a new joint venture, of course, so to offer single music licences to a greater number of licensees, though that JV will only be operating in the public performance domain, and therefore won’t license broadcasters.

Which means that while the handful of existing joint PPL/PRS licences, that all apply to public performance, will be taken over by the new venture once it goes live, this new combined licence will sit outside that new venture, and will be administered day-to-day by PPL.

The new joint licence will be available to AM/FM community radio stations with a broadcast licence from media regulator OfCom. That means to qualify for the new PPL/PRS licence, a station must fit OfCom’s definition of ‘community radio’, which means they will be “not-for-profit organisations that create direct links with their listeners, providing training opportunities and other social benefits to their local areas”.

As with the JV in the public performance space, the aim of PPL and PRS working together on licensing community radio stations is to simplify the licensing process for the licensee.

Says PPL Chief Licensing Officer Jez Bell: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new joint licence for community radio stations with PRS For Music; the first joint tariff for us in the radio broadcast sector. Community radio plays a huge role in engaging with local listeners and stations are very often run by volunteers – we have spoken to our existing licensees and the Community Media Association and this simplified joint licence is a result of that consultation. Approximately 240 on-air community radio stations will benefit from the new joint licence, as well as any future stations”.

And if you were wondering what PRS Director Of Broadcast Andy Harrower was thinking about all this, he added: “Radio can play an important role in bringing local communities together, with music helping to create vibrant and engaging programming for its listeners. Working together with PPL, we are pleased to be able to help community radio stations by ensuring that music licensing is made as easy as possible for those who keep the stations up and running behind the scenes”.