The introduction of the new increase of tax for music venues could be devastating, seeing venues with an average of 130% increase costing the sector millions.

Subsequently, the increases could, overcoming years with the proposed tiered increase in fees, reduce the amount of cultural investment into the UK, and reduce the number of cultural spaces for artists to reach a physical audience.

A recent government report highlighted mounting pressures being faced by venues across the UK, stating that increased operating costs being the major factor in the closure of venues.

Recent forums have asked whether the Industry needs a shake-up, questions have been posted on how the tariff can be increased when there is still much consideration in terms of the legitimate tracking of music being played in public spaces.

This also brings to light the question that if SFE Tariff venues are not having the music tracked, how can royalties be claimed, and following this how can we be sure that the correct artists are being paid for music being played?

The NTIA has discussed the concerns surrounding an increase of the SFE tariff with PPL for several months prior the release, with a clear message that any increase would have a major impact on the sector, given its current economic position.

We have recently met with several industry groups including UK Hospitality, MVT, CPA and others to discuss challenging PPL through a Copyright Tribunal on the SFE Tariff Increases. We are keen to ensure that this recent action by PPL is challenged, and the industry voices its position, deeming the projected increases as unreasonable.

Together we are stronger!

How to Manage my PPL Submission to ensure you don’t overpay.

It’s key that you submit based on the following:

Trading Days 

Ensure you highlight each day you trade including the event dates that you have scheduled.

Type of Event / Music – Important that when you show this you show your varying repertoire of music and delivery source – When you discuss with PPL to quantify what music they have logged as being played – One key question to ask is can you clarify the music that is being played at my venue? Which music are you claiming for from your portfolio of members?

Hourly Breakdown of Admissions

When submitting admissions it’s important to show a clear track of admissions from opening through to close including egress – ensure its consistent in terms of the session – unless there are clear reasons for the change.

PPL don’t leave room for any admissions on their submission sheet, so admissions need to be on a separate sheet which you will need to create but ensure its coherent and easy to read and analyze.

You will need to speak to PPL directly and negotiate your position, it is important that you quantify admissions against each night, you challenge the music being tracked and played relevant to PPL Members and the subsequent breakdown of payment.

If you can substantiate your admissions through a till system then this will hold a stronger position against levels through an audit process – creating a position which will be harder to challenge.


  • PPL don’t track what you play – They can’t answer when asked what you play! They use a surrogacy method from Commercial Radio.
  • The more obscure the music the less likely the proportion of members are liable to claim royalties i.e House Music Event proportionately different to commercial music night.
  • Venue Admissions are something that needs to be tracked and substantiated – If you submitted last year against full capacity per hour then you need to submit admissions for this and last year. Then you are able to discuss position for reimbursement for last year and projected position for next based on current trade.

If you would like to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected]

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