Collecting Societies

Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) or sometimes Collecting Societies are not for profit organisations owned by their members and exist to collect and pay-out royalties to its members. In music the two Collecting Societies which pay royalties to musicians and other rightsholders are called PPL and PRS for Music. Some of the benefits of this operating model are:

  • Collective negotiation and bargaining power
  • Streamlined rights clearance and legal certainty for users
  • Broader access to creative works
  • Creation of talent and cultural funds
  • Transparency of income

The CMOs collect money from the commercial use of music and this can be through live performances from venues and festivals, tv and radio broadcasting, music played via the internet or physical businesses. Businesses who need licenses to play music include sports centres, shops, local councils, nightclubs, prisons, churches, restaurants, social clubs, student unions, theatres and theme parks. Events which need music licenses include live or recorded music at fireworks night, sport on tv, music festivals, classical concerts, carnivals, dance performances, theatrical performances, live concerts, open mic nights, karaoke, comedy shows and film screenings. You can find out more about licensing here:

Phonographic Performance Limited, or better known as PPL, is the collecting society representing record labels and performers, with 140,000 members and manage 14 million sound recordings. PPL’s revenues from the licensing of recorded music for radio, TV and online increased to £96.4 million in 2023. There is also a separate organisation issuing music video licenses by VPL.

If you are self-releasing you should consider joining as a rightsholder as well as a performer. Membership is free and open to anyone who performs on, or owns the rights to, recorded music.

For more information go through their questions here:

PRS for Music now has 165,000 members who are all either songwriters, composers and/or publishers. If you write your own songs and have started to gig out or release music you absolutely need to join. They take what is called an ‘exclusive assignment of the performing right’ and protect it for you so it can never be negotiated away.

In 2022 they distributed £964m to their members so to be a part of that you need to sign up. Also if you are under 25 they have a special £30 joining offer on right now so that really is a great incentive, head to this link here:

You should also be aware of an organisation called MCPS, the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, who are aligned with PRS. If you self-publish your music you should consider joining at the same time using the same link above.