PPL and PRS for Music joint venture officially launches

Licensing of music played in public now administered by new Leicester-based joint venture, PPL PRS Ltd

The UK’s two music licensing companies, PPL and PRS for Music, have this week launched their joint venture to create one single company - PPL PRS Ltd - to administer the licensing of music used in public, known as “public performance”. 

In 2016, the two companies generated almost £270 million through the licensing of live and recorded music to businesses and organisations - from bars, pubs and clubs to hairdressers, fitness centres and hotels. After running costs, this revenue is distributed to their respective members – performers and record companies for PPL and songwriters, composers and publishers for PRS for Music – and acts as an important income stream for the music business. The new joint venture will be the biggest of its kind in the world.

The 200-person company is based in Leicester and is equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music. It has been created to provide customers with a streamlined service, a single point of contact, and one licence covering both companies’ respective rights, thereby simplifying the administration and making it easier to play and perform music in public. The joint licence is called TheMusicLicence and brings to an end the need for customers to purchase separate PPL and PRS for Music licences from each individual organisation.


In PPL’s 84 year history, the joint venture with PRS for Music is without doubt the most ambitious project that we have undertaken. To navigate the complexities and achieve it within two years is testament to our close working relationship with PRS and the commitment of our respective teams. This is an important moment for the music business at large and is a move towards greater efficiencies for our licensees and greater returns for our members who create the music enjoyed by those we license all around the UK.

PPL Chief Executive Peter Leathem

We have invested years of effort and millions of pounds to simplify music licensing for UK businesses and on behalf of PRS for Music, I am delighted to launch what is the largest joint venture of its kind in the world. This is the beginning of a new era in public performance licensing, which will bring real benefits to our members and customers alike.

PRS for Music Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft

We are very excited to now offer customers of both PPL and PRS for Music a more streamlined approach for licensing their businesses to play and perform music. With the launch of TheMusicLicence we are providing one licence and one contact, enabling companies and organisations to enhance their customer and employee experience by playing music in their premises.

Suzanne Smith, who was appointed in April 2017 to the position of Managing Director for PPL PRS Ltd

The joint venture was initially announced in February 2016. Later that year, competition clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority was given and PPL and PRS for Music were able to sign a shareholders agreement that set out how the joint venture company would be owned and operated. The Board of the new company will comprise PPL PRS senior management team members as well as representatives from both PPL and PRS for Music.

PPL and PRS for Music will continue to operate separately in the other areas of their businesses, including representing their members, collecting royalties from international societies, developing, setting and consulting on their respective tariffs and licensing schemes, and licensing broadcast, online and recorded media customers.

Pictured above, left-right: Rowland Sandys (Head of Technology, PPL PRS Ltd), Jo Winfield (Head of Legal, PPL PRS Ltd), Roberto Neri (PRS Board Member and Managing Director, Downtown Music UK), Chris Barton (Chief Finance Officer, PPL), Ade Potts (Commercial Director, PPL PRS Ltd), Robert Ashcroft (Chief Executive, PRS for Music), Peter Leathem (CEO, PPL), Bec Jewitt (Head of Finance, PPL PRS Ltd), Christine Geissmar (Chief Operating Officer, PPL), Amy Straszewskyj (Head of HR & Facilities, PPL PRS Ltd), Paul Clements (Executive Director Membership, International and Licensing, PRS for Music), Suzanne Smith (Managing Director, PPL PRS Ltd)

About PPL PRS Ltd

PPL PRS Ltd is a new joint venture between the UK's two music licensing societies —PPL and PRS for Music. The aim of the joint venture is to provide the best music licensing experience in the world by keeping things simple for businesses and organisations who use music on a daily basis. For more information, visit 

About TheMusicLicence

TheMusicLicence allows you to legally play music for employees or customers in your business through the radio, TV, other digital devices and live performances. If you play or perform music in your business or organisation in the UK, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. It will cover you, with one licence and one invoice, for the use of virtually all commercially released music available – millions of songs and recordings, including the most popular and well-loved music not just from the UK but also from around the world.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

About PPL

Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for over 110,000 performers and record companies. We license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to our members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and influential festival headliners. PPL’s public performance licensing is carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

We also collect performance rights internationally when music is played in public and used on TV, radio and some online streaming services, as well as for private copying. This is achieved through our network of 92 agreements with CMOs around the world. International revenues are an increasingly important revenue stream for performers and recording rightsholders – since 2006 we have collected £429.1 million. In 2018 we collected £246.8 million while also distributing money to 105,192 performers and recording rightsholders.

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