Knowledge Bank

news category created 13 January 2014 written by Dan Cox

PPL payments for studio producers

Posted on: July 15, 2012 @ 01:16 PM most recent comment at July 20, 2012 @ 12:02 PM

posted by alexthealmost
“….the “conducting” has to have taken place on the initial recording and no other part of the session qualifies – just the original “fixing” of the original sound recording.”

That’s still ‘clear-as-mud’ to me… In the old days, when recording was limited to laying down tracks on MONO or STEREO machines, it was sometimes neccessary to utilize DROP-IN SOUND-ON-SOUND TECHNIQUES to facilitate overdubs over several generations of ON-THE-FLY MIXDOWNS (and/or FINE-TUNING EQ via newly developed ‘graphic equalisers’); sometimes hours or days after the initial session prior to final mastering. Are these included in the term “fixing”? At what stage is a recording designated “fixed”?

posted by drewbang
I would hazard a guess, that the passage refers to tasks and decisions made during the “Tracking” phase of the record. Potentially, this could also spill over into the “Editing” stage, if sufficient synthesis and programming (enough to drastically alter the composition via added melody and hooks) were to occur.

Obviously, the term ‘Producer’ is such a vague and openly interpreted term, that to facilitate these discussions, the need to draw a firm line of definition under the word, for the purposes of negotiations is vital.

There is certainly ambiguity in abundance, when it comes to accreditation for the role of ‘Producer’. The title of ‘Musical Director’ seems to have all but disappeared as of late and seems to have been bundled along with ‘Arranger’ and ‘Programmer’ amongst others into a wider job role of the modern ‘Producer’. Seemingly this has served to allow for maximum opportunity for one’s work to be acknowledged by the point of release.

Perhaps it is easier to interpret the definition with an old-school mind set. Whereby the Producer’s role is to assist and steer the direction of the composition and performance of material to “Tape”. This negates the Editing, Mixing and Mastering stages of the released material completely and as the initiative seeks to track remuneration on the “Mechanical” rights (i.e. a specific recorded version of the release in question) it would leave little room for confusion in defining, at what point production had occurred.

This is obviously my sole interpretation on the information that was mailed out, a more official voice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

posted by drewbang
Say no more!,AAAA98vWV0E~,kLlIJ01_eilICXWPFbfEJfeVOQsJ94G-&bctid=1716921082001

posted by drewbang
Direct link to download the form and get more info.

posted by alexthealmost
Thanks – I got that stuff.

It might not be relevant now, but In my day, prior to multi-track recording, ‘editing’ of multiple takes into a final acceptable whole etc. was a normal procedure. These acts required judgemental creative decisions; but apparently ‘editing’ is excluded from the ‘performing producer’ qualification. I still need an answer to: “At what stage is a recording designated “fixed”? ”

posted by teepee
This depends if you were involved in the recordings being edited – if you were just editing something produced by someone else then the claim is not valid.

“For the avoidance of doubt, alterations
made to the recording after the
recording has been made, such as edits
or remixes, will not be deemed to be
performances (unless these new versions
involve new audible performances).”

The reference is to establish that you were the producer involved at the conception of the performances rather than someone who has come in and manipulated them. As you can see from the above quote, this of course can include overdubs – for instance vocal overdubs – but the decision as to whether your contribution qualifies can now be made via a conversation between you and the artist and ratified using the form.

The entire basis for this negotiation had to be in respect of live performances because that is the point at which the producer is directing the outcome of that performance – any manipulation after that point has no bearing on the performance itself – it may be a creative input but it is then part of the presentation of the music and remuneration via sales royalties is more appropriate.

PPL stands for Phonographic Performance Ltd and therefore the income is derived as a remuneration for performance rather than creative manipulation

posted by drewbang
Thanks for that clarification Tony, as I had expected.

It will be interesting to see how the form is adopted by the industry during its trial year. If the industry comes together in support, it could go on to potentially redefine the expectancies of the modern recording session. A little less of the “Fix it in the mix” attitude, wouldn’t go a miss in my opinion.

Looking forward to hearing more views on the matter as they are posted.

posted by markrose
Hi all
We have also received the below congratulations and message from MPG Patron and former APRS Chairman Peter Filleul

Dear Friends,

This from PPL today. It is an announcement of an official policy that will allow applications from studio producers to claim PPL income (Neighbouring Rights Equitable Remuneration). My colleagues at the MPG have ferreted away on this for many months and have arrived at a workable solution to many of our concerns, please and protests over many years.

The arrival of this route to application at least acknowledges the possibility that some studio producers may make a contribution to a sound recording that is worthy of compensation for its performance. This development may not automatically influence the attitude of collecting bodies in other territories but it is significant evidence of a growing understanding of the value of the production role and should serve as valuable argument for change where ever a producers’ contribution goes unrecognised.

Whilst this does not acknowledge a right to payment as a default, the MPG representatives should be congratulated for their tenacity and pragmatism in achieving this long sought concession.

My friend Jackie Da Costa, former secretary to the ‘British Record Producers’ Guild’, received this information this afternoon and reminded me that it has been 28 years since the Producer’s Guild started their quest for performance income. Personally, my thoughts are of Gus Dudgeon who was the prime mover at the BRPG back then.

I hope that the MPG team will continue to press for this policy to be applied to the distribution of revenues received from overseas via PPL’s bilateral agreements. There may be a few slips between cup and lip over the operation of this application form but it is certainly a landmark achievement by the MPG and its officers. Congratulations to them and to the PPL Executive for taking this long-awaited plunge into reality.

Best regards,
Peter Filleul

posted by steweric
Dear Steve,

This is great news, well done mon ami!

Best Regards, Eric.(Stewart. 10cc)

posted by AdrienneAiken

I want to say a big well done to Steve Levine, Mark Rose and Richard Lightman for sticking with this and for what they’ve achieved – at some points, against many adversaries.

It’s been a long old road – and this is a great first step: “Recognition”

Perhaps this can now help our case in the “Credit Where Credit is Due” campaign. For those who read this who don’t know what that is – Remember on vinyl and CDs, when producers, engineers, mixing engineers and mastering engineers (as well as writers, studios etc…) had a credit? Well where are those credits on downloads eh? Who knows who was involved in making the track(s) reach their potential? NO ONE!! Go to: for more… and check back there for updates – and get involved.