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PPL announces details of new “Specially Featured Entertainment” tariff

Music licensing company PPL has today published details of its new Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff, coming into effect on 1 July 2019. The new tariff relates to the playing of recorded music in public at events such as discos and DJ nights and applies to nightclubs, pubs and bars, cafes and restaurants, and hotels.
The announcement follows a formal period of consultation with PPL’s SFE licensees between July and October 2018, covering the scope, structure, fees and implementation of a new SFE tariff. The current tariff has been in place for around 30 years, and PPL’s view, supported by economic analysis, is that the fees in it are too low to be an appropriate reflection of the value to businesses of using recorded music at SFE events. PPL also believes the SFE tariff requires structural reform to make it clearer and fairer.
The new SFE tariff will therefore see a number of changes and clarifications, including:
- Measuring the audience at an SFE event by using the total number of admissions to the event.
- A change so that the fee will increase in direct proportion to the size of the audience (measured in bands of 25 persons). This will help to ensure SFE events with different audiences are treated fairly and consistently.
- The introduction of two new smaller tariff bands, for SFE events with attendances of 1-25 and 26-50 persons.  In many cases, this will help to ensure that licensees with small SFE events will initially pay less for such events than they are paying under the current SFE tariff.
- The phased introduction of increased fees over a 5 year period from July 2019, based on an initial rate of 4 pence per person per hour (up slightly from the current average of 3.9 pence per person per hour).  This will move to fees based on a rate of 9 pence per person per hour by 2023 (subject to annual indexation), giving licensees time to adapt to the increases.
Commenting on the new SFE Tariff, PPL Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem said:
“I would like to thank our licensees for engaging with PPL’s Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) consultation. We have listened to their views as part of finalising our new SFE tariff. Recorded music forms a very significant part of SFE events and we believe that the new SFE tariff delivers a fairer return for our members who create that music. We look forward to working with our licensees and their representatives to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to the new SFE tariff.”
Full details of the new SFE tariff can be found on PPL’s website at

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