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New PPLPRS JV must not increase costs for licensees

Music licensing specialist, My Music Solutions, has sought assurances from PPL and PRS for Music that its newly-announced joint venture will not increase licence costs for customers.

The new joint venture will see public performance licences supplied by a single organisation. PPL and PRS claim the move will simplify music licensing, but My Music Solutions (MMS) managing director Rob Gilbert says he has ‘major concerns’ over the plans.

MMS specialises in helping licensees to save money on their music licence costs, by re-calculating their music use and renegotiating licence costs on their behalf.

The firm estimates that businesses could collectively save up to £43m annually across all music licences.

Gilbert said: “We are promised that this joint venture will ‘significantly simplify’ public performance licensing, but we are not as optimistic.

“We welcome anything that reduces costs to customers, but our fear is the joint venture would not pay any cost savings on to music users and could lock in errors that are currently being made with declarations.

“We hope regulators will work with all affected parties and customer groups, and they take the opportunity to add a formal system so that complaints about both companies can be investigated and resolved.

“There are also significant practical difficulties we can see with the formation of the joint venture. Creating tariffs that accurately reflect each organisation, and the artists they represent, will be incredibly complicated.

“Furthermore, any current inaccuracies in charging will skew the figures for future tariffs – if someone is overpaying now, they could be left overpaying forever under the new system. 2016 may be licensees last chance to get things right.”

MMS also offers a full service to customer groups from advice on charges, to support at tariff notations and legal representation at tariff tribunals.

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