PPL consults on changes to its Specially Featured Entertainment tariff

Established in 1934 to ensure that those who invest their time, talent and money to make recorded music are fairly paid for their work, PPL licenses recorded music played in public or broadcast and then distributes the licence fees to its performer and recording rights-holder members.

It is consulting on potential changes to its “Specially Featured Entertainment” (or “SFE”) tariff, which covers the playing of recorded music at events such as discos and DJ nights. The consultation relates to a potential new and substantially more expensive SFE tariff for nightclubs, pubs and bars, restaurants and cafés, and hotels. Details are contained within the consultation document, that can be downloaded below.

PPL chief executive Peter Leathem is quoted as saying: “Through licensing the use of recorded music at SFE events, we are keen to see our repertoire continue to support and drive entertainment within the hospitality sector. In an environment where recorded music forms a very significant part of the business proposition, it is important those who invested their time and talent in creating such music are fairly rewarded. We therefore welcome responses from our licensees to help us finalise our views on a potential new SFE tariff.”

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls disagrees with the proposed changes. She has said: “We see no reason why there should be a need to fundamentally change the SFE tariff and increase costs for businesses already struggling against a swathe of taxes. It is clear that if PPL’s current thinking were to be implemented it would result in massive increases in licence fees, inevitably leading to higher prices for customers and significantly reducing the ability of establishments across the UK to play recorded music, when mixed by DJs or for dancing. UKHospitality will be liaising with our members and other stakeholders to robustly respond to these proposals, to avoid additional costs that would drive music out of venues and ultimately close some hospitality businesses.”

The deadline for responses is 5 October 2018. PPL will welcome your feedback on its current thinking about how to revise the SFE tariff. It invites comments (supported, where possible, by evidence) on the following:

  1. its current thinking about the scope of a revised SFE tariff (see Section 3)
  2. its current thinking about the structure of a revised SFE tariff (see Section 4)
  3. its current thinking about the fees under a revised SFE tariff (see Section 5) and
  4. its current thinking about implementation of a revised SFE tariff (see Section 6).

You can respond:

  • using the consultation response form available from PPL’s website at www.ppluk.com/SFEreview,
  • by email to [email protected] or
  • by post to SFE Tariff Review, PPL, 1 Upper James Street London W1F 9DE

UPDATE: The original deadline for responses was 28 September 2018, but this has now been changed to 5 October 2018

Download article PDF: SFE Consultation Paper July 2018