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Pub revolt dents music royalties

PPL sees hope, though

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Music licensing body the PPL saw income rise by two per cent last year to £129m.

The rights society gathers royalties from the public performance of sound recordings on radio, TV and in public places and distributes it 50:50 to the recordings owners' labels and the musicians who perform on the recordings. The PPL revealed the figures at its Annual General Meeting yesterday.

Overseas royalties earned by UK performers were £21.6m. There are two major exceptions: the PPL can't collect from the USA, where there's no performance right on sound recordings, or from Russia, which is outside the international system. Despite the huge popularity of British artists in these markets, the $16bn US radio industry doesn't pay them a penny. (Songwriters fare better - that's a separate copyright.)

Broadcasting income grew by one per cent, which the PPL considers with some satisfaction - commercial radio income fell by over nine per cent last year.

But a Copyright Tribunal decision last year takes some of the shine off the numbers. The Tribunal decided that music tariffs in pubs, restaurants and shops were too high between 2006 and 2009 - and they can claim some of it back as a refund. The PPL has accounted for £18.1m as an exceptional item, which will cut into the headline figure of £129m.

The PPL's cut of royalties for costs, such as administration, remained the same as 2008, at 14.6 per cent. ®

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