Reforms to be introduced to PPL licensing from 1st May 2013

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09 November 2012

After four years of negotiation, ukactive and PPL have reached agreement to reform PPL's Exercise tariff which covers the use of PPL recorded music as an accompaniment to fitness classes.

The reform has been introduced due to difficulties in effectively enforcing the current system and the need for PPL to collect a fair fee for the use of its recorded music.

The reform will impact both the way the tariff operates and the charges applied.
The sole responsibility for holding a valid PPL licence for group exercise classes in fitness centres will be on the operators of those facilities.

Fitness instructors will only be required to hold a valid PPL licence for any classes that they hold in premises other than fitness facilities (i.e. hired halls, offices).

The new tariff entitled 'Exercise To Music' which is due to be brought into effect on 1st May 2013 will see PPL fees eventually rising to a broad level of parity with those of PRS for Music over a five year period. The tariff fee will start at 95p per class, rising to £1.25 in May 2014, £1.50 in May 2015, £1.75 in May 2016 and £1.88 per class in 2017. Indexation will apply from May 2018 at the earliest.

ukactive are also currently in discussion with PPL about the detailed implementation of the tariff, which will see ukactive undertake an active role in its administration and the collection of PPL licence fees. ukactive's prominent role in the operation of the tariff will enable it to provide a discount on the fees payable under the tariff to its members.

David Stalker, CEO, ukactive said: "This marks the result of four years of discussions between ukactive, a Working Group of experts drawn from across the sector and PPL with the full support of the ukactive Board of Directors. ukactive is now working closely with PPL to establish the process for collecting the fees due from ukactive members under the new tariff." 

Jean-Ann Marnoch, Registrar, REPs said "We have worked with ukactive to ensure a fair cost for the PPL licence and will be working with ukactive to ensure there is a smooth transition to the new system. The new licence structure sees changes for both fitness centre operators and instructors and it is important that the transition to the new system is as smooth as possible."

Working group statements

Key documents

Notes to editors:

1. The conclusion to the negotiation, which has been approved in principle by ukactive and PPL Boards, marks the completion of four years of negotiation between the parties which has been overseen by a Working Group of operators drawn together from across the sector. This included a detailed analysis of the current operation of music licensing within the fitness sector which showed that the instructor led model was leading to widespread issues in the collection of appropriate music licencing fees.

2. Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, if recorded music is 'played in public' (ie, played in any context other than a domestic one) every play of every recording requires the permission of the owner of the copyright in that recording (usually a record company). Record companies transfer their rights in recorded music to Phonographic Performance Limited ("PPL"), who issue licences to businesses for these recordings to be played in public (including the use of radio and TV). PPL pays a share of the licence fee revenue to the performers on those recordings. If a business requires a PPL licence but does not obtain one, the business will be infringing copyright.

3. Operators have always been responsible for purchasing PRS for Music licences on a per class basis, the model which is now being adopted by PPL.

4. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate independent companies and in most instances a licence is required from both organisations for you to legally play recorded music in public. They represent different rights holders and have separate licences, terms and conditions. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers.

5. Discussions between ukactive and PPL began in 2008. The two organisations agreed a Heads of Terms to oversee the review process and have cooperated fully to reach what is believed to be a mutually agreeable position. This process has been overseen by a Working Group comprised of music licensing experts within the fitness sector and representatives of fitness operators and fitness instructors.

6. Further information on the detailed operation of the tariff will be released in the coming months. To register for further information, please contact


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