PPL COURT WIN
In 2014, Tall Order Records won a court battle against PPL, the private monopoly responsible for paying musicians and record labels in the UK.
PPL attempted to avoid paying royalties to both Tall Order Records and musicians from the band Big Strides. This was an important outcome for bands and small labels, with the judge's ruling indicating that PPL have no right to keep their money.
Listen to news report: BBC Radio 4 Today Programme
PPL told the BBC the case was a "one-off", but many others may also have been short-changed. Guitarist David Knopfler has said "I have yet to receive one penny in PPL for any of my performances with Dire Straits... their latest royalty payment to me was 39 pence."
INDIE RECORD LABEL WINS GROUNDBREAKING VICTORY AGAINST ROYALTIES GIANT PPL
Tall Order Records, a tiny British indie label, took on royalties giant Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) in court and won a groundbreaking 'David and Goliath' style victory. The judge ordered PPL to pay backdated royalties and additional costs, an outcome which could help musicians and small labels across the country.
PPL collects royalties for all music in the UK by charging licence fees, similar to a TV licence. But according to PPL's own accounts, up to 6.8m per year of the money collected from broadcasters and hard-working small businesses may not be finding its way to the makers of the music.
During a heated two-and-a-half hour hearing at Lambeth County Court, PPL's lawyers argued that the agency didn't need to pay all the money it collects to record labels or musicians since its own rule book allows it to choose how much to pay and when. But the judge dismissed the claims and upheld the label's right to receive payment.
The case highlights the difficult issue raised by Thom Yorke of Radiohead last year when he referred to music streaming service Spotify as "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse". Musicians and small record labels face an increasing struggle while the established music industry appears slow to adapt.
Marcus O'Neill, former singer of indie band Big Strides, who was at the hearing, said, "For the music world, this is the equivalent of energy companies 'forgetting' to give their customers refunds. There's so much hype about things like Spotify not creating proper income for labels and musicians, but where people are still paying for music, we need to make damn sure that these dinosaur middle-men don't just keep it!"
Court case details:
Tall Order Records Ltd v Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)
Deputy District Judge Hartley at Lambeth County Court
(Claim No. A0QZ4771)
PPL's published accounts:
Extracts available here