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MUSIC LICENSING GOES DIGITAL – CLICK & PLAY MUSIC BY THE RULES

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by Prashant Kapadia/NHN

Mumbai: Digitisation and the proliferation of the internet across India has created limitless possibilities. This holds true even in the world of public performance licensing. ‘Public performance royalties’ are the monetary compensation paid to music labels for the privilege of playing their songs publically. They are enshrined in the Copyright Act of 1957, and are a very important source of revenue for record labels. Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) monetises public performance rights by ensuring that venues and entities playing their music publically do so only after taking a license.

Digitisation has helped PPL in collecting revenues by increasing the speed with which licenses can be issued as well as in creating an atmosphere of transparency and user friendliness. The organisation’s latest system, called PLUS (Performance License For Usage Of Sound Recording) is an online portal that allows its executives to issue licenses, and receive payments within minutes, as opposed to the older, physical system that took several weeks.

Commenting on the significance movement to an online licensing system, Mr. Rajat Kakar, President & CEO of PPL India said “Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to people taking a license, aside from ignorance of the law, was the long and arduous process of applying for one. Earlier processes proved to be a major hindrance to customers, especially those where events were time sensitive. We’re optimistic about the fact that a fast, simple, licensing process in the form of PLUS will go a long way increasing the number of businesses that take PPL Licenses.”

Mr Kakar adds “According to our most recent study, fewer than 5% of Indian businesses take public performance licenses for the music they play, and this is simply unacceptable. Public Performance is an invaluable source of revenue for the Music Industry, which is ploughing this back into creating music across the multitude of Indian languages. PLUS is a testament of our company’s drive to take world of music licensing into the digital age.”

Mr. Hari Nair, Chief Digital Officer of PPL India said “In 6 months of implementation, PLUS has proven to be a versatile yet simple tool.  We’ve already see strong measurable results in the form of reduced turn-around-time and positive customer feedback. Soon, we plan on expanding its functionality to allow prospective customers to create their own licenses i.e. a DIY (do it yourself) portal. This will further simplify the application process and essentially allow anyone in India with a smartphone or computer to apply for a PPL License with just the click of a button.”

About PPL: PPL India is a Collective Rights Management Organization affiliated globally to IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industries) and represents the vast majority of Indian and Global Record Labels for monetization of their Public Performance rights and also licenses Radio Broadcasts for its members. It represents over 317 Music Labels and over 800,000 Indian works and more than 1.5 Million International Works, which it licenses to users of these in a professional and transparent manner. It is actively embracing Global best practices and is taking giant strides in order to enhance value for its members by increasing licensing coverage in India and overseas.

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