PPL Elections 2019

Standing as a candidate as Performer Director of PPL in the upcoming PPL election November 1 2019 – November 22 2019



If you are a performer member of PPL please vote in the upcoming Performer Representative Election. Online voting is live now. Two seats have to be elected so you can vote for two candidates. I’m hoping you’ll vote for Roxanne de Bastion ( who feels as passionately about performers rights as I do) and myself but the most important thing is that you participate in this election. How you vote could effect your future rights and your future income as a performer so please make the effort and vote. If you are an eligible PPL performer, you or your representative should have received an email from CES (takepart@cesvotes.com) which explains how to vote. Alternatively voting information is available on the PPL website at www.ppluk.co.uk/apm2019. Online voting finishes at 3.00pm this Friday Nov 22.


  1. By far the biggest issue is that a percentage of all streaming income should qualify for equitable remuneration thus ensuring that all performers get paid in the future. I will campaign to negotiate with the record companies that such a percentage is introduced on all income received from Spotify, Youtube etc. (see below under ‘Why It’s Important’)
  2. PPL is owned by the record companies. If it is truely a joint CMO for record companies and performers it should be jointly owned by both 50/50.
  3. PPL collects for non-qualifying performers (mostly US performers) and distributes this performer money to the UK record companies. This is performer money and should be used for the benefit of performers not distributed to the record companies.
  4. PPL collects income from dubbing (copying of recordings by businesses supplying music for gyms etc) but this is not shared with performers because performer’s statutory right to ER (Equitable Remuneration) does not cover copying. I intend to get legal advice as to why this is the case and see what can be done to get this changed. Because of the non-qualifying performer income and income from dubbing the actual overall split in PPL distributions is not 50/50, but in the region of 70% to record companies and only 30% to performers. This needs to be addressed.
  5. I will continue to be actively involved in maximising international income for PPL performers. I work closely with PPL head of International Laurence Oxenbury to help achieve this, particularly in developing countries. When I first attended PPL Board Meetings as an observer in 2007 PPL performer international collections were £7.9M. In 2018 they were £62M.
  6. The PPL equivalent in USA is Sound Exchange who last year collected over one billion dollars for performers and record companies. Sound Exchange paid PPL performers $13M and admitted that they paid all UK performers $25M. The difference is due to the fact that some performers use agents such as Kobalt who collect directly and some UK performers collect directly from Sound Exchange. If performers received $25M then the total amount for UK repertoire is $50M (50/50 with record companies) which represents 5%. Are they seriously saying that UK repertoire with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Coldplay, Clean Bandit and George Ezra only account for 5% of music in US? Sound Exchange are seriously underpaying performers and I intend to vigorously push to get this corrected.
  7. I intend to fully support PPL’s drive for clean data via international identifiers and standards such as DDex so that performers get paid properly and accurately particularly from outside the UK.
  8. Performers on audio recordings receive equitable remuneration (ER) but audio-visual performers don’t. That’s why there are no performer representatives on PPL’s sister organisation VPL. I am engaging with UK Government to make sure that after Brexit the UK brings in the Beijing Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances so that audio-visual performers receive ER in the same way as audio performers do.
  9. The PPL Board consists of 6 performer representative Directors, 8 record company representative Directors, 2 PPL Directors and Lord Chris Smith. If PPL is based on a 50/50 ER split the board should reflect that with equal representation of performers and record companies.
  10. AGM voting is only open to record companies and not performers. Even then, voting is weighted by distribution share, so the three major record companies have majority control. This needs to change.
  11. I have been campaigning for years to replace the one domestic June annual UK PPL payment with quarterly accounting and payments. In December 2018 PPL paid out their first six-monthly payment which was a major breakthrough. Now we need to move to quarterly payments as is the case with PRS.
  12. In the UK it is the record company’s obligation to provide accurate performer information to PPL on every track they record. Where this does not happen in a timely manner there should be penalties. After years of pressure this is at last happening but it needs to go further.
  13. Authors (songwriters) get public performance income via PRS and other CMOs when music is played in cinemas, when music is used in advertising and when library music is played in public. Performers do not get paid for any of these uses. I intend to campaign to get this changed.
  14. Each year PPL contributes to BPI and IFPI anti-piracy work. This is usually between £2M – £3M per year. In the past this was split according to the amounts PPL pay out to performers and record companies. i.e. 70% was deducted from the amount due to record companies and 30% was deducted from the amount due to performers. I was centrally involved in lowering the amount payable by performers from 30% to 10% which means that in the region of £500,000 more per year is now being paid put to performers than was previously the case.


The digital revolution is creating sweeping changes to performer rights and there has never been more urgency to make a stand to assert performer rights in the face of this sea change.


One of the most pressing issues is to establish exactly what interactive means in the context of music delivery. In other words when does a performer’s unwaivable right to equitable remuneration apply and when does it not apply.

At the moment radio and public performance music delivery is regarded as ‘linear’ in the UK and therefore the ER (Equitable Remuneration) right applies for both featured (the principal performers contracted to a record company) and non-featured performers (session musicians engaged to enhance a recording). The wonderful thing about ER is that it is UNWAIVABLE in contract. If a third party includes a clause in a contract saying that you must pay over your ER to them it would be ILLEGAL.


Whether a track is regarded as linear or non-linear depends on whether a right called the ‘making available right’ applies. The interactive application of the making available right is defined as ‘the right to authorise the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, of any performance fixed in a phonogram, in such a way that members of the public may access the fixed performance from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.’ In other words if a member of the public can access a recording at a time and place of their choosing (as they would by selecting a track on Spotify or Youtube) the making available right applies and it is regarded as ‘interactive’ or ‘non-linear’. If the member of the public has no control over what they are listening to (as is the case with radio or public performance of music whilst in a shop, club, football stadium etc) then it is regarded as ‘non-interactive’ or ‘linear’.


If the making available right is deemed to apply then the record company will license directly to services such as Spotify or Youtube. PPL is not involved as PPL only collects performer money that is linear. Featured Performers and particularly Non-Featured Performers both loose out if the making available right applies. For Featured Performers income from Spotify and Youtube etc will be credited to their royalty account according to the contract they have with their record company. The percentage credited will depend on their royalty rate but it’s usually in the region of 15-25% depending on the age of the contract. The vast majority of featured artists signed to record companies are un-recouped so whilst their royalty account will be credited, they will effectively be paid nothing. For non-featured performers it is even worse as they will be paid nothing anyway and never will be, if the making available right is deemed to apply.


So if a member of the public selects a track on Spotify or Youtube and listens to it, the making available right clearly applies and the delivery is ‘non-linear’. We call this ‘Pull’ as the listener is pulling a track from the service. But what happens if after listening to the track the service sends more tracks down the pipe which it thinks the listener might like based on the original track selected? We call those tracks ‘Push’ as the service is pushing them at the listener without the listener asking for them. The big question is ‘Does the making available right apply to the Push tracks or are they linear like radio? I say they are like radio and therefore all performers on the push tracks should be paid ER. I asked Dr Mihaly Ficsor, who was the main architect of the WIPO Internet Treaties and who invented the making available right back in 1996, and he agreed with me that the push tracks should be regarded as radio. This is because the listener did not access the push tracks at a time and place individually chosen by them.


We all know that radio listening is on the decline particularly among the younger generation, most of whom go straight to Youtube, Spotify or Apple Music to listen to music. Podcasts are also eating in to the radio listening habits of the older generations. If this trend continues and sadly it almost certainly will, performers will see their PPL income going down and down. When the equitable remuneration percentages were set at 50% for record companies and 50% for performers, this was not in UK law. It was an industry agreement. I am demanding that there should be another industry agreement regarding streaming and that a percentage of all streaming should qualify for ER and be payable via PPL. We need to negotiate with the record companies and agree a fixed percentage of all streaming income that should be regarded as linear and therefore subject to equitable remuneration. This is by far the most important issue for performers going forward.

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